Swedish winger Jesper Fast is expected to make his triumphant return to the New York Rangers lineup tonight in New York against the Florida Panthers.
Fast suffered a brutal separated shoulder injury on February 28th, the last time the Rangers played the Panthers. The 25-year-old had 5 goals and 15 assists for 20 points in 59 games this season, before missing the last seven games.
Jesper Fast has followed a winding road on his way to securing a full-time spot with the Rangers. The 2010 6th round draft pick debut for the Rangers in the 2013-14 season, but didn’t manage to lock down a consistent spot on the roster until last year.
He’s been a solid bottom-six forward over the last two seasons, and will likely fit in between Michael Grabner and Kevin Hayes on the Ranger’s third line. And despite just coming off an injury, Fast can’t afford to play timid. The Rangers will be looking for some extra defensive as Antti Raanta fills in for the injured King Henrik Lundqvist between the pipes.
The Rangers will be looking to pick up a win after dropping their last game to playoff hopeful Tampa Bay in a closely fought 3-2 game. Florida are all but eliminated from the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean the Rangers can afford to look past the Panthers tonight.