Charlie Lindgren is a solid backup, can he be elite?

Charlie Lindgren, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Charlie Lindgren, Washington Capitals Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Darcy Kuemer wasn’t the only new goaltender in town for the Washington Capitals a year ago. After saying goodbye to both Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov before the Kuemper signing, the Caps needed a backup and they looked no further than Charlie Lindgren.

On the surface it looked like an OK season. But really it was a season where he started out really hot, stepped up his game even more when Kuemper got hurt in December and got the Caps back in things.

That was the good but the bad part of Lindgren was as the rest of the team struggled, he began to struggle too. But that’s not on him. It was just a weird season.

When all was said and done, Lindgren played in 31 games and went 13-11-3 with a 3.05 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. Again this looks like below average for a backup. The 3.05 GAA is alarming.

But it doesn’t tell the whole story. We’re going to break this down even further. Let’s look at Lindgren’s stats and compare and contrast his numbers from the first half of the season to the second half.

From his first start which was the second game of the season and the second part of a back to back to Dec. 31, Lindgren appeared in 18 games. He went 11-4-2 with a .914 save percentage.

Now for the second half. Since 12/31 he played in 13 games. Lindgren only won two of those games. Overall he was 2-7-1 with a .876 save percentage.

So what happened?

If the Caps were winning their games that Lindgren wasn’t starting, one could say he ran out of his magic. But I don’t think that’s the case.

While he kept the Caps afloat for a while, as the rest of his teammates struggled around him with either poor on ice decisions or injuries, the struggles would eventually catch up to Lindgren too.

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What I’m really excited about is seeing how this backup goalie can play when the Caps are fully healthy and clicking on the ice.