It’s that time of year again; when I stop by to make my annual cameo and provide deeply valuable insight into the Rangers’ matchup for their first-round series with the Washington Capitals by providing a Charlie Lindgren goaltending style report. Last season, I was disappointingly only able to deliver one goaltending style analysis. Here’s hoping this year you’ll be getting four of these wonderful pieces to brighten up your day.

As you may have heard, the goaltender for the Capitals, Charlie Lindgren, is none other than the older brother of Rangers’ defenseman, Ryan Lindgren. If you were unaware of this endlessly interesting factoid, you will undoubtedly hear it so many times during the course of the first round that you will want to drive a drill bit into your ear drums. And wouldn’t you know it, they both have mustaches. It’s truly a crazy time to be alive.

In any event, Lindgren has been a saving grace (pun intended) for the Caps this season, seizing the starting job from Darcy Kuemper (more on him in a bit) in late February and carrying Washington to an unlikely playoff berth. Let’s take a closer look at the 30-year-old, first-time starter and what the Rangers will be up against over the next (hopefully not) 7 games.


NHL: Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars
Jan 27, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren (79) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The first thing you will notice is that Lindgren is a southpaw, which is always fun and an ever-growing rarity in the NHL. Aside from his handedness, his stance is very typical of a modern goaltender, relatively upright when tracking the puck farther out and more compacted when under pressure.

He has a medium set, with his skates a comfortable distance apart, not too narrow or too wide. His posture is balanced and open. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Crease Movement/Depth

What I think I find the most interesting thing about Lindgren’s style is that he is basically the goaltending version of his brother. While very talented, his style mainly defined by being a battler. He never gives up on a puck and executes many of his saves at max effort.

From a crease movement perspective, the days are waning when less heralded goalies don’t really conform to the modern style, they are just less talented at playing within that framework. That is very much the case with Lindgren. He is a good skater and reads the puck extremely well, but his movement is a little clunky, and his transitions and recoveries aren’t as smooth as higher-end players like Igor Shesterkin, Connor Hellebuyck, or Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Lindgren is a gifted athlete who can cover quite a bit of ground with strong lateral pushes and a fairly disciplined technical foundation for a guy who goes into battle mode as often as he does.

He squares up very well and doesn’t run around too much. He can get into more desperation-oriented save selections at times, but he doesn’t wander as much as you might expect. This is most likely a testament to his puck-tracking ability, which is probably his strongest individual skill.


Believe it or not, last season was Lindgren’s first real extended run in the NHL, and it was only 31 games. He blew his career high away this year with 50.

His first taste of NHL action came in 2015-2016 with Montreal after signing out of St. Cloud State as an undrafted free agent, and it seems like his career trajectory has the unfortunate common thread of ending up on teams with a fairly entrenched number one ahead of him.

In Montreal, he was blocked by Carey Price. He then moved on to St. Louis, where he was blocked by Jordan Binnington, and then landed in Washington on the heels of their 5-year, $26.25m contract with Darcy Kuemper. You can’t really call any of this bad luck, since Lindgren signed with all three teams as a free agent. He’s never been traded.

Anyway, his performance this season has been extremely solid, with no significant weaknesses in his statistical profile. As you can see from the chart*, he was solid at even strength and excellent on the penalty kill, despite Washington’s poor overall performance shorthanded.

His Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA) was 10.62 and his Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) was 18.58. Neither of those totals would be considered elite, but definitely impressive given the Caps’ -37 goal differential and overall talent level. His traditional stats were similarly solid, 2.67 GAA and .911 save percentage in those 50 games played.

Given his limited track record (he’s never appeared in a playoff game), we basically only have his current form and scouting report to work with. The combination of those two factors tells the story of a guy who isn’t going to negatively affect his team’s chances, but also probably won’t be stealing a series, either.


When Lindgren broke into the league, he wore a classic Vaughn Velocity set in their iconic Iceberg graphic. As his style evolved and he took to a stiffer pad, he made the switch to Bauer’s Supreme line, but used their DigiPrint technology to re-create the iceberg look. He has used this graphic with each of his NHL teams.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Dallas Stars
Jan 27, 2024; Dallas, Texas, USA; Washington Capitals goaltender Charlie Lindgren (79) in action during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a clean and classic look, which he rounds out with a standard Dave Gunnarsson paint job, which many NHL goalies use, and I personally find to be horrendous looking. (Give me a simple, bold paint job that you can recognize from a distance) [insert “old man yells at cloud” meme here]

Charlie Lindgren goaltending style – No exploitable weaknesses

Similar to his brother, the elder Lindgren is very good but not elite at most things and not really bad at anything. I know that’s a really boring answer, but there is nothing that stands out about Lindgren’s game that you would choose to attack directly.

The name of the game for the Rangers is going to be to put as many high-danger shots on net as possible. Due to the nature of his game, Lindgren performed well on HD shots against* this season, so the volume of quality chances is going to be critical.

Lindgren was below expected at freezing the puck, however, so puck possession and getting those extra chances could pay dividends for New York.

His max effort style and overextension may provide some balance issues that the Rangers can use to their advantage on scramble plays or other HD chances. Chris Kreider could be a big factor, here.

There is an annoyingly high probability of a “Charlie Lindgren game” this series, where the Rangers should have won 4-0 and lost 2-1. However, outside of Ilya Samsonov, Lindgren might be the Rangers’ best matchup on paper.

Darcy Kuemper

I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Darcy Kuemper in this analysis. While the erstwhile number-one goaltender has had a pretty abysmal season, should Lindgren falter, he is a legitimate option for Washington.

Should Spencer Carbery turn to Kuemper at any point during the series, I’ll be sure to update this space with a little more info on the current state of his game.


So, there you have it. Over 1,100 words to tell you that Charlie Lindgren, while very solid, probably isn’t going to have a major impact on the series. The Rangers are a much more talented team than Washington, and while he may prolong the Caps lifespan a bit, I’d be very surprised if he was able to put the Rangers’ chances in serious jeopardy. However, that’s why they play the games.

Hopefully the Blueshirts can take care of business and we can breakdown the wealth of almost exclusively Russian goaltending talent between the ‘Canes and Islanders in the second round.

*Statistics courtesy of Evolving-Hockey and MoneyPuck.


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