The Pittsburgh Penguins did not make big splashes on the first day of free agency, but their last couple of signings could be important both now and in the future as they signed an exciting college goalie from Finland and a depth right-handed defenseman with years of NHL experience.
The Penguins signed Finnish goalie Filip Lindberg, who played college hockey at UMass, to a two-year entry-level contract. Lindberg won the 2021 national championship by beating St. Cloud State in the NCAA final held at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
Lindberg, 22, had a career year in 2020-21 at UMass. The 6-foot-1, 194-pound goaltender posted a 10-1-4 record, 1.24 goals-against average, .949 save percentage, and five shutouts in 15 games. His 1.24 goals-against average and .949 save percentage were both career highs and led the NCAA.
To win the 2021 NCAA Championship, he was 3-0 with a 0.33 goals-against average, a .986 save percentage, and two shutouts. Lindberg stopped all 25 shots in the championship game against St. Cloud State.
In three seasons with UMass from 2018-21, Lindberg appeared in 49 games. He was 29-9-6 with a 1.55 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage, and 11 shutouts. His .937 save percentage is the best in program history.
“We’re extremely excited to have them to the organization,” Hextall said. “We felt like whenever you can get a good young goaltender, you’re obviously excited…we’re excited to see him see him play this year. I would anticipate him certainly starting in the minors, but he showed a lot of promise last year and won the national championship. So it’s an exciting day for us in terms of signing Filip.”
While Lindberg is unlikely to bolt directly to the NHL, the Penguins currently do not have a third goalie with NHL experience after Maxime Lagace signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The departure creates a void in the organizational depth chart, which Lindberg will fill, either in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) or Wheeling (ECHL).
Taylor Fedun, Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins do not yet have a steady, established right-shot defenseman on the roster behind Kris Letang and John Marino. Chad Ruhwedel and Mark Friedman have been career depth defensemen.
Hextall inked another with 33-year-old Taylor Fedun. (Make sure you’re following PuckPedia):
The #LetsGoPens signed 33 y/o RD Taylor Fedun to 1 year Deal:
Rep'd by Peter Fish Globalhttps://t.co/cW2nS4mAjB
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 28, 2021
Fedun played 127 NHL games over seven seasons for most recently the Dallas Stars. He’s also played for (in reverse order) Buffalo, Vancouver, San Jose, and Edmonton.
In his career, he’s scored eight goals and 35 points. He’s also delivered 50 hits. He played in 11 playoff games for Dallas as they went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020.