Underrated Flame: Why Calgary Flames Fans Should Appreciate Niklas Hagman
The Calgary Flames are off to a mediocre start, filled with random bursts of hot and cold play. Few players have been consistent, especially the top line, who are in a bit of a slump.
However, of those few players, Niklas Hagman has stood out for me. Other than the occasional game where no one played well (cough...Capitals game), Hagman has repeatedly shown his work ethic and just how much skill he has.
So when you hear someone say, "The only good thing to come out of that Toronto deal was Ian White," reply, "No way man!" and list these reasons as to why Hagman should be appreciated in Calgary.
He Has a Great Shot
Hagman has had some beautiful goals in his career. This is not only due to his wicked shot but also his fantastic puck-handling skills.
Currently with four goals and four assists so far this season, Hagman has proved he has one of the best shots on the team. Seeing how he has played on both second and third lines so far, he'll be a great source of secondary scoring.
Don't believe me? Watch this video from February of 2009 when he played for the Leafs here.
Ya, that's Jay Bouwmeester he beat with that goal, along the rest of the Panthers.
He Melds Well With Different Lines
Hagman has been shuffled around so far this season, but has managed to make an impact with each line he's been placed on.
While playing on a line with Rene Bourque and Olli Jokinen, Hagman's efforts were somewhat overlooked due to the hot streak Bourque was on. However, Hagman's role in helping Bourque to get those goals was certainly a large factor and mainly a result of his work ethic and ability to feed some fantastic passes.
After a four game losing streak, Brent Sutter mixed up the lines and placed Hagman on a line with Mikael Backlund and the recently-returned David Moss. Last game against the Avalanche, this line was definitely the Flames' best one, combining for a total of five points.
Expect Hagman to be on this third line again next game against the Phoenix Coyotes.
He's a Dedicated and Hard Worker
One of the best aspects of Hagman's game is his dedication every second he's on the ice.
Many goals scored while he's on the ice are a result of his work and consistency. His dedication to a play is vital for this Flames team, where lazy plays and lack of speed have been a factor in many games.
Hagman had eight shots in the last game against the Avalanche in only 14:42 minutes of ice time. Expect more of the same from this workhorse.
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