New York Rangers Neal Pionk And Fredrik Claesson Out With Injury

Neal Pionk

The New York Rangers announced that both defencemen Neal Pionk and Fredrik Claesson are sidelined for at least until after the All-Star break with injuries.

Neal Pionk And Fredrik Claesson Injured

Both injuries occurred during Sunday nights game against the Columbus Blue Jackets which resulted in a humiliating 7-5 defeat.

Although Claessons’ shoulder injury may require further treatment, the loss of two defencemen will hit hard for an already struggling team.

So far this season, Pionk has been an asset for the Rangers, who has scored five goals and 15 assists for 20 points to go along with 24 minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 42.6 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of -4.0.

Over his short two-year NHL career, the young defencemen has played solely for the Rangers. Joining undrafted from the Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC), he has six goals and 28 assists for 34 career points in 70 career games.

Unlike Pionk, Claesson struggles to get game time, with 24 games this season. The 26-year-old has only scored two goals and three assists for five points to go along with nine minutes in penalties. His possession numbers were 47.6 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 3.5.

Over his four-year NHL career, Claesson has played for the Ottawa Senators and the Rangers. He has six goals and 19 assists for 25 career points in 139 career games. He was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round, 126 overall in the 2011 NHL draft.

What This Means for the Future

Despite a promising start, the Rangers play has hit a downward spiral. Among other issues, the defense has been a frustrating problem for some time now. Commencing their “rebuild” plan this season seen the team lose prominent leadership in defense in Ryan McDonagh.

The loss of rising star Neal Poink, who was their current defensive leading scorer, is just another blow for the Rangers who have lost six out of their last seven games. And with the potential loss of Claesson longer-term, it limits Rangers options, and puts added pressure on Anthony DeAngelo and Brendan Smith, who are unreliable at best.

The Rangers play the Carolina Hurricanes tonight and will see defencemen Ryan Lindgren NHL debut. It is likely the young prospect will take advantage of these injuries.

COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 13: Neal Pionk #44 of the New York Rangers controls the puck during the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on January 13, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)