July 20th, 2024

Gamble on Nassen may not pay off for Tigers, but they don’t mind

By Ryan McCracken on August 26, 2017.


There’s still no word as to whether Swedish defenceman Linus Nassen will officially join the Medicine Hat Tigers after being selected in the CHL import draft, but Shaun Clouston isn’t concerned.

The Tigers head coach and general manager says the team took a gamble when they opted to use the 119th overall selection on Nassen — given that he was chosen by the Brandon Wheat Kings at 59th overall last year and did not report to play — but it was a risk he was willing to take with so much talent already on his roster.

“He was a bit of a long shot, but we still feel really comfortable,” said Clouston. “We don’t have a whole lot of information there. We’re hoping to hear some different information than we have so far, but right now we’re not overly optimistic that something will work out there. We’ll wait, and maybe when NHL camps start things can change, you never know.”

A third-round Florida Panthers draft pick, Nassen boasts a strong resume at the blue line. The 6-foot, 174-pound lefty recorded 16 points from the back end with Lulea HF of Sweden’s SuperElit league, but Clouston says he’s more than happy to stick with what he has in Kristians Rubins.

While Rubins fills two slots as an import and an impending overage player, Clouston says it’s hard to measure just how much Rubins meant to the team last season.Despite missing 23 games with injuries and a place on Latvia’s IIHF World Junior Championship roster, Rubins managed 24 points and a plus-29 rating on Medicine Hat’s back end.

“He was really important. A couple times when he was injured and wasn’t playing, it affected us a lot,” said Clouston of Rubins, who would become Medicine Hat’s first overage import since Tomas Kundratek stayed with the team through the 2009-10 season. “We missed him as much or more than anybody who went down last year so we’re excited to have Rubins back.”

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