CHICAGO – Niklas Hagman just wasn’t working out with the Calgary Flames, so they released him earlier this season.
He was claimed by the Anaheim Ducks on re-entry waivers and hoped the change of scenery would serve him well. The Ducks then fired former coach Randy Carlysle and hired Bruce Boudreau, which meant even more change for Hagman – who’s now playing on the top line at left wing with center Ryan Getzlaf and right winger Corey Perry.
“For some reason, things didn’t work out in Calgary that well,” Hagman told NHL.com on Friday at United Center, before the Ducks face the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night. “That’s in the past. I take my fair share of blame for not making things work, but that’s in the past now. Coming to Anaheim was a fresh start. Then I got another fresh start when we changed the coach.”
The change to Boudreau has been good for Hagman so far. Since being moved up to the top line four games ago, he’s scored two goals – both on Wednesday in a win against the Phoenix Coyotes – and added an assist.
“After the second coaching change, I’ve gotten good quality minutes,” Hagman said. “It’s been nice to play offensive hockey again, because I’ve known all the time that I can play and I can score goals. There’s been some tough times, but hopefully now just try to keep on working and earning those minutes and trying to help the team whatever it takes.”
He also sounded relieved to have a different system to play in, which favors more of an offensive style.
“It’s really nice to play hockey like it’s kind of meant to be played … not just chipping it in and forechecking all the time,” Hagman said. “I’m trying to build a little confidence with the puck, too.”
Hagman has also seen time on the top power-play unit recently, which has made him even hungrier to produce and keep his current standing.
“I’ve just got to work even harder to keep my spot and earn those minutes,” he said. “If Coach decides something else, then I go somewhere else. But getting a chance to play with the guys on the top two lines here and getting a chance to play on the power play … I really want to work hard to do my share.”