It’s been two weeks since former first round pick (7th overall in 2017) Lias Andersson left the New York Rangers organization and officially demanded a trade from GM Jeff Gorton. On Tuesday, the young forward broke the silence, explaining what pushed him to leave the organization to extensive interview with a local newspaper, the Gothenburg Post, and hockey reporter Johan Rylander.
Rylander now believes that Andersson could have been bullied in New York, based on this exchange, per USA Today.
“People can say it’s an idiotic decision for my hockey career,” he told Rylander, who translated the interview to English. “But they don’t know the whole truth.”
In the interview with GP, Andersson indicated, “There have been many incidents that have disturbed me.”
Rylander asked Andersson directly if he had been bullied, to which Andersson responded, “I don’t know what to say or what to answer. It’s been tough; that’s it. I will tell you when it’s the right time.”
“I’ve known him since he was a kid, but never seen him so down and taken by the moment,” Rylander told the USA TODAY Network. “He was hesitating a long time when the bullying question was asked.”
While Andersson won’t say much more about the incidents, he did revealed that both his feet have been injured and needs to get help from a specialist.
“He can’t fit them into a pair of skates,” Rylander said. “He’s going to pay a specialist a visit and get an X-ray to rule out that there is a bone broken. The left foot is the worst.”
The answers from Andersson prompted TSN’s Darren Dreger to investigate on the young player’s health issues. After speaking with his agent Jarrett Bousquet, it was revealed that Andersson has not been diagnosed with mental health issues and doesn’t suffer from depression or anxiety.
Andersson played seven NHL games in 2017-18 but struggled with just six points in 42 games during the 2018-19 season. In just 17 games with the Rangers this season, Andersson never gained any traction, and posted only one assist with a minus-eight rating.
He believes he was not given the chance.
When head coach David Quinn was asked about Andersson’s statement, he refuse to comment.
“It may not be the smartest decision if I want to play in the NHL,” Andersson said. “But there is hockey in several places. Many people think it’s a hockey decision I’ve made, but it’s for my health that I’ve made this decision.”