Why this Rangers player is the most underrated key to success

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (55) waits for the face-off during the third period against the Buffalo Sabres

The New York Rangers took their first loss of the year last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was an embarrassing performance that contained two disallowed goals for the Rangers and some poor defensive play.

There were a handful of takeaways from the Blueshirts’ first loss of the season, but one major realization has been made: Ryan Lindgren is an integral part of the Rangers’ defense, and they’ll need him to return from injury as quickly as possible.

Lindgren was ruled out against the Blue Jackets in the Rangers’ loss

Within an hour before the puck drop, it was announced that Lindgren would not be playing in the Rangers’ second game of the season. It’s likely that this decision was caused by a hand injury Lindgren received just a few days ago.

He had participated in practice yesterday morning, so it was presumed he was back in full health. But with Lindgren sitting out against Columbus, that is clearly not the case.

There’s the chance that the Blueshirts were just taking precautionary measures, and Lindgren could be back on the ice tomorrow night for the Blueshirts’ home opener.

The Rangers are statistically better when Lindgren is in the lineup

Lindgren is perhaps the most underrated defenseman on the Rangers. Eyes are always directed toward superstar Adam Fox or captain Jacob Trouba, but Lindgren truly is the defensive backbone of this corps. Lindgren is a strong, physical, defensive defenseman, and the Rangers have statistically proven to win more games when he is on the ice.

Since Lindgren joined New York, the Blueshirts have a record of 149-82-27 when he plays. This is compared to a less-than-ideal record of 47-52-17 when he does not. To have one player make such an impact on the team’s success is incredible.

How Lindgren could have changed the outcome of yesterday’s Ranger defeat

One of the main reasons the Rangers fell to Columbus was the fact that the Blueshirts were outplayed physically. The Rangers seemed to revert to their old style of hockey which consisted of too many fancy plays and pretty passes. No hitting, no fast skating, no effort.

Lindgren has always been the opposite of that play style. He always blocks shots, plays along the boards, and makes incredible defensive plays. This is exactly what the Rangers were lacking last night, and even more players could have made a major difference.

There were discussions on how Lindgren’s injury impacted the fate of the game, but head coach Peter Laviolette was quick to not make any excuses.

“That would be an excuse. I liked the lineup we had dressed tonight. He’s upper body, day-to-day, to be evaluated when we get back home.”

Peter Laviolette via Vince Mercogliano

As head coach, Laviolette needs to hold his team accountable for their poor performance. But in reality, it’s hard to deny that Lindgren could have been a game-changer had he suited up against Columbus. Hopefully, Laviolette will get the rest of the team in shape for the home opener tomorrow and Lindgren will be back on the ice to continue his elite defensive play.

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