Shortly after releasing news that prospects Morgan Barron and Tarmo Reunanen had been recalled for the Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers announced some significant injury news. Brett Howden has been shut down for the year with a broken foot and Chris Kreider and Ryan Lindgren are both missing practice and are considered day-to-day.
INJURY UPDATES:— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) April 30, 2021
-Chris Kreider (lower body) and Ryan Lindgren (upper body) are both not practicing today and are out day to day.
-Brett Howden suffered a fractured foot last night and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
As of last night, veteran defenseman Jacob Trouba was also listed as day-to-day but is expected to return before the close of the season. He was not in the lineup for the Rangers’ 4-0 loss at the hands of the New York Islanders. Lindgren skated 14:44 against the Islanders — markedly lower than his 20:00 TOI/GP average this year — and Kreider was considered to be a game-time decision but didn’t dress.
The holes punched into the lineup by these injuries is obviously dreadful news for the Rangers’ rapidly evaporating chances of making the playoffs but it does present an opportunity for youngsters to step into bigger roles. Through his first five games of NHL hockey, rookie defenseman Zac Jones has averaged just 11:43 TOI/GP and in 15 games with the Rangers rookie forward Vitali Kravtsov has averaged 11:33 TOI/GP.
Although nothing is certain, there is a chance that we’ve seen Brett Howden play his last game as a Ranger. The expansion draft is around the corner and it is hard to imagine that Howden, who turned 23 towards the end of March, has done enough to prove he belongs in New York as part of an emerging core of youngsters. He has scored 49 points in 178 games with the Rangers across three seasons and is a pending restricted free agent.
Howden will finish the 2021 season with one goal, six assists, and 11 PIM in 42 games.