Anders Lindback vs. Mathieu Garon: The Question or the Answer for Tampa Bay?

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Anders Lindback vs. Mathieu Garon: The Question or the Answer for Tampa Bay?
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Anders Lindback joined the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15, 2012.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Lightning snagged the Nashville Predators' 6'6" backup goaltender Anders Lindback in exchange for two second-round draft picks (37th and 50th overall), a third-round pick and goaltending prospect Sebastien Caron.

The Bolts also acquired forward Kyle Wilson and the Preds' seventh-round pick.

According to NBC Sports Analyst Darren Pang, the Bolts just created a talented goalie tandem. I'm less convinced.

Tampa now has two unproven goaltenders (Lindback and Mathieu Garon), potentially even three, if they hang on to Dwayne Roloson. For argument's sake, let's assume Roloson will be gone, leaving Lindback and Garon to fight for the top spot in net.

By the Numbers

Age: Mathieu Garon 34, Anders Lindback 24

Edge: Garon

Common thought says that goalies reach their prime in their 30s. Unfortunately for Garon, his 30s haven't treated him well. Garon has just 67 wins since he turned 30. Those stats are a bit skewed since he had stints in Columbus and Edmonton. Lindback has appeared in just 38 games behind one of the league's top goaltenders in Pekka Rinne. Can he really handle the daily grind of being a number one goalie? 

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Mathieu Garon went 23-16 for the Bolts in 2012.

Games Played (Started): 323 (286) 38 (28)

Record (Win-Loss-Tie-OT Loss): 139-122-3-26 16-13-0-2 

Edge: Even

Garon not only has the experience, but he also has a higher winning percentage. The problem is Lindback's sample size is too small. The fact that he's won just 52 percent of his games, when playing with a developing NHL power like the Nashville Predators, is a red flag.

Garon played for the lowly Oilers, Blue Jackets and Canadiens. He's had his chance in Tampa and has some strong stats, but as Bolts' fans know, stats don't mean wins and Tampa needs to win.

Goalie Coach (most recent): Frantz Jean (Tampa Bay) Mitch Korn (Nashville)  

Edge: Lindback

Lindback has developed under Mitch Korn, whom many believe to be one of the top goaltending coaches in the country.

Frantz Jean, on the other hand, has spent the majority of his time coaching in the Canadian Junior leagues and has yet to develop a consistent goaltender for the Bolts. Roloson doesn't count because the guy was in his 40s before he even knew who Jean was.

Who would you start? Will they lead the Bolts to the playoffs?

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Korn has a long list of consistent goaltenders. Do the names Pekka Rinne, Dominik Hasek and Tomas Vokoun mean anything to hockey fans? Lindback could be the next name to join his long list of consistent NHL goalies.

Who I'd Start If the Season Began Today: Lindback.

The guy has everything to prove, being a backup to one of the most talented goaltenders in the league for the last two seasons. Lindback has a better goals-against average (2.53 versus 2.83), but let's face it, Nashville's blue line is better than Tampa's.

Also working in Lindback's favor is his friendship with arguably the top defenseman on the Bolts, Victor Hedman. He's also 6'6" and an intimidating presence. If he can handle the puck, make the first save, and provide consistency for the Bolts, Tampa may be headed back to the playoffs. Only time will tell.  

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