In a surprising move, the Nashville Predators have sent goaltender Juuse Saros to the AHL and recalled Anders Lindback to take his place. After an incredible season last year, Saros looked ready to take on a bigger role with the Predators this season. Instead he’s struggled through four games, recording an .855 save percentage. Lindback meanwhile is leading the AHL in wins and carries a .918 save percentage through his first 11 games.
The move is likely to get the 22-year old Saros some more playing time and avoid stifling his development, but it does come with an interesting wrinkle. Lindback is not waiver-exempt, meaning the team only has a certain amount of time to swap them back before they would have to expose the older goaltender to the rest of the league. Since he cleared waivers before the season, he has 30 days (or 10 games) on the active roster before he needs to clear again. Though Lindback is by no means a star goaltender, he has shown over the years to be a capable backup.
Lindback was first drafted by the Predators in 2008, and made quite the impression in his first few seasons. As a rookie in 2010-11 he backed up Pekka Rinne quite admirably, recording a .918 save percentage through his 22 appearances. Nashville would eventually trade him to the Tampa Bay Lightning for some draft picks, where he was expected to grow into a starting goaltender. It would never happen, and Lindback’s career took him to several other stops including back to Sweden last year.
Still, if he shows that he can still provide solid backup goaltending on a minimum salary contract (Lindback earns just $650K in the NHL) he could be a target on waivers. For now, he’ll be asked to back up Rinne once again, many years later.