Next up on our list of New York Rangers report cards is Oscar Lindberg!
Stat Line (Regular Season):
15 goals, 13 assists, 28 points in 68 games played; Corsi: 48.2%, Shot Differential: -12
Ah, Oscar Lindberg, the guy who looked like he might challenge the likes of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel for the Calder Trophy, when he opened the season with 11 points in his first 14 games. Of course we all knew his scoring pace would slow down, just as we knew Derek Stepan would not finish his rookie season with 246 goals.
With 28 points, while playing almost the entirety of the season for the Rangers, his scoring numbers definitely do not dictate how his season actually went. Lindberg was regularly slotted on the third and fourth line, and at times looked like he was the player Vigneault could trust the most while remaining responsible in all three zones.
So when the Rangers started to struggle and Lindberg was no longer scoring at the clip he was at the beginning of the year, it looked like Lindberg had started to struggle, even though that wasn't true. That was enough for Alain Vigneault to pull Lindberg out of the lineup for Tanner Glass for a good portion of the back half of the year.
Another thing to notice from Lindberg, was his scoring success when he received 20 or more shifts in a game. Unfortunately, this success was regularly followed by a string of games where his ice-time was significantly cut for some reason; strangely enough finding himself in Vigneault’s doghouse for reasons unknown.
Lindberg had bilateral hip surgeries this offseason, but AV said wasn’t part of the reason he was left out of the lineup during the latter part of the Rangers season. We’ll never know, but a serious surgery(s) like that makes it hard to believe he was at 100% down the stretch.
There was plenty to like about Lindberg in his first NHL season, which should have Rangers fans excited to see him with a full year under his belt. While I believe his scoring potential sits around 35-40 points, his strong play in all three zones makes him that much more valuable as a steady third/fourth liner (if Vigneault even decides to go with a real fourth line). While it is hard to find a reason to lower Lindberg’s grade, especially under the circumstances he was dealt, he was still part of the Rangers team that underachieved. So on that…
Final Grade: A-