Why the Charlie Lindgren Signing Was Important for Montreal

The Montreal Canadiens’ goaltending depth received a boost with the signing of Charlie Lindgren out of St. Cloud State last Wednesday. With Carey Price’s injury, the other goalies in the organization were quickly pushed into bigger roles with mixed results. Adding another goalie gives the organization more balance, and more importantly, it creates more competition for everyone else.

Who is Charlie Lindgren?

Assuming Price is healthy come September, Mike Condon has the inside track to be the backup. He was pushed into the starting role where he has had his moments, but in reality he isn’t a starter at the NHL level. In fairness, it was a very tough scenario for Condon to be in, replacing the best goalie in the world, who also happens to be too heavily relied upon to win games. Despite Condon having the edge, Montreal could also pursue a more veteran backup who is more effective in playing a smaller role.

As for Lindgren, the Habs referred to him as the “top goaltender coming out of college.” After he signed, the team put Ben Scrivens on waivers. Lindgren is only 22 years old and has decent size at 6’2″. He had excellent numbers this season with a .925 save percentage and a 2.13 goals-against-average to go with 30 wins in 40 games played. With Price going down, the team’s goaltending depth was tested. It led to the team acquiring Scrivens, who had an occasional good game but more often than not, he showed why he was an AHL backup this year and it’s hard to picture another NHL team picking him up this summer.

The more, the merrier

The presence of Lindgren puts more pressure on Condon and Zach Fucale to be better. Fucale has been inconsistent in his rookie year in St. John’s but considering goalies take longer to develop, he still has time to develop his game further. However, perhaps having someone to compete with next year in the AHL could help Fucale. Condon unexpectedly pushed Dustin Tokarski out of the backup position last fall so the possibility exists that Lindgren could do the same if he impresses in camp and Condon is still there.

Signing Lindgren was a smart move by Montreal to shore up their goaltending depth. Considering his upside, his presence creates more competition which will hopefully push everyone else to be better. Seeing how the franchise went into disarray when Price went down, it is crucial that Montreal develops another young goalie who can step in to play a big role if Price goes down again.