The New York Rangers won’t be making it to the playoffs this season, so there won’t be enough time for Jesper Fast to return from injury. Head coach David Quinn told reporters today that Fast will miss the rest of the year, while Marc Staal and Chris Kreider will miss tonight’s game as well.
Fast, 27, will end this season with just 20 points in 66 games, a disappointing year for a player who had reached new highs in 2017-18. The two-way forward is still an effective option for the Rangers, but hasn’t shown much upside and will be an interesting player to watch this summer. Heading into the final season of his current contract and carrying a $1.85MM cap hit, he could be another player on the move as the Rangers continue their rebuild. That said, he has long been regarded as one of the hardest working players on the team and is routinely praised by teammates and the coaching staff, even winning New York’s “Players’ Player” award for the last four years.
With so much turnover on the roster of late, perhaps the team will want to keep Fast around on another multi-year contract to help guide the young core. With offensive players coming through the pipeline, his defense and versatility can still be quite useful.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have gone on a 2-5-3 run over their last ten games and are now sitting in 27th place in the NHL. It seems unlikely they’ll fall any lower than that and improve their draft lottery chances, but any success could see them skyrocket up the standings. They take on the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.