With Kaapo Kahkonen patiently sitting in the Waiting Room for the Minnesota Wild job, we look at the performance of Filip Lindberg
Former Minnesota Wild General Manager Paul Fenton selected Espoo, Finland Native Filip Lindberg, goaltender for UMass-Amherst in the 7th Round,197th Overall in his second and final draft in June 2019.
The much-maligned Paul Fenton, despite all of his shortcomings, may someday have bragging rights for the best two drafts in Wild history, when you consider some of the exciting names that have already surfaced, Matthew Boldy, Adam Beckman, and Alexander Khovanov to name a few.
When you think about goaltenders in the Wild system, right away Kaapo Kahkonen, Hunter Jones, and even former Minnesota Golden Gopher Mat Robson come to mind. Filip Lindberg seems to be under many a Wild fan and podcast hosts’ radar. The hope is that someday soon, that will change, as the 21-year-old netminder enters his Junior season with UMass-Amherst, COVID-19 pending of course.
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In the last two years, Lindberg has put up impressive numbers as a platoon goalie, sharing time with Matthew Murray. Lindberg had an excellent freshman campaign, with a 1.60 GAA, a save percentage of .934, and four shutouts in 17 total games.
As a sophomore, Lindberg was between the pipes in 18 games, with a still very strong 1.91 GAA, a .927 save percentage, and 2 shutouts according to his HockeyDB numbers. Altogether, we’re talking six shutouts in only 35 games, a save percentage around .930, and a collective GGA well below 2.00, that’s not bad for a seventh-round pick.
Generally speaking, Lindberg’s numbers have been better than Murry’s, but the reason neither took “The Guy” role from the other is that “Fille” as Matthew Murry would call him, has been either dazzling or giving up 2 goals very early on in some games. Evan Marinofsky’s March 4th article in the dailycollegian.com details it well.
And for the record, Lindberg’s English is outstanding, he speaks as clearly as anyone else out there, and of course, already playing for UMass-Amherst, there will be no culture shock to be had, when he eventually suits up in Iowa before hopefully Minnesota.
All being said, you see similarities in Kahkonen when he started in Iowa, piling up shutouts right away when he got there and then going through some bad stretches, but ultimately pulling through, as Kappo would get things together not long after that.
You could say his brief NHL stint also started the same, and everyone including myself would love to see Kahkonen at least be a platoon with Alex Stalock or (insert free agent/traded goalie from the very saturated goalie market) this season.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times on my @bravethewild Podcast, it’s not too crazy to imagine Filip Lindberg as an excellent NHL backup, if not more, in the next few years and might be better than the likes of a Mat Robson already.