Archive for Oscar Lindberg
Some notes from practice today, and there were a bunch of them:
- Mats Zuccarello and Viktor Stalberg will not play tomorrow in Detroit. They are both “dealing with lower body issues.”
- Oscar Lindberg will be back in the lineup. A call up from Hartford is also expected.
- No surprise here, Antti Raanta will be in net for the Rangers tomorrow. Giving Henrik Lundqvist rest is much needed, considering the workload this year.
- Dan Girardi will be ready for the playoffs. Neither he nor Ryan McDonagh (hand) skated at practice.
After last night’s win against Tampa Bay, which I admittedly did not watch in its entirety, there were a few hot takes running around Twitter. First is that Tanner Glass put the Rangers in a big hole by taking an unnecessary five minute major for interference. The second is that Oscar Lindberg played only six minutes, despite Glass being tossed from the game early in the first period.
I did not see the Glass hit, but let’s just go with the assumption that he got a match penalty, so it was likely some form of a dirty hit. But the focus isn’t on that hit, it’s on the fact that Lindberg played six minutes in a meaningless game with the Rangers down to 11 forwards.
Oscar Lindberg deserves to play. This sounds like an obvious statement, because it a way it is, but it needs to be said plainly. The Rangers’ forward depth is their strength this season, and heading into this playoff run the team needs to put its best possible lineup out there in order to maximize their odds of winning a Cup.
Alain Vigneault’s continuous scratching of the versatile Swede, who started off the season on something of a scoring streak before predictably cooling off, remains perplexing in its logic. Just a few weeks ago he was clicking well with the newly acquired Eric Staal, and yet these days he remains in the press box while Tanner Glass still sees time on the ice. The scrappy Lindberg even brings an element of the grit and toughness that Glass is known for, without all of the useless hits and defensively irresponsible play. Still this isn’t enough for Alain Vigneault.
Give good players time and you will be rewarded. Mats Zuccarello had to fight off traditional hockey stereotypes, climb up the Rangers cluttered depth chart and fight his way into a prominent position over a long period of time but Zuccarello eventually became one of the Rangers most reliable and cost effective players. Zuccarello’s contract is looking better every game and it’s worth looking into the value again because right now, there are few better value deals around the league.
Zuccarello is likely going to lead the Rangers in scoring for the second time in three years by season’s end. Over the past three years (going on numbers after the loss to the Red Wings) Zuccarello is averaging around 54 points per season and this is with 14 games of the current season to go.
Zuccarello is of course, in the first year of his new deal that pays him 4.5m per season. Prior to this season Zuccarello had bagged 142 points in 222 regular season games for an average of .63 points/game. This season he’s scoring at a .77 clip; a pretty significant increase.
By Alain Vigneault’s own admission, the Rangers are being very conscious of their cap situation because they expect to add a player or two before the trade deadline. With Monday’s 3 p.m. buzzer looming, let’s take a look at how the Blueshirts might use their assets to bring in reinforcements for another Cup run.
Chris Kreider – The 24-year-old still possesses all the tools to be a star and should be a bargain as a pending RFA thanks to his disappointing season. With that in mind, Kreider is possibly the team’s most valuable bargaining chip, but it would take a huge return for the Blueshirts to pull the trigger – likely a better player than is currently believed to be available. Depending on how the rest of the season shakes out, it’s perhaps more likely New York considers dealing Kreider in the offseason.
