Updated Rangers lines: Ryan Lindgren returns!

Ryan Lindgren solidified his NHL spot with Adam Fox two seasons ago, and he took a major step forward in 2021, showing he could be impactful without Fox on his side. In 2021-2022, Lindgren was again paired with Fox, and while there were no questions about his potential regression, there were questions about whether he would round out his relatively one-sided game.

While the puck is not a grenade on his stick like some of his defensive defensemen predecessors (Marc Staal, Dan Girardi), Lindgren surprised many by posting pretty solid offensive play driving numbers to go with his great defensive metrics. It’s just not part of his game, and hasn’t been since the Rangers traded for him. His defensive metrics have more than made up for it, and he also replaces puck moving with bloodiness.

However in 2021-2022, Lindgren’s offensive impacts took a step back. This shouldn’t be viewed as a surprise, given his limited offensive prowess combined with the Rangers inability to generate anything sustained at even strength. Very few Rangers had positive offensive play driving numbers. It just is what it is for the Rangers last season.

So is his lack of offensive play driving last season a blip? Or is it something to expect from Lindgren going forward? That we don’t know, but it is worth noting Lindgren set a career high in goals last season with 4, which does represent two-thirds of his career NHL goals. He’s not an offensive player, but he perfectly complements Fox’s offensive ability, and balance is key. Lindgren fits his role very well. And as noted, the offensive impacts are something to monitor, but the puck is far from a grenade on his stick. As long as he makes that first pass, that’s fine.

Lindgren is just an overall solid defensive defenseman. He’s a critical piece to the Rangers right now. He and K’Andre Miller are one of the better 1-2 punches on left defense in the league. It’s hard to be upset with his play, even if you want more offensive impacts. It’s just not his game, and he doesn’t need to have it in his game.

Since this grade likely needs a bit of explanation: I was tempted to give him an A based on his defensive play relative to his role and his 4 goals, a career high. But it’s tough to ignore being a net-negative in offensive driving. Thus the A-. A more well rounded Rangers team should fix this in 2022-2023.

Grade: A-


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