Niklas Hagman is exactly the kind of UFA signing that the Toronto Maple Leafs should be looking to sign this summer if they are going to fill any of the forward spots to keep the kids developing. He had had increasing success but he was still trending upwards. He signed for a good term but especially a good dollar figure and will likely go down as Cliff Fletcher's best signing.
Niklas Hagman was brought in to bring some speed and a rifle shot to the Leafs, just like Toronto expected from Jason Blake. I'd love to see Blake regain his form, and a line of Steen, Blake, and Hagman tearing it up.
Hagman played on the Stars' PP fairly successfully, and was also part of Dallas' PK, so we'll see him teamed up with Mayers on the Leafs quest to not have embarassing special teams.
Overall, this author thinks the Hagman signing was a steal. $3m for an almost 30 goal guy will be fantastic if he keeps playing like he has.
He quickly bedded in with a couple of other newcomers, Mikhail Gravovski and Nikolai Kulemin, to create a line so good they had their own name. He brought a measure of professionalism that hopefully provided an excellent example to the team's young forwards. While the results were not always present the effort was never lacking. It was nice to see his work get rewarded earlier this year when he was named the NHL 3rd star of the week.
After the jump, a look at a couple of his best goals and a tribute from his biggest fan:
You may not know this, but I’m a bit of a fan of Hagman’s. On occassion, I’ve felt the need to gently remind you all of his plethora of assets in the past. In fact, I may have made a comment or two outlining the qualities I like about the guy, but beyond that, I have a few favorite memories of Hagman I think got glossed over and forgotten:
- his shoot out goal on Brodeur. Vintage Hagman; skates in as he approaches top speed, slams on the breaks and softly pots the goal with a backhander between the pads. Quietly skates off the ice without any sign of emotion.
- this delicious play from the aforementioned “Man-Grabs-Lemon” line against the Habs.
- the time he single handedly took on the Blues D, and then in an almost Bobby Orr-ian fashion, scores a goal while falling down. (possible hyperbole with the Bobby Orr comparison, but I’d like to think I’m unbiased…)
- Remember when he made Boston look silly? Grabbo got the goal, but Hagman made it all happen.
- Puck won’t lay flat? No problem…
- Tampa Bay – embarrassed.
- Grabbo dangles, Hagman snipes. Capitals look silly.
OK, I lied. One more. Hat trick in Anaheim, Leafs winless skid to open the season finally stopped. All thanks to St. Nik…
So, thank you Nik Hagman! I will miss you most of all for being, in a word, “Awesome”
The Yukon didn't hit Bredan Witt hard enough
Hagman Is Mad And Just Won't Take It Anymore!