Rangers’ use of Nils Lundkvist, Libor Hajek is baffling

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I’m not sure I understand what the Rangers are doing with Nils Lundkvist, Libor Hajek, Patrik Nemeth, Jarred Tinordi and Zac Jones, which essentially means I don’t get how management and the coaching staff are dealing with the club’s third pair options. Let’s take a look at the biggest conundrums:

• Last week I pointed out that head coach Gerard Gallant (and assistant coach Gord Murphy) had taken to sitting Lundkvist over the final 10-12 minutes of games in which the Blueshirts were protecting leads. The 21-year-old Swede got two shifts over the final 12:01 against Florida on Nov. 8; two shifts over the final 11:57 in Columbus on Nov. 13; two shifts over the final 11:22 plus overtime against the Devils on Nov. 14; and two shifts over the final 12:07 against Montreal on Nov. 16.

That made sense. Defending is not quite Lundkvist’s forte at this stage of his evolution. And Gallant from the outset indicated that he believes physicality to be an important ingredient. That is one that Lundkvist lacks. Hence, the construction of the Jacob Trouba-Nemeth pair that operates as the second defensive tandem down the stretch behind the Ryan Lindgren-Adam Fox duo.



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