The Montreal Canadiens have seen their fair share of up and down performances thus far into the season and from both an offensive standpoint as well as from a defensive angle as well, the team has constantly struggled to place themselves in the win column.
This has resulted in both an endless partnership with their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket at Place Bell, while it has also given general manager Marc Bergevin a reason to be active earlier on then other clubs, whether he be on the phone from his office at the Bell Centre or visiting other arenas to watch games on his team’s off-days.
Further to this point, the Canadiens made their first transaction of the season and did so early on when veteran Antti Niemi was brought aboard on the 14th of November, however, he wasn’t going to be the first nor was he going to stand alone or at least for very long.
What do I mean by this you may ask?
For those of you who may not follow lower levels of hockey, Montreal holds a strong group of players under their wing in the AHL where you can and will find men such as that of Charlie Lindgren who plays at Place Bell, just one hour out from the club’s home found downtown.
Moving onwards, this was not the first time that the 24-year-old had gotten called on to keep the ship from sinking down the standings of the Atlantic Division and wouldn’t be the last as he was used plenty by Michel Therrien before his tenure came to an end.
A short time after president Geoff Molson announced the return of head coach Claude Julien from the Boston Bruins, Lindgren found himself up a few more times before being optioned back down before the holidays kicked in.
Fast forward now to January just a dew days into the new year, veteran goaltender Al Montoya was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. This was a deal made to no-one’s surprise given he only appeared in four games played while owning a record of 2-1-0. Montoya, 32, also held a 3.77 goals-against average and .863 save percentage at the time of his departure.
As part of the deal that sent the backstop to the capital of Alberta, the Habs acquired a conditional fourth-round draft pick for 2018 in exchange. The trade also meant that Laurent Brossoit’s time on the NHL stage had come to an end, at least for a while as he was placed on waivers for the purpose of designation to the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League.
I bring this topic to the main forefront now because given the hole left open by the native of Chicago, Il, it meant that the team needed to call up an extra body for the bench incase of yet another injury which they fear most given what happened to Montoya that kept him out of action since November 4th when the Habs were at MTS Centre visiting the Winnipeg Jets as part of a road trip.
This also gave head coach Claude Julien put his team into reset mode which then gave Lindgren the opportunity to stay with the Canadiens for an extended period of time to show what he can do between the Bell Centre goalies crease and the 23-year-old impressed while opening many eyes at the same time, however but wouldn’t end up sticking around for more than a week and a half which many would not have thought to be the case given their situation. In spite of his relentless strength and highly-touted raw talent, he was optioned back to Laval where he continues to flourish with postseason play on the horizon.
It is because of all of this that the Montreal Canadiens announced on Tuesday evening that they have agreed to terms on a three-year, one-way contract extension with the Minnesota native, locking him up through the conclusion of the 2021-2022 season.
LeBrun also notes that Lindgren’s agency initially asked for two-years but the Habs pushed for three and were able to lock down a deal. Lindgren, who is young, was looking for assurance and wanted to know that he could be committed without having to worry about anything. The deal also includes security throughout the entirety of the term while for the team, it comes with what is being called a “real” reasonable AAV for the organization.
LeBrun mentions that his year-by-year breakdown looks as follows below:
2018-19: $700K in base salary a year plus $50k signing bonus per year
2019-20: $700K in base salary a year plus $50k signing bonus per year
All in all, this makes for a total AAV of $750K which kicks in when the season officially begins.
Over the course of the 2017-18 season, Lindgren has appeared in a total of eight games played while posting a record of 3-4-1 while also owning a GAA of 2.43 and a save percentage of .924 to go alongside a single shutout effort as well.
All in all at the NHL level, Lindgren has seen action in only eleven games played. As for his time which continues to be spent in the American Hockey League, Lindgren has struggled due to a lack of effort in front of him, especially when it comes with his team on the penalty kill. At the moment through a total of 28 games played, Lindgren holds a record of 7-13-2 to go alongside a 3.15 GAA and .893 save percentage.
Lindgren initially was undrafted in 2015 and later signed with Montreal as a free agent out of St. Cloud State University.
It is very possible that we will be seeing Lindgren with a whole lot more playing time come the start of next season with appearances being made on a regular basis as the team’s current backup Antti Niemi is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.