The phrase “third time’s a charm” does not apply to Anders Lindback. The goaltender is hoping things pan out for him the fifth time.
Lindback joined his fifth team in five years when he signed with the Arizona Coyotes earlier this month. At the age of 27, the time is ripe for him to take advantage of every opportunity he receives if he hopes to be something more than a journeyman in the NHL.
Selected in the seventh round of the 2008 draft by Nashville, Lindback remained in his native Sweden until the 2010-11 season. He appeared in 22 games as a rookie for the Predators, going 11-5-2 with two shutouts and a 2.60 goals-against average.
The 6-foot-6 netminder saw action in 16 contests the following campaign and posted a 5-8-0 record and 2.42 GAA. Lindback registered a .912 save percentage, which began a downward trend that continued until last season.
With Pekka Rinne firmly entrenched as the Predators’ starter, Lindback was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in June 2012. But things did not work out well for Lindback in the Sunshine State as he went 18-22-3 in 47 contests over two seasons.
Lindback’s GAA was 2.90 for each campaign while his save percentage continued to drop, going from .902 in 2012-13 to .891 the following season. The native of Gavle became a free agent and signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars on July 1, 2014.
His tenure in the Lone Star State lasted a whopping 10 games, as after registering a 2-8-0 mark with a 3.71 GAA and .875 save percentage, he was dealt to the Buffalo Sabres for fellow Swedish netminder Jhonas Enroth. Upstate New York appeared to be the right place for Lindback, who lowered his GAA nearly an entire goal (2.76) while pumping his save percentage up to .924 in 16 games.
“I found my groove,” Lindback declared to the Coyotes’ website. “It’s hard not to try too much when you play only once every second week. So when I knew I was going to play more, I relaxed a bit more. I felt that stint was great for me as a person and a goalie.”
Lindback only went 4-8-2 with the Sabres, but it was no fault of his own as the play in front of him was what one would expect from the worst team in the league. Unfortunately for the goalie, Buffalo elected not to re-sign him, leaving him to find another suitor via free agency.
Arizona proved to be that suitor, inking Lindback to a one-year contract at the beginning of July. It could prove to be the best move of his career, as the Coyotes have the inconsistent Mike Smith as their top netminder.
Since a stellar 2011-12 campaign in which he posted a 38-18-10 record with eight shutouts, a 2.21 GAA and a .930 save percentage, Smith has fallen on hard times in the desert. Last season proved to be the worst as he registered a 14-42-5 mark with a 3.16 GAA in 62 games.
More subpar play such as that surely will open the door for Lindback. And if he can prove his brief time in Buffalo was not a fluke, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett will have no choice but to give the towering Swede as much playing time as he can handle.