Ryan Lindgren is going to become a focal point of much discussion this offseason. An RFA with arbitration rights, the Rangers 1RD is likely headed to a hefty extension. But the Rangers re-signing Ryan Lindgren comes with significant risk, notably his subpar year and inability to stay healthy for the long term. A product of his play style, the Rangers likely want to avoid another Dan Girardi or Marc Staal situation.

For the uninitiated, both Staal and Girardi were similarly styled defensemen to Lindgren, though Lindgren has been far better with puck movement. Both Staal and Girardi got long term deals of $5.7 million and $5.5 million, respectively, costing the Rangers other players on their roster (Anton Stralman, Carl Hagelin). Both were pretty bad by the time the Rangers cut ties, and both contracts arguably cost them a true shot at a Stanley Cup.

Now with the possibility of the Rangers re-signing Ryan Lindgren to a similar contract, there is a fear of history repeating itself. We already know the Mika Zibanejad contract isn’t going to age well to go along with the Jacob Trouba contract that was a disaster from the start. Trouba and Lindgren also play similar styles, leaving many questions about the makeup of the blue line.

Evolving-Hockey’s contract projections have the Rangers re-signing Ryan Lindgren to a 6-year, $4.87 million contract as the most likely scenario. If that number gives you sticker shock, it should. Lindgren is an absolute warrior and a fan favorite for good reason. But he simply can’t stay healthy and there are legitimate concerns about how this may already be impacting his play on the ice.

There is a strong chance that this poor season was a blip on the radar, and Lindgren will rebound nicely next season. After all, he’s 26 years old, not 32 years old. But what if this isn’t a blip and a sign of things to come? We already saw him struggle mightily with puck management against Florida, which is a big need for the Rangers on the blue line. They need guys who can move the puck reliably and consistently. That’s just not Lindgren’s game, which is fine. He provides other necessary skills as well.

But as Luker said, unless the Rangers can get him for cheap, then his specific skill set is replaceable. This holds especially true if the Rangers shake up the defense pairs next year. Lindgren’s value has been his current level of play at a fair market price. The Rangers re-signing Ryan Lindgren to a long term deal removes that value and presents the risk of declining level of play.

Another (unlikely) scenario is Lindgren’s trade value. Again highly unlikely, but it’s clear the Rangers can’t simply run it back with the same group and Lindgren may provide enough trade value to land a significant scoring piece. The Rangers re-signing Ryan Lindgren may not be priority number one if they are a bit risk-averse to Lindgren’s injuries/off-year and potential contract.


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