A glimpse at what a new Ryan Lindgren contract might cost

While much of the offseason discussion has been around a big name center and/or retaining Pavel Buchnevich, one key player has not been mentioned too much. That guy is Ryan Lindgren, who is an RFA at the end of the year and will be needing a new contract. While it isn’t expected to be cost prohibitive, Lindgren might be a candidate for a longer term contract, instead of a bridge deal.

Both a bridge deal and a long term deal have their pros and cons. There’s a case for both for Lindgren. Factoring into that decision will be Lindgren’s unique skill set, specifically as a defensive stalwart who delivers the big hits for the team. He’s a warrior, cut in the Dan Girardi mold, but he isn’t a black hole when driving offense. He’s a smooth skater, a good puck mover, and solid defensively. What he lacks, which will likely keep his cost down, is points.

The case for a bridge deal

Heading into this season, the big question on Ryan Lindgren was whether or not he was a product of playing with Adam Fox. He’s put those concerns to bed, as he’s emerged as the top LD on the team. Despite his 100 game goalless streak, he’s been the go-to guy for tough minutes. Not only is he doing it with Fox, but he’s doing it away from him as well. There’s also a big case for putting him with Jacob Trouba to help free Trouba offensively.

Where a bridge deal would be beneficial for Lindgren is in case this season is a fluke due to the presence of Jacques Martin. That’s a bit of a stretch for sure, and it’s a pretty weak argument. Another area is injury insurance, as Lindgren’s play style and propensity for taking flying projectiles to the face are well known.

At 23 years old, a bridge deal would ensure Lindgren gets another contract with the Rangers before heading to free agency. It would keep his cost down for the next 2-3 years before getting a bigger payday. The comparable contract that comes to mind is Tampa’s Erik Cernak. They have similar play styles and production.

Cernak is in the first year of his three year bridge deal with Tampa that carries a $2.9 million cap hit. He’s the same age as Lindgren. Same production. Same peripherals. His bridge was signed last offseason, and with a flat cap, it’ll be the same percentage cap hit next season.

At $2.9 million, a Lindgren three year bridge deal is manageable while the Rangers figure out what is going on at center. Mika Zibanejad’s next contract looms large. As do Adam Fox’s and Igor Shesterkin’s.

The case for a long term deal

Given how much cap space the Rangers have, they can afford a few long term deals for the players identified as part of the future. It seems like Lindgren is one of those guys, as Steve Valiquette noted he may get a letter soon. With that kind of leader identified, keeping long term costs down is critical. Given the unknown big contracts, getting Ryan Lindgren locked into a long term contract could be ideal.

A long term deal is more expensive up front. But if you assume continued progression, it becomes a discount very quickly. That’s the benefit of locking up Lindgren for 5-6 years. That is, if the Rangers go that route. Finding a comp for Lindgren long term is very difficult. I was looking at Rasmus Andersson in Calgary, as it’s as close as I can get.

This is a multi-year RAPM, as opposed to the single year above. It takes into account Lindgren’s rookie season, which was far worse than this year. His offensive point production is close, even if the peripherals have set Lindgren apart. He’s somewhat close to Andersson, but it’s not a perfect match. Let’s take this with a grain of salt.

The key thing is Andersson is in the first year of a six-year, $4.55 million deal signed just before he turned 24. This was also signed with a flat cap. This might be the best comparable for a long term Lindgren deal. Six year at $4.55 million is definitely something folks would sign up for.

So which one?

Honestly, there is no wrong answer here. For me, I’d prefer a long term contract for Ryan Lindgren. If he’s identified as a future cog, then just sign him now. In three years, when cap space is at a premium, the Rangers will likely be happy they have him at just $4.55 million. If he falters, then it’s not too big of a cap hit to be concerned about. Both are very manageable options for the Rangers.

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  • We have many young defensemen behind Lindgren. Sign him to a 2 year bridge deal and get another LD ready to take his place come the 2022 season. Nothing against Lindgren, just stating that we have depth behind him.

