When it comes to the New York Rangers‘ defense, Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren have been the top pairing for the last few years. Fox is a dynamic offensive defenseman who also has the ability to make plays in the Rangers’ own zone as well, and Lindgren is a gritty lock-down defenseman who allows very few opposing scoring opportunities when he is on the ice.
However, as the 2023 Rangers training camp gets underway, there will be chances for new HC Peter Laviolette to experiment with the defensive pairings. Although Fox and Lindgren have been the staple of the Rangers’ defense, is it possible that could be changed heading into this upcoming season?
A young Rangers’ star could assist Fox on a dynamic pairing
While Fox and Lindgren combined creates a balanced offensive-defensive pairing, there is speculation on how impressive K’Andre Miller could perform if playing alongside Fox. Miller is a young defenseman coming off a breakout season, having scored 43 points last season at just 23 years old, and those numbers are projected to slowly increase as he moves closer to his prime NHL years.
Adam Fox has already established himself as one of the top offensive defensemen in the league, as he managed to tally 72 points last season as well. Swapping Lindgren out for Miller would not only help Miller speed up his breakout and boost his point production but would also create an elite defensive second pairing with Lindgren and Jacob Trouba.
With Fox and Miller as the number one Rangers’ pairing, the two stars would be an unstoppable force when the Blueshirts maintain puck possession. There are criticisms of Miller’s defensive abilities, but Fox’s superstar-level abilities would easily counteract, as well as help teach Miller.
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Would it be worth it to break up Fox and Lindgren’s chemistry?
Although putting Fox and Miller together would bring many positive changes to the Rangers, it’s hard to deny that Lindgren has been an almost perfect partner for Fox throughout recent years. They’ve had the opportunity to grow and develop from each other for a majority of their careers, and Fox is well aware of the relationship they have together:
“There’s a great sense of comfort when I’m with Lindy. You can see it on the ice. We really read off each other & I think it’s important to have chemistry… That’s what camp is for. Me & Key know each other pretty well, too, but you have to get those reps in.”Adam Fox via Vince Z. Mercogliano
Training camp and pre-season will determine any changes to the Rangers’ lineup
With training camp having just begun, it’s clear that both Laviolette and the Rangers’ defensive corp are open to experimenting with new pairings. Fox and Lindgren have undeniable chemistry with each other, but Fox is open to testing the waters next to Miller throughout the camp.
It will be interesting to see if an all-offensive-minded pairing has the potential to succeed in the 2023-24 season, but only time will tell to see if a possible adjustment would be worth it for the Rangers.