How Long Does it Take To Become a “Ranger?”

By Matthew Blittner
Special Contributor to MSGNetworks.com

There’s an old saying amongst athletes that it’s not enough to wear the jersey. You have to have some seminal moment that truly makes you a member of your team.

For MSG Networks analyst, Joe Micheletti, that moment was more the culmination of his hard work rather than one singular event.

“I think it takes a period of time,” said Micheletti. “For me, it took a long time.”

With several new faces on the Rangers roster — headlined by a pair of 2017 first-round draft picks (Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil) — there are several players on the team in search of that all-important moment.

So I ask, has Lias Andersson truly become a Ranger?

“I think it takes a certain number of games,” said Lias. “Right now, I’m just trying to learn and improve every day I’m here.”

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“I finally felt like I belonged when I had played about 20 games,” said Micheletti. “After 20 games is when I felt that I could play with these guys.”

Andersson hasn’t played 20 games, nor will he reach that mark this season. But he’s already had a pretty significant moment.

In his NHL debut — Monday, March 26, 2018 — Andersson did something every player dreams of. He scored his first career goal — in front of his family, no less.

In his post-practice comments, Alain Vigneault addresses the play of rookies Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil, the shuffling of the defensive pairs and the play of Chris Kreider since returning to the lineup.

However, Lias has mixed feelings about that moment.

“I was happy to score my first goal,” said Andersson. “But it came with us down 4-0. More than scoring goals, I want to win games and win games in the playoffs.”

[Read: Andersson, Rangers Weather the Hurricanes]

That goal not only put Lias in the record book, but it also upped the already high expectations on his shoulders.

As the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, there’s a lot of pressure on Andersson to perform; immediately.

“It’s all part of the game,” he said. “The pressure and stuff. It’s always going to be there, but I just have to go out and play my game.”

“It’s been a roller coaster year,” continued Lias. “I was in training camp here. Then I went to Frolunda (Sweden), then Hartford and now I’m back here. And I’m happy to be back here.”

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton explains why the organization decided to send down Alexandar Georgiev, what's the latest on Kevin Shattenkirk and what he likes so far from Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil.

With all his hard work, Andersson has certainly earned his way to the NHL. But is still lacking that seminal moment.

Hopefully, Lias can earn his Blueshirts sweater in short order.

After all, he’s being looked at as one of the future cornerstones and leaders for the next great era in Rangers history.

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The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.