    • Agree on a bridge deal but Lindgren brings something to the table that out other young D don’t. Physicality and the ability to get under the other teams skin.
      Now, it is possible that Robertson or Schneider fit that role, but that’s an unknown at this time.
      Rangers will dangle at least 1 of their D prospects for a 1C. (Eichel)It will be interesting to see who that will be.
      I have a strong feeling that Eichel won’t cost as much as the reports are indicating for a few reasons. In this current climate there are very few teams that can take on a lengthy 10 mil per year contract. And out of those teams only a very few have the ammunition to give Buffalo what they want in return.

      • Jack Eichel has a herniated cervical disc and it out for the season. $10 million a year for him at this juncture is much too risky in my view. Discs are not easy to treat, and the ‘cures’ have problems of their own for a guy who plays an intensely physical sport. I don’t think I’d bite.

        • I’d prefer we go after Barkov. Guy’s a stud. Put him on a line with his fellow countryman, Kakko. Would def help the kid reach his potential even faster.

          • Rayzer . I know he was born in Finland but he is as Finish as Grigoriev is Bulgarian. Both of them are Russian.

            I surely would take Barkov over Eichel any day. Just not sure what it will take to get it done and what we would have to pay him. But he is certainly a great talent.

          • Florida is relevant for the first time in a long time, Barkov probably isn’t going anywhere.

          • Will give the “offer they cant refuse”. Howden, PDG, Brietto, Kinkard, DQ and Gorton. Do not mind overpaying

          • I am sure it is not a popular view on this blog but I do appreciate Brendan Smith last two years. Playing defense, playing offense, standing up for his teammates. I did not like his contract but like you said before he got paid the market value. Don’t blame him for that

  • Cernaks deal with Tampa is slightly impacted by the huge difference in taxes paid between Florida and NYC. 3 years for $10.5 mill would be fair to both sides and a wise decision for the Rangers considering all of the up and coming d-men in the system.

    • Easier to trade a good player with a reasonable long term deal than a good player about to finish his bridge deal.

  • Off-topic a bit, but Lindgren is overdue for a goal. Has been shooting the puck well all year but has had some tough luck. Overall his offensive game looks to be improved. I think he’s a keeper but the Rangers might have to worry about the abuse his body takes, it’s gonna add up.

    • I love Lindgren, but he needs to get a shooter tutor this summer. He literally puts every shot in the goalie’s bread basket.

  • Sign him long term, just no NMC or rigid MNTC. He’s a commodity that would always be in demand (a Top 4D) if you decide to trade him down the line, especially if you keep the $$$s under $5M — and front load it to some extent.

  • Sign him for 5 years. Besides being a shutdown guy he is seamless with Fox. Its chemistry, something this team needs! No NMC/NTC….keeps him at his contract dollar level with team option to move him. Last item…with new TV contract Cap should increase and we all know that’s dependent upon Union and clubs agreeing to %s of salaries retained.

  • I am nervous about going long term for a few reasons. One, he isnt an offensive guy. Like how much ‘progression’ are you expecting? Two, the now loaded d prospect base. They all wont be ready next year but in 2-3 years? 3. The physical game vs his size … could wear on him.

  • Can’t commit more cap to a long term deal….. unless the FO is confident they can get out from the Trouba countract. Simply put Fox is going to get his (enormous) payday from us with term. With 8 mil to Trouba, is there room to lock Lindgren up as well?

    I go 3 year bridge deal and keep our options open given the pipeline coming up behind him…..

  • This is pretty much a lay up the guy is a meat and potatoes defensive grinder you need to win a cup. The only reason you linger is developing Robertson/Schneider. They may be the same on defense but offer more offense

  • Does anyone think he will be traded. NYR need him especially after the Tom Wilson incident. He brings so much to the team on and off the ice. Rangers need to keep him even though his effort isn’t always translated in his stats. Hopefully he’ll get a letter soon.

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