How Bad Is Bolts’ Anders Lindback?

Anders Lindback came under a lot of scrutiny this year for the Tampa Bay Lightning. It isn’t easy to come in relief for a Vezina candidate in Ben Bishop especially during the playoffs.

Lindback not only had to do that during the 2013-2014 playoffs but he also had to fill in for Bishop during the regular season. He came under a lot of scrutiny this season due to poor performance but the question is how poor was his performance?

The issue is Lindback’s overall performance looked really bad, but in reality it wasn’t. His 5vs5 save percentage was 91.4, which isn’t bad especially when Marc-Andre Fleury, of the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the same situation posted a 91.9 percentage.  He also posted a 2.2 GA/60 minutes in these situations too.
Bishop posted a 1.9 GA/60 so in reality Lindback was giving up .3 more goals per sixty minutes compared to Bishop in terms of 5vs5.

Delving deeper, Lindback posted a 92.5 save percentage when the score was close in 5vs5 play similar to Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick, who posted a 92.7 save percentage. What this all means is that Lindback isn’t bad when comes to five-on-five play. He actually plays pretty well and posts decent numbers.

So why did he seem to be so terrible? Two words—special teams.

It was the special teams that killed him this year as he posted in the bottom half of the league with the man down.  The Lightning were 23rd when it came to being down a man at 80 percent.  They ended up allowing 52 power play goals. Any time a team is down a man, it takes a toll on everyone from the defensemen who have to cover the net to the forwards who have to try and help clear the puck. However, the biggest toll it takes is on the goalie. He has to be able to make multiple saves, avoid screens and clear the puck. Needless to say, it’s not easy to have a high save percentage with the man down.

Lindback’s save percentage with the man down isn’t pretty as it sits at 80 percent. That’s a double digit drop off from his five-on-five save percentages.  Bishop had trouble as well on the penalty kill posting a 89.7 percentage. Both goalies ended up allowing a lot of goals on the PK, with Bishop allowing 12 (32) more goals than Lindback (20) which is more than likely due to fact Bishop played more games but clearly this is a problem for the team overall.

So is Anders Lindback a bad goalie? The answer is no. Lindback may have his struggles as all young goalies do but realistically when 31 percent  of the goals he allows are with a man down, no wonder his save percentage is going to look terrible or there is a perception that he is a bad goalie.

He isn’t a bad goalie, but just a young goalie, meaning he will make mistakes, he will give up a “soft goal.”  Whether through inexperience or lack of playing time, goals will happen as a goalie continues to grow and develop and with Lindback is no exception.

He suffered some bad breaks due to his team failing in front of him and also made some mistakes but Anders Lindback still has all the talent and potential to be a great goalie.

All of his 5vs5 stats show that, now if the team could play in front of him on the penalty kill, just imagine what his numbers could look like. It’s something GM Steve Yzerman will consider, for sure.