Kraken Should Pursue Charlie Lindgren in Free Agency

The Seattle Kraken are in an interesting spot when it comes to their goaltending. They have two goalies locked into contracts for at least the next two years, and a prospect knocking on the door waiting for his chance. Nonetheless, we’re going to look at another goalie the Kraken front office should be targeting: Charlie Lindgren, a 28-year-old pending unrestricted free agent (UFA) in the St. Louis Blues organization.

Charlie Lindgren St. Louis Blues
Charlie Lindgren, St. Louis Blues goaltender (Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)

There’s definitely an argument to be made against signing another goalie who could arguably be an NHL backup if given the chance. However, between scoring being up in the NHL this season and teams getting bitten by the injury bug, it doesn’t hurt to have multiple serviceable goalies who will have to outplay each other for that particular assignment.

Lindgren’s Blues have used five goalies this season, while the Arizona Coyotes have used six and the New Jersey Devils seven. The Kraken have used just three, but despite strong play in the American Hockey League (AHL), their call-ups have struggled in the NHL. With all that said, let’s make a case.

Charlie Lindgren’s Hockey Career Thus Far

Lindgren played two seasons in the United States Hockey League (USHL) with the Sioux Falls Stampede and followed that by spending three years playing college hockey with St. Cloud State. Despite his numbers improving each year, he was never drafted. In his third year with St. Cloud, he won 30 games with five shutouts and held a 2.13 goals-against average (GAA) and .925 save percentage (SV%). The Montreal Canadiens signed him and he won his NHL debut that year, which was his only professional game that season.

Charlie Lindgren goaltender Montreal Canadiens
CHICAGO, IL – NOVEMBER 05: Charlie Lindgren with the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

He’s bounced between the NHL and AHL in the years since. In 24 starts with the Canadiens over parts of five seasons, he won 10 games with a 3.00 GAA and .907 SV%. This season for the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, he’s played in 31 games and is 22-6-1 with a shutout, a 2.33 GAA and a .921 SV%.

However, his play with the Blues this season is what should be catching the Kraken’s eyes. He played in five games, starting four, and came out with five wins. His 1.22 GAA and .958 SV% came with two wins over the Dallas Stars, who are fighting for a playoff berth, and included helping secure an overtime win over the Florida Panthers in 6:25 of ice, relieving Ville Husso following an injury.

Kraken Goalie Situation as the Season Winds Down

As it stands, the Kraken have starting goalie Philipp Grubauer signed through the 2026-27 season with a no-trade clause (NTC) for the first three years, then a modified-no trade clause (M-NTC) for the final three. Backing him up has been Chris Driedger, signed through the 2023-24 season, with an M-NTC for the whole contract. Antoine Bibeau has bounced between the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers and ECHL’s Allen Americans, while Joey Daccord has mostly played in the AHL with the Checkers.

Let’s start with the two guys leading the way in the NHL. Grubauer has played in 53 games and struggled to an 18-29-5 record with a 3.09 GAA and a .891 SV%; he also has the team’s only two shutouts. Driedger has won eight games and played 24. His 3.05 GAA and .897 SV% are better, but not good enough by any means. Regardless, it looks like they’ll be the duo for the foreseeable future, despite some Driedger trade rumors to the contrary.

Chris Driedger Seattle Kraken
Chris Driedger, Seattle Kraken goaltender (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Bibeau is a UFA at the end of the season and it wouldn’t be surprising to see general manager Ron Francis not offer him an extension. While he has a .923 SV% in 14 ECHL games, he doesn’t look to be in the team’s plans and would probably want to find a place where he’d get more of an opportunity. Daccord, on the other hand, is on a good run to finish the year in the AHL, where he was named March’s AHL Goaltender of the Month

Related: Kraken Prospect Report: Lind, Daccord, Beniers & More

He went 6-1 in seven games with a 1.55 GAA and .956 SV% in March. Overall, he was 0-3-0 in four NHL games with a 4.12 GAA and a .858 SV% for the Kraken. In the AHL, he is 18-11-2 in 33 games with a 2.33 GAA and .924 SV%. As it stands, he’s the team’s top goalie prospect; especially with Semyon Vyazovoy still a ways away. 

Where Lindgren Would Fit With the Kraken

Barring any trades, Grubauer and Driedger will be the Kraken’s starters come the 2022-23 season. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place in the deep for Lindgren to make a home. He’s still a seasoned professional goaltender, relative to the less experienced Daccord. He was playing professionally by the time Daccord started his college career as an Arizona State Sun Devil. 

He could be a competent option if one of the aforementioned NHL goaltenders were to fall to the injury bug, but his purpose serves deeper than injury call-ups, as he could be a great motivational tool for Daccord. There’s really no other goalie in the organization that Daccord has had to compete with. As previously mentioned, Bibeau hasn’t been a factor all season and likely won’t be a Kraken next year. Having to compete for that call-up role could lead Daccord to elevate his play.

Joey Daccord Seattle Kraken
Seattle Kraken goaltender, Joey Daccord (Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

When it comes to Lindgren, he could be entering a Coachella Valley Firebirds team in their inaugural season. What better time to start fresh? Aside from having Jordan Binnington and Husso ahead of him with the Blues, Joel Hofer is in the running for the heir apparent and has played in more games for the Thunderbirds through this year. He just doesn’t have a place to advance his career with the Blues.

Related: 5 Pending UFAs Kraken Fans Should Watch in the 2022 Playoffs

At this point, it’s unknown whether or not the Blues will look to extend Lindgren, or if he’d opt to test free agency. Either way, the Kraken should look to bring him aboard this offseason. He brings experience, has had a great year at both the NHL and AHL levels thus far, and could help Daccord in his own development while being a dependable third-goalie if needed.

Sign up for our regular 'Kraken Newsletter' for all the latest.