Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: D Ryan Lindgren

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Today we will take a look at a sleeper pick for the early rounds: defenseman Ryan Lindgren of the US National Team Development Program.

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Name: Ryan Lindgren

Position: Defense

Shoots: Left

Height, weight: 6’0”, 196 lbs

Team/League: U.S. National U18 Team, USDP

Stats (from 







*Program does not list +/- stats

NHL CSS Ranking: 49th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 1.5/5, 3/5

NHL-potential: Top-Four Defenseman 

Draft Range: Second to Third Round

Scouting report

"American born defender with good feet and a solid two way game. Not tall, but solidly built, he displays poise in his own end and smarts with, or without the puck. His four direction skating ability gives him an advantage as both a defender (who can handle one on ones and retrieve the quick dump-ins rapidly) and as an attacker (who can smartly read his options, and make astute decisions as a passer or carrier). A solid six footer who has a bit of an edge to go along with the top flight acceleration, nice vision, and an active stick when defending. He is good with the puck in the attack zone and has a good point shot. Very calm and decisive when on the ice, and always seems to make the smart play in all zones. Committed to the University of Minnesota.  (Bill Placzek,"


For some scouts, Ryan Lindgren might only be the third or even fourth-most promising defenseman of the USNTDP U18 squad this year. Chad Krys, Griffin Luce and Adam Fox could easily go off the board first. However, Lindgren is the highest-ranked USNTDP D-man on NHL Central Scouting’s final list, and I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see him go off the board before the other three.

The reason why Lindgren is ranked lower than fellow prospects like Krys is one of his strengths at the same time. Lindgren is not exactly a flashy player, and he is not the of “make something happen whenever I touch the puck” type. But he hardly ever makes mistakes, because he opts for the safe play to avoid turnovers as much as possible.

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That goes hand in hand with his hockey sense. Lindgren knows what is happening around him, he knows where his teammates are, and he knows what to do to get the puck out of the danger zone. He doesn’t take off to lead the rush, he doesn’t play the risky pass that could lead to a breakaway — he just makes sure the puck gets to a teammate and out of the defensive zone.

However, that does not mean he can’t skate with the puck or play exciting passes. Lindgren is an NHL-level skater with elite mobility, which helps him stay in position in the defensive zone or move the puck out of danger. In addition, Lindgren plays a good first pass and can distribute the puck in the offensive zone.

In the defensive zone, Lindgren profits from his hockey sense, skating, positioning and stick work. He won’t throw big hits, but he plays a great positional game and uses his body well.

Though his stats don’t necessarily show it, Lindgren also knows how to contribute offensively. As said before, he won’t make a huge, flashy play, but he’ll contribute the puck to his teammates or let a nice shot go.

All in all, Lindgren is a promising two-way defenseman, who has a high character and led Team USA as the captain for two straight years.


Lindgren is a safe player who doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, but that is not necessarily what clubs want with their high draft picks. Guys like Samuel Girard, Luke Green or Victor Mete might be a defensive liability at times, but their offensive upside is much higher, making them more interesting picks for some scouts and GMs. Lindgren can contribute offense, but he doesn’t have the same upside as other projected second-round picks.

Following the draft, Lindgren will join the University of Minnesota, which he committed to as a 14-year-old. Since then, he just hasn’t shown the big improvement scouts may have expected from him, which lowers his draft stock. How much more improvement does he have in him? What kind of player can he be on the NHL level?

Lindgren is a solid prospect, he just won’t wow you with plays that make you think he’ll be a top-pairing guy at the next level.

Final Thoughts

Because of the aforementioned lack of flashiness and offensive upside, Lindgren is ranked as a mid or low second-rounder by most scouting services. However, as we know, one team is all it takes, and I won’t be surprised if Lindgren is taken in the early second round. A low-risk, low-reward player, Lindgren is not the kind of player you build your defensive core around, but he is a nice addition to any given D-core.

With Andrey Pedan, Alex Biega, Nikita Tryamkin, Troy Stecher, Tate Olson and Guillaume Brisebois, the Vancouver Canucks have quite a few players of that kind in the system already. No matter whom they pick with the fifth-overall selection, they might prefer a potential game changer with their second or third pick — Mete, Girard, Green or Kale Clague come to mind.

Next: More 2016 NHL Draft Profiles

However, if Canucks GM Jim Benning just wants to get as many sure-fire NHL players out of the draft as possible, he might want to opt for Lindgren instead. Chances are that he’ll be gone in the early third round, because there should be at least one team that likes a low-risk player in the second round, but Vancouver could target him with their 33rd or a second second-round pick.

Why would they use an early second-round pick — so almost a first-rounder — on a defenseman that gets a reward rating of three from us? Well, a safe pick is never a bad thing. And if Lindgren surprisingly develops his offensive game more than expected, he could be a top-pairing player all of a sudden. A nice pick that can turn out to be a home run — can we call it a sleeper pick in the second round?