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2021 Report Card: Ryan Lindgren

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Lindgren is tough as nails, and a fine top-four defender for the Rangers.

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

Expectations

Ryan Lindgren finished his first full season as a member of the New York Rangers in 2019-20 appearing in 60 games, averaging 16:34 a game, and according to Evolving Hockey he was worth 9.1 Goals Above Replacement which was fifth overall on the team. It was a strong year for Lindgren, and the hope at the time was that it wasn’t a fluke, and something that could continue into the future.

Performance

Lindgren was a horse for the Rangers this past season that averaged 20:00 a night primarily alongside Adam Fox.

It was another strong year statistically, as Lindgren finished with 8.2 GAR, which equates to 0.485 per 60, which was a slight decline from the 0.552 he averaged the year prior. Some of that is because his offensive metrics declined, but that’s not too important given the role he is going to play going forward.

It is notable though that his EVD GAR (even-strength defense) per 60 increased from 0.079 in 19-20 to 0.325 in 20-21. His overall DEF GAR also increased from 0.105 to 0.293 which is another huge leap. The one decline of note was SHD (short-handed defense) and his GAR per 60 went from 0.282 to 0.068. However, Lindgren’s GA/60 while shorthanded went from 7.26 to 4.42 which was a key improvement.

In terms of fancy stats, Lindgren finished 6th among regulars with a Goals For Percentage of 57.37 at 5v5, 2nd in Corsi For Percentage (51.51), and 3rd in Expected Goals For Percentage (54.74). Lindgren certainly benefited riding shotgun with Fox, but in many ways he was a perfect complementary player. It was a small sample size, but worth pointing out that when Lindgren missed the final five games of the season Fox was kept off the scoresheet.

In stats you won’t find on Evolving Hockey, Lindgren led the team in blood drawn per 60.

If this hockey thing doesn’t work out, I think it will, Lindgren could be the next high profile free agent to join AEW, and his ability to wear a crimson mask and keep competing will enable him to fit in just fine.

In terms of visuals, here’s a look at Lindgren’s end of year player card from Evolving Hockey which sums up who he was as a near elite defensive player that had below average offensive contributions.

Lindgren did have some moments where he found the back of the net, and it was fun to see his reactions each time.

He also got attention for taking the body, with his most notable hit of the year being one delivered to Alex Ovechkin.

This was the start of a feud with Ovi, and one I am sure will continue into the upcoming season.

With all this in mind, what grade does Lindgren get?

Grade: A | Banter Consensus: A

Lindgren really has improved his stock as a player, and has been a welcome surprise for the Rangers. He was acquired in the Rick Nash trade, and at the time it was thought that he’d be a decent third-pair defender that was solid for the Rangers. Up to that point in time, the defining part of his game was the ability to lay opponents out with physicality.

Lindgren still possesses this ability, but he’s doing more in addition to that. I don’t think anyone expected Lindgren to move the needle as much as he has, and he deserves credit for how he’s performed.

Defensively he’s the perfect partner for Fox, and he adds some nice stability to the Rangers’ left side which is starting to take shape after a couple of years of havoc following the trade of Ryan McDonagh. Overall, Lindgren has established himself as a fixture in the top-four for the Rangers, and fresh off a three-year contract extension worth $3 million a year, he’s likely to continue playing on the top pair with Fox, hopefully at an extremely high level of efficiency.

Stats via Evolving-Hockey, Hockey Viz, Hockey-Reference, and Elite Prospects unless otherwise noted.