Viktor Stalberg‘s stock was pretty low this summer after Nashville bought him out of the final two years of his four-year, $12 million contract.
Now, it’s pretty high.
“As a coach sometimes, and as an organization, you catch players at the right time,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told the New York Post. “And him, with what happened last year in Nashville, I’m catching him at a time where if he’s not hungry and he doesn’t play well, he’s not going to be very long in this league, so I think he knows that. He understands that and he’s come here to play.”
Vigneault said Stalberg’s been one of the Rangers’ most impressive players at this year’s camp, showing the form that saw him score a career-high 22 goals with Chicago during the 2011-12 campaign.
That production played a role in scoring a fairly lucrative deal from Nashville. Stalberg’s time in the Music City, though, was largely a disappointment — he scored just 10 goals in 95 games over two seasons, missing a boatload of time last year to injury.
Following his buyout, Stalberg signed a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the Rangers. It didn’t take long for his best attribute — skating — to mesh with Vigneault’s system; last game out, he got a look on a strong skating line next to Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast.
Stalberg could eventually replace some of the speed lost when New York traded Carl Hagelin to Anaheim at the draft.