Oscar Lindberg – There have been whispers about the Swedish rookie over the last few days and it’s possible that he’s a player the Blueshirts would be willing to part with. Lindberg burst onto the scene with unsustainable offensive production, but has been very quiet over the last couple months. Once seen as the heir apparent to Dominic Moore’s role as the team’s fourth-line pivot, Lindberg’s future role now is a bit more uncertain. For clubs that can’t or won’t take on salary and are looking for young roster players with future potential, Lindberg could be very appealing. The Rangers probably won’t even consider moving J.T. Miller, Jesper Fast, Kevin Hayes or Pavel Buchnevich so Lindberg might become expendable almost by default. Read More→
Once again the Rangers found a way to play down to the level of an opponent. What was a fast start by the Rangers was in fact a false dawn. The Rangers came out quick in the first period creating chances, pressuring the Devils defense into mistakes and using their speed to enter the Devils zone all of which was evident in Derek Stepan’s opening score. A turnover forced by the impressive Oscar Lindberg resulted in the Rangers going the other way up ice and Lindberg’s excellent cross ice pass found a streaking Stepan who went to his backhand to put it under Corey Schneider.
As the game plodded along however, the Rangers progressively lost control of the game. The Devils outworked the Rangers in the second and deservedly tied it up following a turnover by the Rangers in their own zone. The Rangers coughed up the puck along the boards and Adam Henrique put the puck on net with a kneeling Dan Girardi screening Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist may have been unsighted on the play and maybe wasn’t tight enough to his post which allowed Henrique to follow up his own rebound to tie the game. That’s how the game stayed until overtime. The remainder of regulation saw a few chances exchanged but the Rangers never really had significant offensive zone time, a few isolated shifts aside.
The Rangers couldn’t really have asked for much more after two games. Two road games brought two wins against the reigning Stanley Cup champion and one of the Eastern conference’s rising powers. The first two games also gave significant insight into how the Rangers will have sustained success this season: depth and Hank.
Depth wins in the NHL, wins for the Rangers
Mats Zuccarello aside, the Rangers top line hasn’t got started yet and despite this the Rangers have two victories to kick off their season. Six Rangers have at least two points after two games, with rookie Oscar Lindberg starting his first Rangers’ October in sensational style with two big goals and JT Miller showing his difference making ability with three assists in his first two games. Indeed, the Rangers third line (with Viktor Stalberg) has been the team’s best thus far. They’ve established offensive zone time, generated offense and have gotten in on the forecheck consistently.
Three conference finals and a Stanley Cup appearance is no mean feat, whatever franchise you are. The Rangers have had a strong run over the past half decade or so; they have done it despite the ongoing need to develop young talent, spend to the cap to retain their own and recruit the biggest names on the market. Despite the absence of a Stanley Cup, the Rangers have balanced youth and (relative) success very well. The current roster has a young core and even the most key players have plenty of miles left. With this week’s roster decisions it appears the Rangers are continuing with their dedication to youth.
This week’s announcement that 2010 top ten draft pick Dylan McIlrath made the Rangers opening night roster over cheap and flexible roster part Raphael Diaz wasn’t just the right decision (McIlrath had consistently been the better of the two all preseason) but it was another example of the Rangers dedication to youth. Oh how times have changed since the 1997 – 2003 period (what some fans call the lost years). Factor in Oscar Lindberg having likely played himself into the opening night line-up and another season has arrived where the Rangers have managed to inject youth into the line-up with at least two rookies.
Happy Friday, BSB’ers! The preseason is officially over and we are only five days away from the 2015-2016 opener in Chicago. There are still some cuts looming and possibly a roster move or two. Naturally, I have some thoughts…
1. The more I think about the concept, the more I like the idea of eight defenseman. The Rangers have a pretty diverse skill set amongst their backliners, so I think using some sort of rotation to keep certain guys (Boyle, Girardi) fresh and to take advantage of matchups is a good idea.
2. Kevin Klein is a difficult call for me. On one hand, he is overpriced for his place on this roster. I think he is a bargain for teams of lesser defensive depth, but he is a luxury for us. His presence makes for waiver exposure to cost-effective guys that are useful to the roster. Read More→
Oscar Lindberg was announced as the 2015 Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award winner this year, awarded to the top rookie at camp in the preseason. The award hasn’t been awarded since 2010, when Derek Stepan won the award. Pretty safe to assume Lindberg has made the team. Above is Lindberg receiving the award from some unknown fan.