GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The decision to send Lias Andersson to Hartford had nothing to do with Mika Zibanejad’s eventual return to the Rangers’ lineup.
Rather, it had everything to do with David Quinn’s belief that in order for the No. 7 overall pick in the 2017 draft to maximize his potential, he would need the opportunities to play that he was not receiving with the NHL club.
Which Quinn also hopes leads to Andersson developing consistency to his game.
“There are things in this game that you need to do regardless of who your linemates are,” Quinn said Monday after practice, in his first comments since Andersson was sent to the AHL Wolfpack, and Tim Gettinger was called up in the corresponding roster move.
In 17 games this season, Andersson recorded one point, but was averaging just 9:33 of ice time a game while playing on the fourth line. But Quinn dismissed the idea that performance can be affected by the quality of his linemates.
“This isn’t about points, this is about watch the game,” Quinn said. “Players should be doing this quicker and they’re not going quick enough. They should be physical and they’re not physical. That has nothing to do with who your linemates are.
“So those are the things — and I’m not just talking about Lias. A lot of players think along those lines and to me it’s a big mistake,” Quinn said.
“It’s a big mistake [if that’s] what players are thinking because you should be able to be an effective player regardless of who you’re playing with,” Quinn said.
“There are things this game is going to demand, and you should do it regardless of who’s on your wing or who your ‘D’ partner is or whoever.”
In Andersson’s case specifically, Quinn pointed to Filip Chytil, who began the season at Hartford before being called up on Oct. 28. In the nine games Chytil has played, the 17th pick of the 2017 draft has six goals and an assist for seven points.
“We just want to get Lias more playing time and touch more pucks,” Quinn said. “[Playing in Hartford] did wonders for Fil and we’re hoping it will do wonders for Lias as well.”
The Rangers are going to enter Wednesday’s nationally televised match against the Capitals shorthanded, as Quinn announced Zibanejad would not play again.
Despite being at the facility, Zibanejad did not participate in practice although Quinn said the top-line center skated before the near 75-minute practice, and diagnosed the 26-year-old as having “another good day, today. Getting closer to coming back, just not sure when. Day-to-day.”
The Rangers are 5-3-1 but have dropped three of their last four without Zibanejad, who was injured when he absorbed a hit from Boston center Patrice Bergeron in the Rangers’ 7-4 loss to the Bruins on Oct. 27.
Zibanejad recorded four goals and seven assists for 11 points in nine games before he was injured.