With all eyes now focused on the 2023-24 season, this means that some key players for the New York Rangers will be up for a new contract after the season is over. One of these players and arguably the most important is Ryan Lindgren. He is entering the final season of a three-year deal and is currently making $3 million per season. He has been the backbone of the Rangers’ defense for the past few seasons and the team should be looking to get an extension done with him as soon as possible. While there may be some risks in signing him long-term, the benefits are even greater for the Rangers.
Key Member Of the Defense Group
For the majority of his time with the Rangers, Lindgren has been playing top-pairing minutes with his partner and best friend, Adam Fox. These two have chemistry from playing in the U.S. National Development Program and by chance, they both ended up members of the Rangers organization. Lindgren was acquired from the Boston Bruins in the Rick Nash trade in 2018 and Fox was traded to the Rangers by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019. Since being paired together with the Rangers, they have been one of the best defensive pairings in the NHL. While Fox gets all the praise, Lindgren’s game allows Fox to play the way he does.
The Rangers defense takes a huge step back when Lindgren is out of the lineup. Since joining the team, their record without him is 47-51-17. The defense looks lost without him and they can never truly replace what he brings to the ice each game. This shows just how important he is to this team’s defense group and why the Rangers should look into extending him as soon as possible.
As mentioned previously, Lindgren has missed a good amount of games in his career so far. This is one of the major concerns in signing him to a long-term deal. He has only played over 70 games once in his career. He has never been healthy for a full 82-game season. Just last season, he missed 19 games with an injury and his absence was felt during those games. If the Rangers want to sign him to a long-term deal, they need to consider that he might not be healthy for the majority of those years.
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When comparing Lindgren to other players, many point to Dan Girardi as a good comparable. They both play a physical style and are willing to block shots at any given time. One negative in that comparison is the decline of Girardi in his last few seasons with the Rangers. His style of play put miles on his body and he could not keep up and play the same way he used to. With Lindgren, it could very well be a similar story. While he is still good now, as he gets closer to 30 years old and later, his body is going to start feeling the impact of his play style. Do the Rangers want to risk having another Girardi-type contract on their team? This is just one risk they need to consider.
While there are concerns to look at when deciding if the Rangers should extend Lindgren long-term, the benefits outweigh the concerns. His contributions to this team can not be overlooked. He has become the heart and soul player for this team over the past few seasons and the players around him play better when he’s around. He has become a key player both on and off the ice and the Rangers should do whatever they can to lock him up and should do so before his asking price gets higher.