Oscar Lindberg, the 25-year-old center who has the potential to be a second- or third-line pivot, is no longer a Ranger.
The Vegas Golden Knights selected Lindberg, a restricted free agent, in Wednesday’s expansion draft, according to two NHL sources.
By selecting the Swede, the Rangers retain all the other players who were not on the protected list submitted on Sunday, including goaltender Antti Raanta; forward Michael Grabner, who scored 27 goals last season; and right wing Jesper Fast. So the Rangers do not have to search for a backup for Henrik Lundqvist.
Lindberg, who was drafted by Phoenix in the second round in 2010, was acquired by the Rangers in May 2011 for Ethan Werek. He played two seasons in Hartford and two full seasons with the Rangers (134 games, 21 goals, 48 points). He did have a strong playoff performance this spring, with three goals and an assist in 12 games.
The Rangers have some options at center. They currently have Derek Stepan, Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes in the middle and could pursue another center via trade or free agency, or move J.T. Miller from wing to center, although coach Alain Vigneault has preferred Miller on the flank.
The trade freeze ends Thursday morning, and the draft begins on Friday night in Chicago, with the Rangers selecting 21st.
Rangers open at home vs. Colorado. The Rangers will host the Colorado Avalanche in their 2017-18 home opener on Thursday, Oct. 5, the league announced. The rest of the regular-season schedule will be released Thursday.