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Hagg excited to continue North American play

Robert Hagg is turning heads as a reliable, well-rounded d-man at an early age

Friday, 07.11.2014 / 9:55 AM / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Hagg excited to continue North American play
Hagg excited to continue North American play

For a supposedly casual guy, Robert Hagg found his first 10 games in North America last spring at Adirondack intensely invigorating.

“It is more fun to play here than in Sweden,” he says. “You can grab the forwards much easier in the corner.

“It’s much more physical. Plus, you can make one good pass and have a good scoring chance. In Sweden it takes four or five passes. The smaller ice makes the game a little bit faster.

“You have to more fully concentrate on every shift. There is going to be a goal (against) if you are going to just skate around out there ”

Robert Hagg lasted until the 41st pick of the 2013 draft because a lot of talent evaluators thought he was content to just skate around out there. The Flyers took him anyway, because, well, he skates pretty well out there and they believe characterizations of him as lazy remain lazy.

HIGHLIGHTS & INTERVIEWS OF DAY 1

“I don’t want to say it comes easy for Robert, but he gives you that appearance of casualness and I think that can be misunderstood sometimes,” said Chris Pryor, the Flyers Director of Scouting at Development Camp in the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.

“He gets the puck and makes a play. There is not a lot of stress in his game and sometimes that is misunderstood as not competing. Robert thinks the game and lets the puck do the work.”

In today’s NHL, where quickness in the defensive zone trumps physicality, letting the puck do the work, increasingly works. That’s why the Flyers felt they had to add Mark Streit, not let Andrew MacDonald get out onto the open market: and also why Shayne Gostisbehere, who is only 5-11, nevertheless is their most exciting blueline prospect since Joni Pitkanen was drafted fourth overall in 2002.

Unlike Gostisbehere, Hagg (pronounced Heyg) hasn’t been the Most Valuable Player in any Frozen Fours, but he has played in two World Junior Tournaments.

A serious prospect, his chances of making it eventually hinge on how seriously he competes. In the 10-game sample with Phantoms at the end of last season, not only did the North American game make a favorable impression on Hagg, but he made a favorable impression on it, too.

“He played like a really well-rounded defenseman,” said Terry Murray, who coached Hagg at Adirondack and will again this season as the Flyers move the team to the Lehigh Valley. “He showed a good defensive stick and reads the play well while showing good strength.

“He made a lot of good plays, not flashy, just efficient.”

It’s not complicated. The simpler Hagg keeps it, the more effortless will become GM Ron Hextall’s decisions in making the Flyers’ defense younger and quicker in coming years.

“If I have a forward in front of me, give him the puck and follow up after," said Hagg. “Don’t try to skate it up and dangle one-two guys and then make a pass.

“Give the forward the pass and then skate up to support him.”

Often it takes years for young defensemen to realize that less is more, why they don’t often mature until age 27 or 28. This kid, who played in the Swedish Elite League at age 19, seems to already get it.

“I need more consistency, that’s what everybody says about me,” Hagg says. “Well, I agree with that.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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