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PensBurgh Top 25 Under 25: #10 - Filip Lindberg

After a 2021-22 season cut short by injury, Lindberg is back— and this time, he has a few more competitors for his spot in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins’ net.

NHL: SEP 27 Preseason - Blue Jackets at Penguins
Lindberg stands in the Penguins’ net during a preseason game against the Blue Jackets on September 27, 2021.
Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Filip Lindberg will return from a season-ending ankle injury and add another talented prospect to the Penguins’ crowded goaltending pool in 2022-23.

Related: 2022 Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25: Graduates and Departed

#25: Nolan Collins

#24: Colin Swoyer

#23: Jonathan Gruden

#22: Ty Glover

#21: Kirill Tankov

#20: Judd Caulfield

#19 Corey Andonovski

#18: Jordan Frasca

#17: Isaac Belliveau

#16: Taylor Gauthier

#15: Alex Nylander

#14: Nathan Legare

#13: Tristan Broz

#12: Raivis Ansons

#11 - Lukas Svejkovsky

#10: Filip Lindberg

2021 Ranking: 8

Age: 23 (January 31, 1999)

Height/Weight: 6’1”/185 lbs.

Acquired Via: 2021 NCAA free agent signing (originally drafted in 2019 NHL Draft - Round 7 - Pick 197 by the Minnesota Wild)

Maybe Lindberg was still riding high from winning the NCAA championships with the University of Massachusetts earlier this year, because he made 30 saves on 31 shots in his AHL debut on October 26, 2021.

The now-23-year-old goaltender could have begun playing professionally when he was drafted in 2019, but he wanted to continue in college hockey for a few more years because he “just wanted to be ready” for the AHL.

He certainly seemed ready, because after his debut he went on to win his next three starts, earning the title of AHL Goaltender of the Month during his first-ever month in the league.

(Fun fact: Lindberg is just the second goaltender in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins history to begin his pro career with four straight wins. The first? Tristan Jarry, who started his AHL tenure with a quarter of victories in 2015-16.)

Just as excitement was building for what Lindberg might mean to the Penguins organization, a November ankle injury knocked him out for the rest of the season.

From Scott Young, former Penguins director of player development, via DK Pittsburgh Sports:

“It’s unfortunate, because he was playing so well. It was just a short period there in the beginning of the year, but he was really playing well. We really liked it, what he’s going to be, and it’s just too bad that it was cut so short.

He was very frustrated. He wants to play, a competitive kid. He just came off from winning the national championship the year before. So he was full of confidence. It was a bit devastating for him.”

Now, time is ticking down for Lindberg to finally return— but unlike in 2021-22, he may no longer be the obvious starting goaltender.

With the Penguins signing second-round selection Joel Blomqvist and WHL free agent Taylor Gauthier, as well as veteran NHLer Dustin Tokarski, Lindberg is about to face some competition for his job.

So what can the Penguins expect when Lindberg returns to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton crease to fight for his position in 2022-23? Consensus answer: not size, but quick reflexes and athletic positioning.

From Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now: “The 6-foot-1 goalie isn’t a net-filler but more of a controlled goalie who uses his athleticism to get post to post.”

From Seth Rorabaugh of Trib Live: “Lindberg relies on his agility more than his size to stop the puck.”

“I’d say I’m pretty quick. I like to be aggressive. I’m not the biggest guy. I feel like I know what to do in the right situation.” —Filip Lindberg

From the brief sample size of last season, Lindberg’s athletic goaltending can work well in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Hopefully, we will be able to see those skills develop professionally over a longer timespan this season as the Penguins enter the final year of Lindberg’s two-year, $925,000 entry-level contract.