ST. PAUL, Minn. – Ryan Lindgren started alongside Adam Fox in 249 of the 266 career NHL games he played.
However, their defensive tandem dates back to their teenage years with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.
Although the Rangers as a team will have to adjust to life without Fox, their No. 1 defenseman, who will miss at least 10 games with a lower-body injury while on the bench long-term, no one will feel the cascading effects more than Lindgren.
“I’ve played with Foxy almost the whole time I’ve been here,” Lindgren told The Post before the Rangers lost 5-4 to the Wild in a shootout Saturday night. “I think that’s the good thing about preparing for the season. In moments like this you see us parting ways or them trying different things. I don’t know if I played any games [Erik Gustafsson], but I think it will be a good adaptation. I’ve seen him play and been on the road with him a few times.”
Although he did not play any friendly games with Gustafsson, Lindgren stood next to the Swedish defender on Saturday evening.
The Minnesota native has already recognized his tendency to jump in the rush and how gifted he is on offense – evidenced by his first goal, one of three for the Rangers in the period.
The biggest thing, Lindgren said, was that the two of them just communicated with each other.
Aside from all the games he has played alongside Fox since his recall in October 2019, Lindgren has appeared alongside Jacob Trouba five times, Braden Schneider three times, Zac Jones three times and Zac Jones once Libor Hajek’s website.
With Lindgren running alongside Gustafsson, the pairing of K’Andre Miller and Jacob Trouba remained intact.
As a result, Zac Jones was back on the bottom pair alongside Braden Schneider.
“We’re really trying to do as few moves as possible,” Laviolette said of rearranging the D pairs. “I think Gus has handled that situation, Lindy is a guy we count on to play big minutes and shut down teams. Foxy did a great job with him. However, due to the events of the last game, some action needs to be taken. Gus is an experienced defense attorney. He can skate, he can defend, he can make good plays from our end.
“So this is a starting point for them. We try not to move things too much, not to mix things up too much, and that’s where it lies.”
Blake Wheeler scored his first point as a Ranger with an assist on Gustafsson’s goal to make it 3-0 in the first period.
Without Fox and Filip Chytil, two power-play contributors, the Rangers had a slightly different look for their man-advantage units on Saturday.
Gustafsson replaced Fox on the top power play unit with Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Vincent Trocheck and Artemi Panarin. On PP2, K’Andre Miller and recently drafted Jonny Brodzinski joined Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Wheeler.
But there were only a few power play minutes left as the Rangers couldn’t take advantage of their only chance.
“He had a really good training camp,” Laviolette said of Brodzinski. “He stood out for his speed and his possession of the puck and what he could produce and create. Really optimistic, positive guy who’s off to a great start in Hartford. He was a clear name that was talked about when we talked about replacing a centerman. He was a really good player down there and so we’re just going to promote him, use him properly and give him a chance.
“He’s a right-hander and it’s a chance to help a power play unit. We’ll see what he can do there too.”