The New York Rangers lost Oscar Lindberg to the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the Expansion Draft. What happens next?
Oscar Lindberg is no longer a member of the New York Rangers. While that’s unfortunate, there are plenty of positives to take away from the Expansion Draft. Before we go into those positives, let’s take a look at what the Lindberg selection means for the Rangers.
And the Oscar Goes to Las Vegas
The loss of Oscar Lindberg will be a tough one for the Rangers to swallow. Lindberg was set to be the fourth line center for New York for years to come. At 26 years old it is doubtful he will develop much more, but he is at worst one of the better bottom six centers in the NHL.
Lindberg will make little money to have a significant impact on the ice. One of New York’s greatest strengths is their ability to roll four lines. With Lindberg gone, New York must either be certain a prospect like Boo Nieves is ready to fill his role, or they must sign a replacement.
The complication there is that New York is a hit or miss franchise when it comes to signings. Bringing in Jordan Weal would be wise, but who’s to say the Rangers don’t opt for Chris Kelly instead? There’s plenty of danger in losing Lindberg, far more than simply losing a young forward.
Let’s not forget that Lindberg made Tanner Glass look like a competent fourth liner in the playoffs as well.
Don’t You Want-a Raanta?
Perhaps the second most significant piece of news to come out of the Expansion Draft is that Antti Raanta is still a Ranger. While that’s fantastic news, the reason that’s fantastic news should be a source of arguments.
My belief is that the Rangers should sell high on Raanta and look to deal him. Moving him at the Trade Deadline makes little sense, and keeping him just for him to leave after the season is wasting an asset.
Benoit Allaire can turn anyone into a league average or better backup goalie. New York should continue to benefit from that by maximizing the asset they have in Raanta.
However, New York was rumored to have had talks with Las Vegas to bribe them to not take Raanta, so I would guess he is going to stay in New York. It’s something to keep an eye on for certain, though.
What Happens Next?
Now, the New York Rangers still have their first round pick. They are down Oscar Lindberg, but Michael Grabner, Jesper Fast, and Antti Raanta are still on board. New York should certainly look to trade and replace Raanta, as well as looking into Grabner’s market. They should not actively look to move Grabner, however.
Another wise course of action for New York would be to talk to Las Vegas about potential trades. Nate Schmidt would be a fine addition to the blue-line, and Shea Theodore could be a piece for the present and future as well. George McPhee is not shy about trading, and the Rangers have a clear need.
Regardless, the rest of the offseason must be about ensuring the forward depth remains, shoring up the defensive ranks, and not doing anything stupid. That means Oscar Lindberg’s replacement must be a player with talent.
If New York can follow that outline, they will be contenders in 2017-18 despite losing Lindberg.