ashton-remax_NEWMuch like Carly Rae Jepsen, Anders Lindback has made a triumphant return in 2017 since his departure in 2012.

Back in a Nashville Predators sweater, Lindback is excited to see the city, and some of his pals, again.

“The city has grown, and I think this organization did as well, obviously, with the results from last year,” he said after practice last week. “So, I’m glad to be back.”

ships n tripsAfter serving as the team’s backup goaltender for two seasons, Lindback was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2012 as part of a package that would bring the Predators a pair of draft picks that eventually turned into Colton Sissons and Pontus Aberg. He bounced from Tampa Bay to the Dallas Stars and on to the Arizona Coyotes before playing with Rogle BK in Sweden last year.

With Marek Mazanec leaving the organization after last season, the Predators needed to bring in more goalie talent in the system, and they knew just who to call.

The Anders Lindback that left the team in 2012 is a lot different than the one that returned this season.

“I think it’s been what, four or five years, and I’ve been to so many different places,” he said. “I think I have a lot in my luggage now that I’ve learned over the years. Of course, I’m 29, so I’m way more experienced since I was here last time. I think I have a lot to bring to the table and I feel really good about my game right now. I’m excited for camp starting.”

ContinuumUpdatedHe showed that experience in the nightcap of the team’s doubleheader against the Florida Panthers, making a couple of nifty saves, including a deflection off the glove in the third period that earned a “Monster Block” rating from Predators game operations.

One of those old pals of his, Pekka Rinne, was glad to see Lindback play so well and earn the preseason win over Florida.

“It’s awesome,” Rinne said. “We played a couple of years together and became good friends and obviously it’s great to have him back and see him play such a good game too for his first game back. Felt good for him, I was happy for him that we were able to win the game.”

Perhaps the biggest goaltender change in the Predators organization since Lindback’s departure has been the addition of Juuse Saros, a 2013 draftee that has risen to the backup role.

capitol-ins-2Lindback is excited about the young Finn.

“He’s a great goaltender, you could tell, he moves really well,” he said. “He’s really fast. It’s good competition for me.”

Saros, who posted a solid .923 save percentage and 2.35 goals allowed average in relief of Rinne, is coming back to the team more experienced and more comfortable in a Predators uniform.

That comfort has rubbed off on Rinne.

SoutherRVCenter“For Juuse, obviously, it’s another important year, his second year in the NHL and he looks great, he looks comfortable, he looks one year older,” he said. “He looks more ready.”

At the same time, even though his job seems to be fairly secure, he knows he can’t be complacent.

“I know I have to earn my spot every day,” Saros said. “Like always, in this sport, there’s always competition. It’s a good situation and we’ve got a lot of good, all five goalies are good here.”

The Predators continue preseason play Friday in Tampa and Monday in Columbus.

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