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Michael Hasson: Too Little too late?

Michael Hasson is a name that a few weeks ago I wrote off as a player who wouldn't make the Kitchener Rangers this season. He played few playoffs games last season, and during the regular season he didn't produce very much. Hasson scored 2 goals last season (only one as a Ranger) and had 4 points total. He seemed like an obvious write off coming in to camp.

However, he has now scored more goals during the Rangers exhibition play than he did all last year, including a 2 goal performance against Sudbury this past saturday. Has he proved at camp that he finally has what it takes to play in this league? I'm still not quite convinced.

Hasson has played strong, there is no question about that. But the truth of the matter is that he has had 4 previous seasons in this league, now with his third team, to prove that he has the skill it takes to win. He has yet to show this skill. Maybe at some point during the offseason he woke up and realized this was his last chance to prove anything, so he's coming out guns blazing, and good for him. It's exactly what he needs to do. After his strong camp the question becomes can he keep it up throughout the regular season?

At the time of writing this post, the Rangers have 3 over age players who are not at an NHL training camp. These players are Michael Cattenaci, Jonathan Jasper, and Michael Hasson. Ryan Lopes was released by the team last week, presumably because Spott couldn't find a good trade for him. There is a high chance that either Julian Melchiori or Cody Sol will return to the team this year. Most likely it will be Melchiori. This will make another tough decision. As some have pointed out, having 2 overage defencemen is not the best option, especially when the Rangers are so loaded with young talent. Why give ice time to Jasper, a 20 year old player who hasn't proved much skill, when you can give it to Max Iafrate or Ben Fanelli or Cody Genovese? These are the players who will make up the next 2-3 years of the Rangers, they need all the ice time they can get to develop. 

So whats the next step? I think the best option is for Spott to keep a few overagers as long as possible. See how the season begins. It's obvious that this team doesn't have championship potential this year, but there is skill. Maybe trade a few of the overage experienced guys for a few draft picks down the road. A few rumours have it that Spott isn't being patient about this next decision, and will move Hasson in the next few days. Not a bad trade, considering his play in camp and exhibition, Hasson would probably bring back a couple of assets. However Hasson may be in line to have a Jason Akeson style season. Akey produced a lot more than Hasson during his first few seasons In the O, but he really turned it on during his OA year, earning him a contract with Philadelphia. Could Hasson do the same?

Steve Spott has a few difficult decisions to make regarding this years crop of OA's. My expectation is a big trade in a few weeks that will hopefully work out best for the Rangers. Only time will tell if I'm right.

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