30-Year-Old Left Wing – New York Rangers
Viktor Stalberg Contract Information:
Signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Rangers in July 2015.
Stalberg took part in line rushes during pregame warm-ups, indicating he'll be in the lineup for Wednesday's Game 1 against the Penguins, Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports.
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Viktor Stalberg: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Stalberg joined the Preds as a free agent last season and was expected to bolster the team’s top line, after showing glimpses of becoming a solid top-six power forward during his previous three seasons with Chicago. Unfortunately for the Preds, that vision never materialized. Stalberg was a complete bust in his first season in Nashville, registering just 18 points and a minus-14 rating in 70 games. In fact, Stalberg’s stock plummeted to the point where he was merely a bit player for the Preds down the stretch, and saw less than 10 minutes of ice time in three of the team’s last four games. With three years remaining on his four-year contract, Stalberg must now step up and earn his keep. Either way, he makes for a very risky fantasy option this season, and should not be on anyone’s roster outside of ultra-deep formats.
After spending the previous three seasons with Chicago, Stalberg hit the free agent market and signed a four-year, $12 million contract with Nashville in July. With just 90 points in 203 games over the past three seasons, Stalberg still has a lot to prove as a top-six NHL forward. But he now has the opportunity to show what he can really do with the offensively-challenged Preds. There is a good chance you will see him open the upcoming season as the Preds' second-line left winger, but it remains to be seen if he can be more than a player who simply delivers 45 points a season.
Stalberg is coming off a 22-goal, 43-point season -- both career highs -- and has the inside track on the second-line left wing gig in Chicago. He should also be good for 100 hits and 200 shots, and is finally becoming the power winger the Leafs' envisioned when they drafted him in 2006.
Stalberg is still considered a top prospect for the Blackhawks and the main chip they received from the Maple Leafs when trading away Kris Versteeg before the 2010-11 season. Last campaign, he played in the NHL for 77 games and saw a slight uptick in his numbers (12 goals and 12 assists) compared to 14 points in 2009-11. Still, the 'Hawks are looking for much more this season.
Stalberg took advantage of some extra ice time in the second half of the season for the Maple Leafs. He notched seven of his nine goals and four of his five assists in the second half of what was his first season in the NHL, 2009-10. The Blackhawks are hoping that the 24-year-old left winger makes a contribution that was worth sending Kris Versteeg to Toronto as part of getting under the salary cap.
Stalberg is quickly becoming a Brian Burke favorite. The Swede broke out to a 24-goal season in college last year after firing 17 total the previous two years. He's intelligent, powerful and skilled, and has shown flashes of real top-six potential in rookie camp. Keeper leaguers should take note of his name and stash him away. He won't be in the AHL for long -- maybe a year. It won't happen immediately but there are 70 points in his composite some day.