The rise of Ryan Lindgren

Rookie defenseman has impressed

Ryan Lindgren was one of the prizes of the Rick Nash trade for the Rangers. The hard hitting defenseman was seen as a potential rock on the left side, one that may not provide much offense but will be a dependable guy in the defensive zone. While there were some natural concerns because of his lack of offense, he still earned a call up this season.

Lindgren started off very slow, which again was to be expected. He cratered on 12/10 before seeing a significant rise in performance. This checks out, as the entire team started performing significantly better around that date as well. What sets Lindgren apart is not only his meteoric rise, but the fact that he is currently the rolling xGF% leader on the blue line.

The question is certainly going to be how much of this is due to Adam Fox and how much is on Lindgren’s individual performance. It’s a natural question, since Fox is very good and one of the best puck movers on the team. Fox is the yin to Lindgren’s yang, but is this an equal split?

For full season numbers, the Lindgren-Fox combo has very good numbers comparatively to the rest of the team — remember that this team still has poor season long numbers because of how bad they were in October and November. Lindgren without Fox is a slight down tick –expected since he’s not an offensive driver on his own– and Fox without Lindgren for the full season does have a significant jump, but it’s not overly big compared to Lindgren-Fox together.

Meanwhile over the last 31 games, since they’ve improved in December, the numbers across the board are significantly better. The pairing together is solid, and while Lindgren is always going to have better numbers with Fox, he is more than holding his own without him. It is worth noting that most of Fox’s recent shifts without Lindgren are with Tony DeAngelo, hence the swing on “Fox only.” But again, is it that much better than Lindgren-Fox?

Sometimes you can’t explain it, and pairings just work together. Lindgren/Fox is one of those pairings. They’d probably survive without each other, and while we know Fox is a potential star in the making, Lindgren is no slouch. He went from “forgotten” prospect to legitimate top-four defenseman within two months. The sky may not be the limit, but the Rangers don’t necessarily need him to play that role. His rise as a complementary piece in the top-four is just as important.

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  • he’s a good balance to our overall defense. We score a lot but we hadn’t been defending as much. That’s improving and he brings that, along with some snarl to the back end. We actually need another D man like him. Will be interesting to see what Joey Keane brings.

    • I like bringing Keane up for a few reps before the trade deadline. Unsure who we are dangling out there, but it could be Skjei or AD. Would be nice to see Keane play a little to see if he could be an inexpensive solution.
      Next year, we could have 5 defensemen under 26 y/o.

  • Lindgren pounded the hell out of Greenway last night in front of the goal…save made.
    Skjei played Greenway like he was plague lava…goal against.
    Love Lindgrens physical play….is there a stat for crosschecking and roughing up players parked in front of your own goal?

    • For nearly a century, the Bruins have forged their big, bad reputation on the blue line. Orr. Brad Park ( god it hurts to just type that) Ray Bourke….physical; mouthy; will always always have the last shove and now Chara. McAvoy. Carlo stand on that legacy. Something in how Boston picks blue liners….and Lindgren has it. This kid has nothing but upside and affirms for me the Gordon-Quinn alignment on the kind of people needed to play NHL d men. And implies Skjei is not a long term guy here.

      • The big bad Bruins were guys like Jay Miller, John Wensink, Stan Jonathan, Wayne Cashman, and Terry O’Reilly. Very little nastiness came from players like Orr, Park, or Bourque. They left that stuff to meatheads like Mike Milbury.

    • That’s not a great comparison—Girardi was not a good skater even in his younger days, and played RD. Lindgren is a much better skater and is far, far, far more aggressive than Girardi. He actually stands up for his teammates as well, as opposed to Girardi, who never did.

      • Please don’t go looking for disagreements where there are none. I wasn’t talking about skating, etc. I wasn’t comparing SKILLS, but ROLES. He was our shutdown d’man, that’s going to be Lindgren’s role.

  • Can we just leave the Lindgren/Fox pair out there for 18 minutes a night? They seem to get the job done and by the middle of next year I suspect they will be part of the shutdown trio (including Trouba).

  • Surprise, surprise, the Rangers’ defense is a heck of a lot better now than it was, and it is getting better. Ryan Lindgren is a big reason for that, along with Adam Fox and Tony DeAngelo, who along with Trouba give the Rangers a mobile crew that can score and defend.

    While Tony D will never be a shut down guy, he is a puck mover and a natural in the offensive zone, , and has gotten better than he was before in the D-zone. Lindgren is a natural in the defensive zone and clearing the crease. Trouba can do anything, while Fox can pretty much too with a little less heft and muscle. Skjei seems to have lost his way, but he is still better than some who play defense in the NHL.

    When the Rangers move guys like Keane in, and the others like Miller who are a few years away, they will likely have one of the best defensive units in the league. Good work by Gorton and crew to change the direction of the team’s talent defensively.

  • Gotta love Lindgren’s heart and grit. Good complementary d-man. But it pains me to say that he’s the best LHD on this team.

  • Skjei has to be traded and DeAngelo moved to the left. A top 4 of Trouba/DeAngelo and Lindren/Fox is the direction the team needs to go.
    Trading Skjei’s contract will offset DeAngelo’s new deal (+/- $1M).
    That sets up the team for the near future and allows them to integrate their prospects in the their own pace (Miller, Lundkvist, Keane, Rykov, Robertson, Jones and even Hajek if he improves in Hartford. Side note: thats a ton of upside D prospects. More than I can remember the Rangers ever having at one time).
    All this depth is great as it also allows the Rangers to make some creative trades for forwards.

  • Lindgren is second only behind Kakko on my list of “Can’t Wait to See Them Mature”

    When he grows, matures, and gains confidence and know with all, LOOK OUT BABY!


    • Clearly Quinn only wants tough guys on D….I’m all for it as long as they know they still have to play hockey…defend..clear…etc…..Looking like Tony D is pricing himself off the team……Rangers have to sign somehow sign him…

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