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Hurricanes Take Lindholm Fifth Overall

Sunday, 06.30.2013 / 5:45 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Hurricanes Take Lindholm Fifth Overall
With a bevy of trade rumors swirling around the Carolina Hurricanes’ fifth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the team opted to stand pat to draft Swedish forward Elias Lindholm.

Michael Smith
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Lindholm, 18, was Central Scouting’s third-ranked European skater and a player that the Canes had targeted for awhile, according to team President and General Manager Jim Rutherford. A native of Gavle, Sweden, Lindholm attracted attention with a stellar season in a high-level professional league as a teenager.

“This is a player who will have a chance to play with us next year,” Rutherford said. “He’s already played with men in the Swedish Elite League. He’s a guy that does everything at a high tempo. He plays every shift at a high tempo, and he’s one of those guys that’s on the puck and does the little things that you’re looking for.”

A self-described strong two-way center, Lindholm was developed within the Brynas system and made his Swedish Elite League (now the Swedish Hockey League) debut as a 17-year-old, skating in 12 regular-season games and two playoff matches for the men’s team. In the same season on Brynas’ under-20 squad, Lindholm notched 49 points (14g, 35a) in 36 games.

In 2012-13, Lindholm made the full-time jump to the men’s league. In 48 games, he paced SEL juniors with 30 points (11g, 19a) and was only one of two Brynas skaters who finished the season with a plus rating. He ranked fourth among SHL junior players, second among SHL junior forwards and sixth among Brynas forwards in average ice time per game with 16:17. In four playoff games, Lindholm’s average ice time jumped to 18:36, ranking fifth on Brynas. He finished the season as an SEL rookie of the year finalist.

“It’s pretty tough going into the men’s league,” Lindholm said. “They’re bigger, tougher and stronger. It’s more defensive and harder to get scoring chances in the zone.”

Lindholm said that as a younger player, he was more focused on skill. That changed as he matured as a hockey player.

“I think that’s part of the game, to be as solid all-around as possible,” he said. “I watched a lot of Peter Forsberg, and now when you play hockey, you have to be [an] all-around [player].”

Lindholm, 6-feet and 181 pounds, isn’t afraid to play a physical brand of hockey, either.

“He’s got some grit,” Rutherford said. “He’s on the puck, and he likes to muck for it.”

That’s one of the many aspects of Lindholm that attracted Robert Kron, who did a large majority of the scouting legwork, and the Hurricanes. Another? His affectionate personality and will to compete, both of which emerged in the team’s interview with him.

“He’s got a great personality. He’s very positive all the time, and he’s got a little bit of humor,” Rutherford said. “He’s a guy that has the character and leadership that we like to have.”

Asked what he knew about the Carolina organization, Lindholm said he played enough video games to be familiar with much of the roster. He also talked with fellow Swedes and team prospects Victor Rask and Erik Karlsson.

One day, the three could play alongside one another.

“Certainly Rask is getting closer. He’s going to turn pro this year, and his development has been very good,” Rutherford said. “I guess at some point in time that would be a possibility.”

For the 2013-14 season, Lindholm has two options: he could make the Hurricanes roster or, with one season remaining on his contract, he could play with Brynas in the SHL.

Asked if he would play in the NHL next year, Lindholm smiled and said, “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

As far as trading down from fifth overall was concerned, Rutherford said the team never had an offer that was appealing. His best option, he said, was to trade down farther than desired and acquire a good, NHL forward. If he were to have made a trade, he wanted to drop only a few spots and acquire a top-four defenseman.

That never presented itself, and the team got a player it coveted.

“We’re pretty happy to get him,” Rutherford said.



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 54 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 52 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 54 12 19 8 31
K. Versteeg 53 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 54 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 54 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 47 7 12 0 19
J. Nordstrom 43 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 54 3 11 -11 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 6 .908 2.38
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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