In hockey, one injury shouldn’t impact a team too much unless it’s a star player. If the Rangers were to lose Igor Shesterkin, it would be a problem. Yet for some reason, Ryan Lindgren’s injuries seem to cause the Rangers to have many defensive problems when he’s out of the lineup. This dates back to when he and Jacob Trouba were out for the Tom Wilson game, and we’ve seen many instances of this.
Lindgren is a solid hockey player and a top pairing defenseman. Every team will struggle a bit when losing a player like him. But for the Rangers, this seems to be a major impact to their on-ice performance. The Rangers may have dominated the Blue Jackets on Saturday night, but they allowed 6 high danger chances to their 5, something we didn’t expect to see.
— Stephen Valiquette (@VallysView) October 15, 2023
Respect needs to be given to Columbus’ top scoring forwards, as they are quite good and capitalized on turnovers and breakdowns. They did their jobs. The question isn’t about their opponent though, it’s about why Ryan Lindgren’s injuries seem to turn the Rangers into a shell of themselves defensively.
Before this season, Ryan Lindgren’s injuries meant guys like Ben Harpur or Libor Hajek would dress. Naturally, we would understand why that would impact the Rangers defensively. Last night, Erik Gustafsson jumped to the top pair and Zac Jones was on the third pair. Gustafsson had a rough night and the third pair was targeted by the Blue Jackets’ top line all night.
Again, any team will struggle a little when a top pairing defenseman is out, but it seems to be exaggerated for the Blueshirts. Ryan Lindgren’s injuries seem to impact more than just a lineup weakness for the night. Turnovers were aplenty, and while they dominated shot attempts, they were sloppy in front of their own net and in their own zone.
The Jones-Braden Schneider pairing in particular had a rough night, with a failed reverse breakout leading directly to a goal, and another goal coming off a blown coverage. Schneider is still experiencing growing pains and Jones is a rookie whose prowess is on the offensive side of things. They should grow with time, and hopefully minimize the impact of Ryan Lindgren’s injuries.
There’s nothing the Rangers can do at the moment either. They need Lindgren. He’s a great defenseman and it’s clear he does a lot more for this team than we see on the ice. Hopefully the Rangers will be better able to manage Ryan Lindgren’s injuries throughout the season, especially as they hit their groove later in the season. More importantly, perhaps they need to work with Lindgren on how to stay healthy for a full season?