Ryan Lindgren went down last night with an lower body injury. He started the game but was seen heading to the locker room fairly gingerly about halfway through the game. Unfortunately, Lindgren has been one of the most solid defenders for the Rangers this season. Luckily, there is some help available at the position if he’s out for an extended period. The Rangers did note that he made the trip to St. Louis so he may play regardless.
This is the most likely option to replace Lindgren for however long he may be out. Lindgren started the season as an everyday defensemen for the Blueshirts. Despite his shaky play, he looked solid at times. Hajek has been out a while with an injury but seems about ready to return and was a full participant at practice today.
One of the things that the Rangers like about Smith is his versatility. This is one of those examples in which it could come in handy. Since Smith was originally a defenseman, they could easily shift him back to play on the back end. Smith has been pretty solid defensively this season and is a regular member of the penalty. This could be a simple option, but would result in Michael Haley taking his forward spot most likely. That would be a weak fourth line.
This would be an intriguing name. Rykov, since returning from injury, has been a very solid two-way defenseman down in Hartford. He has recorded a nice amount of points and has been pretty sound in other areas of his game. The Rangers are definitely going to want to take a look at Rykov at some point. This could be a good time to do so, however they likely would’ve already made the call up.
Keane is another guy who fill the void. Similar to Rykov though, he probably would’ve been recalled by now. Keane has had a great season down in Hartford and was named to the All-Star team. He looks like he has some good NHL potential and he also deserves a look by the Rangers. Personally, this is who I would love to see up with the big club and I think Hajek could use some more seasoning down in the AHL.
Note: Yes, Lindgren is a left-handed defenseman and I have some right-handed players on this list. I don’t buy into the notion that defensemen can ONLY play on the side of their handedness. There are plenty of defensemen who play on the opposite side with success.