On the eve of the Big Ten Hockey Tournament, a sizeable hole has appeared in the Gophers’ defense corps. Freshman blueliner Ryan Lindgren will not be part of UM’s playoff package. University officials have revealed that Lindgren, who was injured late in Saturday’s 1-1 tie with Michigan State, sustained a “lower leg injury”. He is out for the season.
Head Coach Don Lucia said Lindgren will have surgery later this week. He is expected to make a full recovery.
“Ryan was having a really great year for us as a freshman, and you hate to see such a promising season end this way,” Lucia said. “It’s tough to lose him for the postseason, but we have a great medical team here at the University of Minnesota, and we know we’ll have him back soon.”
Lindgren crashed into the end boards at Mariucci Arena in the third period of the game, which was the last of the 2016-17 regular season. As viewers on Fox Sports North Plus saw, a check sent him to the ice and he struck the boards while sliding on his back with his feet and legs raised.
Immediately, Lindgren rolled onto his stomach and pounded the ice in pain. No penalty was called.
The injury deprives Minnesota of a player whom FSN hockey color commentator Ben Clymer has called the key player on the team’s defense. His loss deprives the Gophers of their second-best shot blocker (50, second only to Jake Bischoff’s 85), and a +9 player. He had skated in 32 games.
Lindgren, a second round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2016, played three seasons at Shattuck before joining the US Under 18 Team, which he captained to multiple medals in world championship play. He comes from a hockey family: His father, Bob, was a goalie at Michigan while brother Charlie, who skated at St. Cloud State, plays in the Montreal Canadiens organization.
DOUG McLEOD is a five-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports and a longtime voice of Division I and NHL hockey. This is his 21stseason calling Golden Gopher hockey games.