After a rocky year in Laval, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Charlie Lindgren will have a chance to redeem himself over the summer. He was invited to join the Team USA for the IIHF World Championships and has accepted the invitation.
Team USA Sees Potential in Lindgren
During the IIHF world championships, the US Team is normally looking for young players who they see potential in rather than NHL stars. Some of the notable goaltenders that had played for Team USA in recent years is Keith Kinkaid and Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck was named a finalist for the Vezina this year and Kinkaid had a solid year filling in while Cory Schneider was hurt for the Devils.
This will be Lindgren’s first International competition in his young career. This will be a chance for Lindgren to be able to play against some of the young competition and continue to work on his game and be ready for next season.
Charlie Lindgren’s Future
This year was an up and down year for Lindgren. When he was first called up this year he won his first four starts which made him the first Canadiens goalie since Wayne Thomas to win his first five career starts.
In 37 games with Laval this year, Lindgren went 8-19-2 with 3.39 GAA and sub.900 SV percentage. During his three-year NHL career, He is 7-8-2 with a 2.78 GAA and a .914 SV percentage in 17 career games with the Habs. He also has two career shutouts. He had a 2.97 GSAA and 0.84DSv% this year with the Habs. Delta save percentage is the difference between a goaltender’s actual and expected save percentage.
During the year Montreal signed Lindgren to a 3-year, 1-way contract for next season. This shows that the Habs have confidence in him moving forward. It is very likely to see Lindgren as the full-time back-up next year.
Ben Kerr had this to say about Lindgren in his Top Shelf Prospects article last year. “At 6’2″ Lindgren has good size in net. He makes the most of his size by coming out of the net to cut down his angles and challenge shooters. Lindgren is a quick skater and his strong legs allow him to retreat when necessary. This makes him hard to beat on dekes. He also has a good push and gets from post-to-post quickly on cross-ice plays. He takes away the bottom of the net effectively with quick pads and a well-refined butterfly. Lindgren also has a good blocker and quick glove on high shots. He has worked to improve his rebound control, though it could still be improved further”.
Why Are His NHL numbers better than his AHL Numbers?
One stat that stands out is the comparison between his NHL numbers and AHL Numbers. One big factor that could be playing into this is the job of Canadiens Goaltending coach Stephane Waite. Waite has been praised for his work and the number of improvement goaltenders who have worked with him has had. He was the Chicago Blackhawks goaltending coach when they won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2013.
One of the main reasons Lindgren’s numbers were so bad in Laval is because the defense was terrible. They had the worse penalty killing stats in the league at 77.5% and allowed a league-high 74 Powerplay goals. At even strength, they were just as bad giving up 186 goals. They also had a terrible coaching staff which is in the process of being re-build after Sylvain Lefebvre was fired.
Having Lindgren has a back-up puts him in a role where he has shown he can perform and has time to develop. The Habs have Carey Price locked up for the next few years which gives Lindgren plenty of time to develop.
Could Lindgren Lighten Price’s Work-Load?
Over the past few seasons, Habs fans have seen Price get hurt more than they would like. It was also announced that Price had Chronic Fatigue Disorder which could be why he was struggling. They are a lot of benefits that Lindgren could bring to the Habs. Price would have a young, solid back-up for the first time since Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski.
It’s without question that knowing Price’s history they aren’t going to want to overload him with work. This could give Lindgren a chance to show Montreal that he can be a solid NHL back-up.
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