The New York Rangers dropped some unexpected news today that has major implications for the roster next season.
This news was a bit of a shock as the organization was very quiet about Lindberg’s status for the last few weeks. Although Lindberg played 68 games this season and was an offensive threat at the beginning of the year, his performance waned through mid-season, and towards the end of the year Lindberg was often AV’s choice for the healthy scratch slot. Lindberg’s injury, which will sideline him for six months, will likely keep him out of games until November or December. This leaves 3 months of regular season hockey to be played without Oscar. Most teams who reside in a playoff position during the Holiday break often go on to remain in that playoff spot come April. That fact makes this injury a tougher pill to swallow.
You can look at this injury in three ways. 1) This injury takes away a potential player who could have been packaged in a deal before the draft, 2) This takes away a player that could have contributed to the bottom six forwards on the roster, or 3) this gives the opportunity for other players to be called up and prove they deserve to stay in the NHL.
In the wake of an offseason where management has been stating that the “core” needs a shake up, I’d venture to say that almost anyone is in the discussion for being traded. Oscar Lindberg is no exception. This injury removes another mid-tier prospect, with some NHL experience, from the trade block. With rumors of a Girardi or Nash trade, Lindberg could have been a bargaining chip to push a team into a deal. That potential chip has now been lost, making a big move deal more difficult.
Most reasonably the injury removes a valuable player, who played in a majority of NHL games this year, from our current roster. Losing a player who can play the PK and fill big minutes on the bottom six, is never a good thing. Thoughts of burying Tanner Glass in the AHL or even trading him now have to be seriously questioned. With AV’s loyalty to Glass, it wasn’t likely either of those options were a reality, but here’s to wishful thinking.
I like to be optimistic about the situation. This gives our other younger players an opportunity to be recalled and fill the void. In the limited time Marek Hrivik and Jayson Megna had in the NHL this year, there were very impressive. During training camp there will be many eyes on these two players to decide which, if either one at all, will be able to fill the roster spot on Opening Night. Hopefully, someone will rise to the occasion and be able to inject youth, energy and skill into a lineup that has seemed to lost its speed and edge recently.
I wish Oscar a speedy recovery and a quick return to NHL ice. However, in the meantime, we need not get bogged down over this injury. Who knows what an off-season “retool” will bring us, and who knows what kind of production can come from our AHL system this coming fall. No matter what, the Rangers will again compete for a playoff spot this upcoming year.