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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Lindstrom, Kivisto Take Unconventional Paths

Wednesday, 06.01.2011 / 3:45 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Lindstrom, Kivisto Take Unconventional Paths

The Hurricanes beat the clock on Tuesday, signing 2009 draft picks Mattias Lindstrom and Tommi Kivisto to entry-level contracts on the last possible day to retain their rights.

Paul Branecky
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Had the team not agreed to terms with each player prior to 5 p.m. (the official announcement was made around 2:30), they would have re-entered the Entry Draft later this month. Under current rules, clubs have just two years to sign European-based prospects – a far more restrictive term than in the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Both contracts contain a European Assignment Clause, which means they will most likely return to their European club teams if they do not make the Hurricanes’ roster this fall – an unlikely scenario for each player. They could only suit up for the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Charlotte in 2011-12 if their European clubs permit it. Both players are in the final year of their European contracts.

Lindstrom, the Hurricanes’ third-round choice, 88th overall, presents an interesting case. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound forward with Skelleftea of the Swedish league missed most of the 2009-10 season with a serious knee injury but has since progressed enough that the team decided to offer him a contract despite his limited body of work.

“He basically missed a year of development and went through that process of getting back up to speed this year,” said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes’ vice president and assistant general manager. “By the end of the season, we felt he was near where he was (when we drafted him). The injury was unfortunate, but he’s still a player that intrigues us given his size and his desire to play a physical style.”

Lindstrom is scheduled to attend the Hurricanes’ rookie conditioning camp in July, as well as the rookie tournament in Traverse City in the fall. That will cause him to miss the first month of Skelleftea’s regular season, which is somewhat unusual.

“He’s not a guy that’s playing in their top six or even their top nine due to the injury and his age,” said Karmanos of the 20-year-old Lindstrom. “He was playing a role on a good team, so I think that’s part of the reason why they’re allowing him to participate fully in everything without too many complications.”

Kivisto’s club, Jokerit, will want him to return for the start of the regular season, which will cause the player to miss the Traverse City tournament. Kivisto, a seventh-round choice by the Hurricanes (208th overall), has firmly established himself among the Finnish team’s top six defensemen.

Kivisto has taken an interesting path to get to this point, having originally arrived in Red Deer of the Western Hockey League as a highly-touted prospect in 2008 only to return to his home country the next season.

“In Red Deer, he went through the adjustment of being in a new country and a new league and didn’t play as well as expected, and we ended up drafting him in the seventh round when, at the beginning of the year, he was supposed to be a first-rounder,” said Karmanos. “He went back home, and really it wasn’t until this season that he really, in our opinion, started to progress pretty dramatically. By the end of the year he was playing a solid role at the elite level.”

Kivisto was able to attend the Hurricanes' conditioning camp last year and was impressive.

“He opened some eyes at the conditioning camp because he was an extremely fit athlete and clearly showed that he was committed to being a player,” said Karmanos.

The Hurricanes will be hoping to see more of the same from Lindstrom, who was unable to attend the camp last season due to a scheduling complication with Skelleftea.

"We're looking forward to seeing him in the flesh," said Karmanos.

Also slated to attend conditioning camp for the first time are 2010 draft picks Mark Alt, a rising sophomore defenseman at the University of Minnesota, and Frederik Andersen, a goaltender who will start for Frolunda of the Swedish league next season.


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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
3 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
11 OTT 61 27 23 11 173 166 65
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61