The Montreal Canadiens haven’t had a backup goaltender they can rely on lately, as Antti Niemi has struggled mightily in his last few appearances. While Carey Price will obviously carry the load down the stretch, the team today made a move to give them another option in net. Charlie Lindgren was recalled from the AHL’s Laval Rocket, giving the team three goaltenders for the time being.
Lindgren, 25, has struggled for the Rocket this season to the tune of an .884 save percentage but also has a history of success in the NHL. Through 17 appearances with the Canadiens over the years the undrafted goaltender has recorded a .914 save percentage and two shutouts, though his overall record still sits at 7-8-2. While that may not strike you as a huge upgrade over Niemi, the team needs to find some sort of reliability behind Price should he suffer an injury. In fact, Eric Engels of Sportsnet notes that Price did take a painful shot at practice today. While he didn’t suffer any real injury it highlighted the need for depth at the position, something that Lindgren will try to provide.
The Canadiens are currently sitting outside the playoff bubble after losing their last two, and actually have played one more game than both the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets who occupy the wild card spots. With just a single back-to-back situation remaining on the schedule the team can probably get away with Price playing 12 out of the 13 games, putting him at 64 starts on the year. That’s a big number, but with the uncertainty behind him it might just be what the team requires to secure a spot in the postseason.