The New York Rangers may have made a trade earlier today, swapping Cole Schneider for Connor Brickley with the Nashville Predators, but their latest move – a simple call-up – will likely have far more impact on the team. The Rangers have announced that they have recalled defenseman Ryan Lindgren from the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. It is the first recall for Lindgren, who is considered New York’s most pro-ready defensive prospect and should yield immediate returns on the blue line.
Lindgren, 20, is in his first season with the Rangers organization after being acquired late last season from the Boston Bruins. Lindgren was the centerpiece of the package offered by the Bruins in exchange for Rick Nash, which also included Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, and a 2018 first-round pick. Even after using the Bruins pick in a trade to move up and draft defenseman K’Andre Miller and then using another first-rounder on defenseman Nils Lundkvist, Lindgren has still remained the rearguard prospect with the most hype for the Rangers given his mature, well-rounded game and potential impact in the short term.
Originally a second-round pick by Boston in 2016, Lindgren was a standout in the U.S. National Development program before moving on to join his hometown University of Minnesota for the past two years. During that time, Lindgren also starred on two different United States entries at the World Junior Championship. This season, Lindgren has already earned a top-four role with the Wolf Pack and is one of the top AHL rookie defenseman in many defensive categories. While Lindgren’s offensive contributions have been pedestrian at every level, the true hallmarks of his game are his physicality and defensive ability. It would be a mistake to look at the low point totals and see Lindgren as only a stay-at-home defenseman, as the first year pro sees the ice well and is a strong skater who is more than capable of moving the puck. However, where he is destined to excel as an NHLer is with his checking game, his work on the penalty kill, his ability to win battles and shut down the opposition, and the hockey IQ needed to make smart zone exit plays. The Rangers, who hold the fifth-worst goals against per game in the NHL this season, need a long-term solution on the blue line for their oft-sloppy play and a sound defender like Lindgren will be given every chance to be that guy, down the stretch this season and moving forward.