Jesper Fast doesn't get the credit he deserves. At least that's what his teammates think.
"As far as the media goes, yeah. Not as far as this locker room goes," said Dan Boyle after the Rangers' morning skate this morning at The Garden, after Fast was named the Players' Player, voted on by the team and given to the player that best exemplifies what it means to be a team player for the 2015-16 campaign.
"I love the way he plays the game and sacrifices his body for the team and does a lot of little things 99 percent of people don't notice but that this locker room does."
Fast, who became the first European player to win the award since Reijo Ruosalainen in 1985, is now in his second full season in New York. He said his adjustment to his surroundings and his teammates has helped him immensely.
"It's a nice [award] to get the team player award from your teammates," Fast told reporters Thursday. "Of course I'm proud to get that. Just trying to be a nice guy. This year, I've been a lot more comfortable in the room and talk more than the last couple of years. Maybe that helps a little bit. I'm very proud and happy to get the [award]."
Fast has set career-bests with 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points this season. But that, according to Henrik Lundqvist, doesn't tell the whole story on the 24-year-old's contributions to the Rangers.
"He's such a smart player," Lundqvist said. "He makes really good decisions with and without the puck. A lot of times, players like that don't get a lot of credit. They're so important, to make those little plays right all the time. To get the puck out at the right time and to get the puck in the offensive zone at the right time; plays like that can decide the game.
"You might not see it if you don't understand the game 100 percent," Lundqvist continued, "but I see it and I think most guys in the room definitely see the impact plays like that have."
Fast's biggest fan could be head coach Alain Vigneault, who has utilized the Swede throughout the lineup on every line and in nearly every situation thanks in large part to his smarts and work ethic.
"He's been a player we can use on any line and that line seems to play well," Vigneault said Thursday. "I would say — to his credit — he's probably if not one of the hardest workers, the hardest work on our team. His teammates know that. They know when he's on the ice, he's going to make the right play with and without the puck and he's going to give it everything he's got. I think that's why he's become such an important part of our team."