Lias Andersson Quietly Having A Great Year

Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

When Liass Andersson joined the Montreal Canadiens organization, it was with hope that his strong play with the Ontario Reign would translate to the Laval Rocket.

It's safe to say that he has picked right back up where he left off with the Los Angeles Kings American Hockey League affiliate. And while it may never translate to a full-time NHL role, he has been huge for the young guys in Laval. So long as he sticks around, he takes some weight off of the Canadiens' future hopefuls.

The former first-round pick has never lived up to his pre-draft hype, after going seventh overall to the New York Rangers. His draft year, 2017 was loaded, but the top six has some head-scratchers. After Nico Hischier at first overall, Nolan Patrick went to the Philadelphia Flyers at number two, and his career was decimated by injuries.

Cody Glass was also another highly touted prospect, who holds the distinction of being the Vegas Golden Knights inaugural season first-draft selection. Glass, Patrick and Andersson all went ahead of Nick Suzuki, Martin Necas and Robert Thomas. It's safe to say the draft was an odd one in the top end.

But like Glass who is in the NHL, Andersson is counting on his hard work paying with a late push to his NHL dream. The 25-year-old Smogen, Swe., native has posted 16-15-31 totals through 38 games with the Rocket. The winger/centre's versatility and experience are sure to be helpful if the Rocket makes the playoffs.

Andersson's importance to the organization goes beyond scoring goals and making plays. He is an ideal mentor for the young forwards that are funnelling through the system. And like David Savard and Mike Matheson in Montreal have done, Andersson is leading by example.

It's easy to overlook Andersson for guys like Brandon Gignac and Phillip Maillet who have carried the offense for the Rocket. But the balanced attack and depth will be big in the postseason, and that is when the Swede will prove his worth. The 2017 draft has been kind to the Canadiens, and it continues to benefit them in the NHL and at the AHL level.

The Rocket boast a handful of rookies, and with their first taste of professional hockey postseason looming, the veteran leadership is going to be important. Andersson is looking to get back to the playoffs, after scoring three points in two games last year. With that in mind, Andersson and the Rocket continue to be a nice match.