With serious questions to answer in net before the start of next season, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher likely has his eye on a few goalies heading into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Minnesota Wild Draft USA Hockey Goalie of the Year Charlie Lindgren?

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For the past two seasons, Charlie Lindgren has been the man in net for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede. Currently ranked 19th amongst North American goalies and 3rd amongst USHL goaltenders, could he be wearing a Wild sweater on June 30th?

In 2011-12, Lindgren shared the Stampede net as a USHL rookie with veteran goalies Stephon Williams (MSU Mavericks) and Jay Williams (Miami Ohio Redhawks), posting a 9-19-3 record with a 3.33 goals against average and .907 save percentage in 33 games. The Herd would end the season in last place. Former Stampede coach Kevin Hartzell, father of former Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell, still said he believed Charlie was the best goalie in all of Minnesota high school hockey at the time.

This past season, Lindgren came with a chip on his shoulder and a drive to succeed. His stellar play more than proved Hartzell right, it broke franchise records and cemented Lindgren as the Herd’s No. 1 goalie. In 52 games, Charlie posted a 35-14-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.80 goals against average and .900 save percentage.

In 10 playoff games, Lindgren posted a 5-5 record, one shutout, a 2.52 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.

According to the United States Hockey League official website:

Lindgren led all USHL netminders this season with 35 victories, tied for the third most wins in a season since USA Hockey designated the USHL as Tier 1 in 2002. The 35 wins were the most ever by a Stampede goaltender during their 15 seasons in the USHL. His overall record was 35-14-2 with a 2.80 goals-against-average and .900 save percentage.

He was a workhorse for the Stampede as he appeared in 52 of the team’s 64 regular season games, playing 2,852 total minutes in net to rank third in the USHL. Lindgren led Sioux Falls to a record-setting season as they earned 45 wins to finish on top of the Western Conference. It tied for the most wins in the USHL and it was the most wins ever by a Stampede team.

Charlie’s play also earned him an invite to the 2012-13 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

The major turn around between seasons was enough for USA Hockey to officially name Lindgren this year’s Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year, an award presented to the top American-born goaltender in Junior hockey. Not only is his hard work being recognised by USA Hockey, it’s also being recognised by NHL scouts, as well.

With the Minnesota Wild suddenly in need of some depth in goal, could hometown kid Charlie Lindgren be the answer? Committed to St. Cloud State, Lindgren is likely very far from the NHL at this point, but there’s no question he’s a workhorse goaltender that would go a long way in shoring up the goaltending prospect pool. A full four-year collegiate career and a few seasons in the minors and Lindgren may be ready to claim a starting role in the NHL. If he’s available in the later rounds on June 30th, the first step to that goal may just come in a Wild sweater.

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