Who Can The Rangers Get To Replace Oscar Lindberg?

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The hockey world was fixed on Las Vegas Wednesday night when the Golden Knights inaugural roster was announced at the NHL Awards show. Just as there were no surprises on who the New York Rangers would protect and not protect, it was no surprise who the Vegas Golden Knights chose from the New York Rangers. There were a few names that made sense for the Knights to select from including Michael Grabner, Anti Raanta, Jesper Fast and Oscar Lindberg. Vegas went for a sensible option choosing the young Oscar Lindberg.

Lindberg is only 25 years old and is a developing forward who skates well and plays hard in all three zones. Lindberg has a bright future and will definitely be valuable in the sheath of the Golden Knights. Losing the young forward, who jumped out of the gates this year and in the postseason, will be a tough loss for the Blueshirts. However, Lindberg is a fourth line center that is replaceable and losing the Swede was the best case scenario for the Rangers.

So which players can the Rangers potentially bring in to replace Lindberg during free agency? Here are a few options.

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Sam Gagner

The Columbus Blue Jacket is a definite possibility for the New York Rangers. He is only 27-years-old and had a career season last year with 18 goals and 50 points. His young age is a clear positive for the center and he made only $650,000 this past season. The only negative to the possible Lindberg replacement is that Gagner could be an expensive choice after his breakout season with Columbus, and would most likely request a raise. Gagner gets over 50% of his shots on net, so he is always a threat on the ice. In addition, when the forward was on the ice this past season, the Jackets possessed the puck a lot more efficiently. His puck handling skills are the most efficient out of other centers in free agency. The 27-year-old can control the play on the ice and starts most of his shifts in the offensive zone, proving he is a player with a lot of depth and potential. Furthermore, he has the speed the New York Rangers need in their system of play and he possesses a right-handed shot, which is another advantage. The centerman is coming from one of the best power-play teams in the league, an area where the New York Rangers struggle.

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Nick Bonino

Wouldn’t it be fun to have a past Pittsburgh Penguin wearing red, white and blue in the Big Apple? I think so. Unlike Gagner, Bonino is an experienced player coming off of two straight Stanley Cup Championships, and his postseason experience alone would be an asset to the Rangers. Bonino is a second or third line center that has proved himself on the big stage. He was especially important in the Penguins 2016 cup run, centering the HBK line with Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel. And at 29 years old is a solid 30 point or more player.

Aside from his depth scoring, the penalty kill and faceoff circle is where he is the most valuable. He won 52.3 percent of his faceoffs last season and helped the Penguins kill 83.6 percent of their penalties during the playoffs. Rangers fans know the Blueshirts could use a solid center in the faceoff circle.

The one downside to Bonino, however, is that he could be an expensive option. His contract with the Penguins was $5.7 million over 3 years and he will definitely be looking for a raise.

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Derek Ryan

The Carolina Hurricane is another option for the Rangers at center and is the more inexpensive option. He is 30 years old and wouldn’t cost as much as Gagner or Bonino, so this could be a definite possibility for the Blueshirts. He is another player that had a breakout season in the 2016-17 season with 11 goals and 18 assists in 67 games. He doesn’t have the size for a third-line center, but he does have the offensive skill, as well as the ability to win faceoffs, which he did at a rate of 55.3%. Ryan isn’t as dominant as Gagner with regard to possession but still posted good numbers last season with CF and FF% still over 50%. The numbers suggest he could be a potential third-line center, but there is still room to grow. I still believe Ryan is a potential replacement for Oscar Lindberg who was only a fourth-line player for the New York Rangers.

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