Ryan Lindgren is described by many as the current-day version of Dan Girardi when Girardi was in his prime. They both play a similar style of game. They both block shots and play physically, but this also has an impact on their health. We all saw what happened to Girardi by the time his Ranger career was over. He was a shell of the player he once was and playing that style of the game hurt his body in more ways than one.
While we are far away from that happening with Lindgren, by him playing that similar styles, he is going down that same path. For now, he is a key member of this team and his current absence from the lineup shows why he is such an important player for the Rangers.
Continuing the comparison between Lindgren and Girardi, they both played in a pair will super-talented partners. Girardi had McDonagh and Lindgren has Fox. Both Lindgren and Girardi played more of the stay-at-home style, which allowed their partners to jump in on the offense. They allowed their partners to do what they do best.
He and Fox have insane chemistry with each other as they also played together for the U.S. National Development program. Those years of experience heading into the NHL gave them an edge and have allowed them to be an amazing partnership. They have been one of the top defensive pairs for the past many years and Fox would not be the player he is today if he did not have Lindgren watching his back.
Since Lindgren got injured against the Capitals, Fox has not looked the same. He has played the majority of the games with Nikko Mikkola, a player who should not be playing those kinds of minutes. They have been ok together, but it just has not been the same Fox we are used to seeing. He has been making more turnovers and he looks less confident than he has before. This is because he does not have a partner in crime.
Fox knows how Lindgren plays and they know what each other wants to do and they make plays happen. Without Lindgren, Fox has looked just ok rather than the superstar we know he can be.
Another reason why Lindgren is so important is that he helps the overall defensive structure of the team. When he is out of the lineup, the defense looks subpar. They also have a losing record when he is out of the lineup. Lindgren’s name has also come up as a potential cap casualty this summer as the Rangers will be tight for cap space.
The Rangers should do everything in their power to keep Lindgren because, without him, this defense will fall apart. If that means trading another player, then so be it.
We all wish Lindgren would be back playing already and many thought he would be. If they do not think he is ready, it is best to keep him out until he is fully healthy and ready to go. He is going to be a key player down the stretch and in the playoffs. We know that warrior that he is and when he comes back, he will make this team even better than it already is.