With the NHL entering a bye week for the upcoming all-star game festivities the New York Rangers optioned both Ryan Lindgren and Alexandar Georgiev to the AHL so they could continue to play.
At the midway point of the season in terms of the league calendar, the New York Rangers are 21-20-7. The first half was a roller coaster ride filled with ebbs and flows that included highs such as nine wins in eleven game stretch in November and lows as poor as a five-game losing streak multiple times.
For all of the issues, there was the pleasure of watching young players grow. With seven days off and no hockey to be played at the NHL level, the front office decided to send defenseman Ryan Lindgren and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev down to the AHL so they could get ice time with the Hartford Wolf Pack.
As two players that still had options remaining on their contract meaning that they do not have to clear waivers to be demoted, this was a logical decision.
In three games at the NHL level, Lindgren held his own and looked comfortable amongst the flow of the game. As a more defensively oriented style of player, Lindgren is able to play a conservative game and manage to not stand out for the wrong reasons. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher was floated around with different partners and given limited ice time.
According to Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, Lindgren said he was being sent to the AHL but it was not a demotion.
As for Georgiev, his first half was much more inconsistent due to the fact he just does not play much as the backup to Henrik Lundqvist. The Bulgarian played 16 games, 13 of which were starts. In Georgiev’s limited action, he’s struggled with a save percentage of .895 and goals against average of 3.43.
With younger players serving as the foundation of the team, it’s imperative that they continue to get ice time. It sounds obvious to say, but professional athletes only get better with actual game reps. For all of the progress that can be made in a practice, a player is never going to push as hard against teammates as they will against live opponents.
In the final stretch of the season, expect to see more of both Lindgren and Georgiev for a pair of reasons. First of all, the team will likely fall further out of the mix once it makes its first trade which will subsequently create more ice time.
With the team further out of it, it would make sense to dial down Lundqvist’s workload to two or three games a week as opposed to the three or four he currently does. This means that Georgiev would get a chance to get more regular playing time and hopefully shake off the rust.