LA Kings: Competition will be best motivator for Lias Andersson

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) /

Time is still on Lias Andersson’s side after a tumultuous career in New York. Now the 21-year-old will get a fresh start with the LA Kings.

Perhaps one of the more underrated moves the LA Kings made on Day 2 of the Draft didn’t involve selecting a draft prospect. Instead, they traded the 60th overall pick in the second round to the NY Rangers in exchange for former 2017 seventh overall pick Lias Andersson.

To say that Andersson had a rocky career in New York would be putting in mildly.

“When you take a guy that high, you hope he has an impact sooner than later,” general manager Jeff Gorton said, via NY Post. “At this point of his career, it’s hard to say. Maybe we brought him over too soon. I don’t know. A lot of things just didn’t go the way we wanted to. He’s still a young guy. I think he needed a fresh start.”

The Smögen, Sweden native tallied 9 goals with 10 assists for 19 points in 42 games for HV71 of the SHL in his draft year. In all, he played just 66 games for the Rangers, primarily slotted in along the team’s third line, scoring 3 goals with 6 assists for 9 points.

He was suspended by the Rangers in December 2019 after leaving the team and heading back to Sweden. At the time, Andersson also requested a trade from the Rangers. New York loaned him to HV71, and he scored 7 goals with 5 assists for 12 points in 15 games. He was off to a good start this season with HV71, lighting the lamp once with 3 assists in 4 games.

But with New York drafting Alexis Lafreniere number one overall, the writing was on the wall for Andersson.

Whether he was given a fair shake in New York seems to be a common thought process for the New York media, but Andersson’s dad is an amateur scout for the LA Kings in Europe. He’ll be given every opportunity to succeed in LA, but he’s not going to be handed anything. Competition for playing time is going to be stiff with all the talent the Kings have in their prospect pool.

And perhaps that’s the best motivator for Andersson at this point in his career. He has one year remaining on his deal before he becomes a restricted free agent next year. And while he’s primarily played at center in his professional career, he can also play at the left-wing, a position the Kings aren’t as healthy.

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Andersson is also currently serving a 5-game suspension from the SHL for an illegal hit on Jonas Berglund. You can be the judge if the hit looked dirty.