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Instant Analysis: The Lindback Signing

Wednesday, 05.26.2010 / 1:31 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Instant Analysis: The Lindback Signing
From a Preds roster standpoint, today's signing of Anders Lindback probably doesn't change any plans for the NHL roster as Lindback will likely open the season in the AHL. GM David Poile and Head Coach Barry Trotz have long been proponents of developing and preparing young players through the organizational pipeline rather than throwing young players into the NHL.

The Preds are excited to see how quickly
Lindback makes the transition to the North
American game. Remember, Rinne spent
three season in the AHL before becoming an
NHL regular in '08-09. Fellow Swede Patric
Hornqvist needed a season in North America
before his breakout campaign this season; this
season Hornqvist regularly commented on how
much he learned during '08-09 -- his first
season in North America -- about the speed
and size of the North American game. Still, Preds
goaltending coach Mitch Korn spoke very highly of 
Lindback's potential to develop into an elite
goaltender, "His combination of athleticism, size,
comptitiveness, and ability to contort his body,
makes him an outstanding prospect," Korn said.
"With him playing in Europe I've primarily watched
him from afar the past few years, but his play was
a key reason his team made the playoffs in
Sweden, the bigger the game, the better he got."

Korn did get a chance to work with Lindback
during last summer's Preds Prospect
Development Camp. As for the comparisons to
Rinne, Korn stated, "The reason those comparisons
are so prominent is because of the lean body type,
the tall stature, the late round pick. They have some
similarities in their playing styles, but they also have
some differences." And with Rinne signed for the
next two seasons the Preds don't have to rush
Lindback's development, they have the time to let
him learn and see how quickly he catches on.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com

However, with this signing the Preds now have four well-regarded goaltending prospects within the organization's developmental system. Mark Dekanich (24) and Chet Pickard (20) spent the season with the Preds AHL affiliate in Milwaukee, while Jeremy Smith (21) won a title with the organization's ECHL affiliate in Cincinnati. Both Pickard, a first round pick by the Preds in 2008, and Smith, a second round pick by the Preds in 2007, made their pro hockey debuts in 2009-10. Dekanich, a second-year pro, was Milwaukee's starting goaltender during the AHL playoffs.

Lindback, who Preds scouts have regularly compared Pekka Rinne, split time with highly touted Swedish goaltending prospect Jacob Markstrom (a first round pick by the Florida Panthers in 2008) when the two were Swedish Elite League teammates for Brynas in 2008-09. Last season, Lindback signed on with Timra and flourished in his first full season as a No. 1 starter, earning a spot on Team Sweden for this year's World Championships roster -- along with Markstrom and Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.

Dekanich, a fifth round pick in 2006, flew under the radar in his college career at Colgate. He raised some eyebrows with a successful rookie pro season in '08-09, finishing second in the AHL with a 2.09 goals against average. Last season he increased his workload for the Admirals splitting time with Pickard, but finished the season strong earning AHL Goaltender of the Month honors in February after recording a 5-1-0 record with a 1.07 GAA and .959 save percentage.

Pickard experienced the normal ups-and-downs of a first pro season. From late October through early December he posted an 8-3-2 record with a 1.98 GAA and .926 save percentage, but served as the back-up goaltender to Dekanich during Milwaukee's playoff series. Pickard was also recognized as the No. 26 prospect in The Hockey News Future Watch edition this spring.

Smith also adapted well to the pro game as the season progressed, finishing the regular season 10-5-1 in his last 16 decisions and then adding nine more wins during Cincinnati's playoff run to the ECHL Title.

The competition for playing time among the young goaltenders should help all four. Each will have to earn his chances, starting with strong showings at Rookie Development Camp in July and continuing into Training Camp in September and through the season.
SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Wilson 9 2 5 4 7
R. Johansen 9 3 3 1 6
R. Josi 9 0 6 -3 6
S. Weber 9 2 3 -4 5
M. Ekholm 9 3 1 2 4
J. Neal 9 2 1 -3 3
M. Fisher 9 2 1 -3 3
F. Forsberg 9 1 2 -6 3
C. Smith 6 1 1 3 2
R. Ellis 9 0 2 0 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 4 5 0 .915 2.48
C. Hutton 0 0 0 .000 0.00