Return of Ryan Lindgren
One of the more quiet strugglers of the season, Ryan Lindgren has not been the typical shutdown defenseman he has been for the Blueshirts during his career. Since arriving in New York as a piece of the Rick Nash trade, Lindgren has been one of the most reliable defensemen the Rangers have had, often partnering Adam Fox on the Rangers top pairing to provide a little bit more defensive stability to the offensive firepower Fox provides.
This year, Lindgren has had to spend 10 games away from the former Norris Trophy winner, and despite Erik Gustafsson doing a great job filling the large shoes of Fox, Lindgren hasn't found his footing yet almost 30 games into the season. It's a concern that the best defenseman the Rangers have in their own end is struggling because it makes the team vulnerable to comebacks late in games, such as we saw against the San Jose Sharks.
Lindgren's production is also way down. Through 29 games, he has just a single goal and a single assist. Now, Ryan Lindgren is many things, but an offensive dynamo he is not. His career high is just 18 points, so seeing a low total next to his name isn't unreasonable. But he's on pace for 5 points. If you want to be kind, we can say 6 points since it's 5.655, but it's still way less than you would expect from Adam Fox's defensive partner.
Plus minus is not a good stat. In the past, I've spoken at length about the issues of trying to use it as a measure of someones defensive quality. However, Ryan Lindgren plays in the top four with Fox and he gets all this ice time, averaging more than 18 minutes a night. He's got a plus minus of zero. He's a net neutral on the ice, which is not what the Rangers need from him. Could it be worse? Yes, but the Rangers need Lindgren to start looking like Lindgren. He's also gotten lit up a few times recently which is concerning given his injury history.