In recent seasons, the New York Rangers have maintained a largely consistent core, despite occasional roster changes and deadline acquisitions. However, this offseason may mark a departure from this stability.

The decision to place alternate captain Barclay Goodrow on waivers signals that general manager Chris Drury is looking to make significant changes rather than sticking with the status quo. If further shake-ups are indeed on the horizon, it could mean the departure of one, possibly two, key figures from the Rangers’ defense.

Jacob Trouba and Ryan Lindgren find themselves in contrasting situations heading into the offseason, each coming off their least impressive seasons in a Rangers jersey.

Trouba’s performance included a minus-4 rating over 69 games, with 22 points marking his lowest output since joining the team, apart from his abbreviated 2020-21 campaign. Despite a promising start, Trouba’s form declined as the season progressed, exacerbated by an ankle injury in March that marred his overall performance.


NHL: Arizona Coyotes at New York Rangers


His regular season metrics were particularly disappointing, with a dismal -5.3 goals above replacement, placing him near the bottom among NHL defensemen. Trouba’s struggles persisted into the postseason, where he led the team in penalty minutes.

Lindgren’s statistics present a more nuanced picture. Leading the team with a plus-22 rating over 76 games, he appeared to stay relatively healthy throughout the season. However, deeper metrics indicate a decline in defensive effectiveness, placing him in the 20th percentile compared to league averages—his first time finishing below par in this regard. Despite playing every postseason game, Lindgren endured physical setbacks, such as sustaining a cracked rib during Game 6 of the second round, underscoring the toll taken on his body throughout the campaign.

They are both respected leaders and athletes. However, each’s future in New York is not quite certain.

Rangers could move on from Ryan Lindgren, Jacob Trouba this offseason

The New York Rangers’ defensive corps faces scrutiny following a challenging Eastern Conference Final against the Florida Panthers, where their ability to move the puck effectively was exposed under pressure.

Ryan Lindgren is known for his defensive prowess, while Jacob Trouba offers more offensive capabilities and a powerful shot, both excelling on the penalty kill. However, neither is renowned for exceptional puck-moving skills.

Their contractual situations differ: Lindgren is a restricted free agent, while Trouba has two years left on his substantial $8 million average annual value (AAV) contract. Despite these distinctions, the likelihood of neither returning to the team seems more plausible now than a week ago.

Lindgren’s timing for his worst defensive season couldn’t have been worse. Previously considered indispensable due to his physical defensive style and his partnership with Adam Fox, concerns about his injury-prone playstyle complicate potential contract negotiations, even if he seeks a modest raise on his current $3 million AAV.


NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils


At 26, Lindgren could aim for a lucrative long-term deal, becoming an unrestricted free agent after the 2024-25 season. This desire for a bigger contract could create friction in negotiations with the Rangers.

Parting with Trouba presents additional challenges due to his hefty contract and leadership role, including a stint as captain. Despite accolades like the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award, his on-ice performance has fallen short of expectations, potentially relegating him to a lesser role in the future.

While trading Trouba is complex, recent NHL trades suggest avenues for such moves, albeit possibly requiring salary retention by the Rangers. Alternatively, a buyout might be considered to free up cap space, albeit with lingering dead cap implications.

The Rangers’ decision to waive Barclay Goodrow underscores their readiness for change and willingness to part with established players. This atmosphere of transition could extend to both Lindgren, a mainstay for six seasons, and Trouba, with five seasons under his belt, as the team navigates upcoming contract extensions and the narrowing window of opportunity for their current core.

Despite their contributions to the team’s post-rebuild success and emergence as Stanley Cup contenders, uncertainties surrounding Lindgren and Trouba’s futures reflect the Rangers’ evolving priorities and strategic decisions heading into a pivotal offseason.

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