The Montreal Canadiens have come to terms on a three-year, $2.25 million contract extension for goaltender Charlie Lindgren. The contract will pay Lindgren an annual salary of $750,000 and will kick in for the 2018-19 season. The contract is also a one-way deal for the duration of the contract
Lindgren played in eight games with the Canadiens this season, posting a 3-4-1 record with a 2.43 goals against average. While those totals may not jump off the page, Lindgren did post a quality .924 save percentage which may have been more indicative of his work. In 11 career NHL games, all with the Canadiens, Lindgren has posted a 6-4-1 record with an impressive 2.21 goals-against average and .929 save percentage.
Undrafted Start for Lindgren
An undrafted goaltender, Lindgren originally signed with the Canadiens in 2015 following an impressive three-year run at St. Cloud State. In his first season at St. Cloud, Lindgren went 2-2-1 in 10 games with a 2.42 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. He found his footing in his second season, however, compiling a record of 19-18-1 with a respectable 2.26 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. His final year at St. Cloud State may have gotten him the recognition he needed to be signed to an NHL year, however.
Playing in 40 games in 2015-16, Lindgren had a sterling 30-9-1 record with a 2.13 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. It was enough to see Lindgren sign with the Canadiens and even get a game with the team’s big club down the stretch. While Lindgren won that game, allowing only two goals and making 26 saves while also posting an impressive 2-0 record with a 1.48 goals against average and .949 save percentage the following year, he spent most of his 2016-17 season in the AHL with the St. John’s IceCaps.
In 48 games with the IceCaps, Lindgren went 24-18-1 with a 2.56 goals agast average and a .914 save percentage. Unfortunately for the young netminder, his totals this season with the Laval Rocket following his eight-game NHL stint have been less than impressive. In 28 games, Lindgren has compiled a 7-13-1 record with a 3.15 goals against average and a .893 save percentage. It’s been a trying year for the young netminder, but the Canadiens have rewarded him for his efforts and are keeping him under contract for at least another three years as a result.
The Canadiens’ Found Their Backup
It isn’t uncommon for a goaltender to take more time to develop than young players at other positions. At 24 years old, Lindgren has a lot of time to learn and develop before the Habs have to even consider making him a starter. Carey Price’s eight-year, $84 million contract, complete with a full no-movement clause in every year of the deal, also makes Lindgren’s development timeline less of a concern for the Canadiens who are likely heading to a rebuild in the near future.
In the end, Lindgren is a young goalie who has a lot of time to develop into what could be a starting-caliber netminder one day. For the Canadiens, this deal comes with little-to-no risk and provides insurance for Price, who is prone to injuries. The deal also likely entails that Lindgren will be the Canadiens full-time backup next season with Antti Niemi’s deal expiring at the end of this season.