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Rangers Risk Repeat of Girardi Situation with a Lindgren Extension

Ryan Lindgren New York Rangers

“A warrior.”

“Tough as nails.”

“Our heart and soul.”

“The ultimate teammate.”

Present platitudes such as the above to any New York Rangers fan and ask him/her who on the roster comes to mind first. Ryan Lindgren would almost certainly be the most-named player in that hypothetical poll.

All of these descriptions do indeed fit the Blueshirts defenseman to a T. Pain is the norm for Lindgren, the fifth-year player and consistent left-side partner to Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox, yet he almost always bounces up off the ice and back out of the locker room after being banged up and bloodied. Lindgren’s ability to quickly resume his role as the club’s grittiest presence after getting knocked around stamps him as an NHL throwback, if there ever was one.

Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Lindgren is as tough as they come. There’s little doubt that his perseverance and refusal to let bumps, bruises, cuts and worse keep him from performing for his team serves as a source of inspiration for the Rangers, who see someone who provides total commitment night after night.

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In this determined, salt-of-the-earth player, however, the organization is in danger of going down the same road it took a decade ago – to results that bordered on disastrous.

Lindgren and Girardi Come With Near-Identical Long-Term Risks

The player parallel, though not perfect, appears obvious. Dan Girardi was Lindgren before Lindgren, sacrificing his body unthinkingly to block shots, to battle in the dirty areas along the walls and in front of the net, to give and absorb hits to and from bigger players. With the same high pain tolerance as Lindgren, Girardi played three games of the 2015 Eastern Conference Final with a Grade 1 MCL sprain and answered the bell countless times to be there for his team, playing 80 or more games seven times.

The hockey DNA of the two players is nearly identical. Both were somewhat undersized and overlooked prospects, Girardi going undrafted in 2003 before signing with the Rangers off a training-camp invite in 2005, Lindgren being a second-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2016 who was viewed as little more than a depth player and was considered a throw-in to the Rick Nash deadline trade in 2018.

Dan Girardi
Former Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Both players overcame perceptions about their potential with heart and determination, characteristics that can’t be measured by the cold analytical approach to…

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