11:19AM: The Rangers have confirmed that Fast will return tonight. (NYR)
9:53AM: Jesper Fast is expected to return to the Rangers lineup tonight after missing the past 7 games with a shoulder injury.
Vigneault said yesterday that when Fast is out the Rangers lose a "real dependable player" who "competes" and is one of their best penalty killers and shot blockers.
He added that Fast, "just goes out and works hard and gives you everything that he has all the time. We are happy he is good to go."
When Fast was injured Vigneault said that Fast "is such a hard worker, such a competitive kid. Every time he is on the ice he is puck battling, blocking shots. He is really appreciated by his teammates because of that effort and the little things that he does battle level wise. Really solid player."
Ryan McDonagh said yesterday that Fast sets an example for other Ranger forwards and that "guys literally love the way he battles and competes." (NY Post)
Last season Fast won the Rangers "Players' Player Award" which is given to the player "who best exemplifies what it means to be a team player."
In 59 games this season Fast has 5 goals, 15 assists and an average of 13:54 per game with 90 hits, 33 blocked shots and 28 takeaways.
Fast, 25, is an RFA at the end of the season and has a cap hit of $950,000 this season and a salary of $1 million.
Adam Rotter: Fast is a player that you can probably miss on the ice if you aren't paying specific attention to the little things that he does. He is one of Alain Vigneault's most trusted players, along with Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh, a key penalty killer and someone that I think the Rangers will find a way to keep away from Las Vegas. I also wouldn't be surprised if the Rangers tried to sign him up on a multi-year deal this summer, though it's hard to know what kind of cap hit he would get.