Brian MacLellan made Carl Hagelin the newest Capital on Thursday in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
Most Caps fans know Hagelin as a speedy player who they absolutely hated when he was with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but there’s more to him than just his black and gold past.
Here are six interesting facts you may not know about Hagelin.
Hagelin played four years under Red Berenson at the University of Michigan
There are many amateur routes to the NHL, but few European players end up playing in the NCAA. Hagelin, however, played four years for the University of Michigan becoming the first Swedish player to play for the Wolverines.
While there, he was coached by former NHL great Red Berenson. In his 17-year NHL career, Berenson played for the Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings and was the captain in St. Louis and Detroit. Berenson’s coaching career began in the NHL where he won the Jack Adams Award as the coach of the year in 1981, but he returned to his alma mater Michigan in 1984 as the head coach. He coached the Wolverines for 33 seasons including all four of Hagelin’s years there.
Hagelin played for Michigan from 2007 through 2011 and was the captain in his senior year. In his final year he helped lead the Wolverines all the way to the National Championship game, but Michigan fell just short in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota-Duluth.
The Caps are Hagelin’s fifth NHL team and this is his fourth trade
Hagelin was drafted in 2007 by the New York Rangers before going to college in Ann Arbor. After four strong seasons, Hagelin was set to become a restricted free agent, but was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in 2015 and signed a four-year deal. After 43 tough games with the Ducks, he was traded back to the East coast to the Pittsburgh Penguins in January 2016. He helped the Penguins win two Stanley Cups, but was traded to the Kings in November 2018. On the last year of his deal and playing on a struggling team, it was widely expected that Hagelin would likely be on the move again before the end of the season and on Thursday, that proved to be correct.
On Saturday, Hagelin will suit up for the fifth team of his NHL career when he plays for the Caps.
Hagelin made his NHL debut against the Caps
Washington fans developed a healthy dislike for Hagelin over the years because he always seemed to have big milestones against Washington.
After his college career ended, Hagelin signed a professional contract with the Rangers. He started the 2011-12 season in the AHL, but made his NHL debut on Nov. 25 against…the Capitals. He recorded his first NHL point in that game, an assist to Brian Boyle on what would prove to be the game-winning goal.
In an ironic twist, Hagelin’s last game with the Kings also came against Washington when the Caps visited Los Angeles on Monday.
Hagelin has a lot of playoff experience against Washington
Hagelin has played in 121 career playoff games and there is no team he has played more than the Capitals. Washington has faced Hagelin in 35 playoff games where he scored 15 points including one game-winning goal. In his entire playoff career, Hagelin recorded seven multi-point performances. Four of them came against the Caps.
The Penguins are paying for Hagelin to play for Washington
Given the pettiness of rivalries, Caps fans will enjoy knowing that while he is playing for Washington, Pittsburgh is paying part of his paycheck.
In the original trade that sent Hagelin to Los Angeles, the Penguins retained 6.25-percent of his salary as part of the deal. The Kings also retained 50-percent of his remaining salary in the trade with Washington so the Caps are only paying for about 47-percent of his salary.
The Caps will play Pittsburgh one more time in the regular season and could meet once again in the postseason. For every point Hagelin scores against them, Washington fans can take great pleasure knowing the Penguins paid for it, at least a little bit.
The Penguins saw him as more than just a depth player
Hagelin may have played a bottom-six role in Pittsburgh, but he was considered vitally important to the Penguins’ consecutive Cup runs in 2016 and 2017. Hagelin was the “H” in the infamous HBK line that gave Washington fits in the 2016 playoff series. He also scored the empty-netter in Game 6 against the Nashville Predators to seal the Cup.
When Hagelin was traded to Los Angeles in November, you could tell he was more than just a third-line player in that locker room.
The Caps know they are getting a very fast forward who can contribute on the penalty kill. The unknown when it comes to deadline moves is what kind of a locker room person a player is and how he will mesh with his new teammates. Given what his Pittsburgh teammates thought about him, that likely will not be an issue for Hagelin. If he can also prove as important to the Caps as he proved to be to the Penguins’ playoff runs, this is going to be an absolute steal of a trade for Washington.
MORE CAPITALS NEWS: