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Photo Credit: Photo by Jay Wallace ISN

Kole Lind’s Consistency Bodes Well For Canucks

It’s no secret the Canucks aren’t exactly the model of consistency. They go periods of time where no goals are scored and then the floodgates open, they allow boatloads of goals and then practically shut the door for a week. This season a player like Loui Eriksson goes off for a week and then falls silent for almost a month.

The Rebuild has seen pockets of production and growth but nothing that suggests the script has finally been flipped.

Enter Kole Lind.

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He is currently on an impressive tear with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL:

He’s no Aleksi Heponiemi, but Canucks fans need reinforcement that their favourite team is starting to hit on their draft picks and a player of Lind’s ability speaks well for the future. Since being drafted in the second round last year, Lind has been targeted a lot more. Not really surprising for a guy taken as high as he was.

It would be reasonably expected to see a player like him regress slightly with the added attention after being drafted but Lind is getting better, and his confidence is visible when he strides down the wing. Lind has a “don’t take any crap” attitude, and he isn’t a stranger to the penalty box either with 49 PIM this season.

In the tweet above, Lind isn’t just on a point streak that sees an assist here and a goal there — he’s averaging two points-per-game. Ridiculous! Brock Boeser could use a guy like that on his off wing. There is a chance in the not too distant future where that could become a reality, and it’s safe to say the playmaking winger could benefit even more from a player like Boeser and vice versa.

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Lind started the season on an eight-game point streak netting seven goals and ten assists with four of those games being multi-point outings. He started a new eight-game streak just six games later. Lind took one game off before starting his current 16-game tear. Kelowna has relied so heavily upon Lind to drive play and provide offence especially while Dillon Dube, Lind’s Rocket teammate, was away captaining the Canadian World Junior team to a Gold medal.

The 33rd overall pick didn’t just carry the team during that time; he dominated for it.

Kole was cut from the Canadian Junior Team this year, and much like Brock Boeser channelling his anger after the recent hit from Trevor Lewis, Lind was pissed right off and took it out on his opponents.

He responded the only way he knew how: by putting up points.

In his first game back with Kelowna, Lind arrived in Prince Albert to play the Raiders and notched a hat-trick. Not bad for his first game back. It didn’t end there, though. The very next night in Saskatoon, Lind couldn’t find the back of the net, but his teammates did, four times off passes from his stick.

OK, but then Christmas came, so he probably took some time before he got going again, right? Nope. First game back against the Kamloops Blazers he notched a goal and the very next night in Kamloops he decided to put up yet another hat-trick.

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Just in case you needed a reminder, Lind is consistent.

But, it’s not just his repeated contributions that are the bright spot in his game, it’s the way he’s getting it done. He leads the Rockets with five GWG and six times this season he has scored the first goal which in the Canucks case is very important. Having your top players lighting the lamp first is a great way to lead by example.

His advanced stats are just great:

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Looking at Lind’s percentage of team goals created, he leads the Rockets with 34.25%, over half of his goals come at even strength, and 63% of his assists are primary assists. One would think then that everything flows through him, but then you have to remember that Dube is also on that team as are brothers Cal and Nolan Foote. It’s an embarrassment of riches in Kelowna.

If you’ve missed out on everything Lind has done, Canucks Army’s prospect guru Ryan Biech has kept fans visually informed with every goal Lind has scored via his famous GIF tweets. Hopefully, he has a massive hard drive to store all of those goals.

Kole Lind is as steady as they come and right throughout his statistical library, he consistently leads a ton of categories. The Canucks truly hit a home run with that pick and sooner than later, he’ll be impressing Canucks fans just as he has the locals in the Okanagan.

 



  • defenceman factory

    People have queried about other players the score at a similar rate as Lind in the dub. I posted this under Blackfish but here it is again.

    I put together a quick list of 18 and 19 yr olds that have scored 1.65 points per game or better in the WHL over the last several years. Going through the list, some familiar names, solid NHLers and some that just haven’t panned out.
    2009/10 – Branden kozun, jordan eberle, brayden schenn
    10/11 – Linden Vey
    11/12 – brendan schinnimin, mark stone, jordan weal, Emerson Etem, Sven Baertschi
    12/13 = brenden leipsic, ty rattie
    13/14 = mitch holmberg, Leo Draisaitl, Sam Reinhart
    14/15 – oliver bjorkstrand, nic petan
    15/16 – adam brooks, jayce hawryluk, Brayden Point
    16/17 – sam steel

    • JawKnee

      Thanks for this. Seems like success in the WHL (when defined as putting up lots of points anyhow) doesn’t necessarily mean anything for success in the NHL, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. I wonder if his other stats there would match up better with former WHL players that have found success in the NHL

      • defenceman factory

        I’m a fan of the Rockets and have seen Lind play dozens of times and have put up numerous posts cautioning about Lind’s limitations. There are reasons for optimism; points, work ethic, hockey sense and he is also a pretty good penalty killer and quite sound defensively. Lind has improved a great deal this year over last. No reason to think that growth can’t continue.

        There are also reasons to temper expectations of what Lind will become. He has had a tendency to disappear in big games. He completely vapourized last year in the conference final series. Many of his points are from multi point games where he has exploited a weak team or poor match-up. Many of his penalties are of the “bad” variety, after the whistle, frustration and retaliation type. I don’t think he has ever dropped the gloves. I’m also concerned that, as Ryan Beich’s analysis showed, Lind and Dillon Dube do not have positive cohort stats with each other. They are the best forwards on the Rockets and just don’t work well together. What bothers me most is Lind’s almost complete lack of physicality. I don’t expect skill players to be throwing big hits but every NHL player uses the body to separate the opponent from the puck. Lind very rarely does that but relies on stick work when checking. He avoids contact and won’t go into the corners on the forecheck. Lind is still skinny at 175 lbs but lots of time to put some weight on and become a bit more physical.

        • Surely, some of those deficiencies can be ironed out as he matures such as the bad penalties. After taking a bad penalty at the pro level and getting benched, that would be a wake-up call. As for physicality, I’m sure Johnny Gaudreau isn’t getting minutes for his boardwork. Juolevi gets credit for not being physical but having good hockey sense and stick work. At least Lind has a good offensive foundation, something that’s sorely lacking in the current line-up.

        • East Van Dan

          Hm, thanks for sharing your observations. All stuff we’ll have to watch for as he approaches the NHL and gets opportunities in future camps, pre-season, limited games, etc.

  • Bud Poile

    According to Scott Cullen’s stats thesis those picked at #33 have a 32% success rate of playing 100 + NHL games.
    Lind is having a great year. Try to enjoy it share in his success.

    No. 31-35
    At least 100 NHL games (or extremely likely): 32.4%

    • Sandpaper

      Aren’t you the guy that got banned from another site for being confrontational, always picking fights, talking politics and generally just being a Richard?

  • Rayman

    yeah, than again, Green will sit him first 10 games, for TOUGH LOVE, you must earn your spot-thing, and will drive every fans mad, again…

    imagine if Boeser played all 42 games ,20 mins every nights. He should have 60 points right now.

    • canuckfan

      Green has deployed Boeser just as he should be. At the beginning of the season he was sat because of how tired he looked at the end of exhibition season. He had played a lot from the end of last season, prospect which maybe he didn’t need to, young stars another he didn’t need to. It has worked out well for Brock and Green wants to win and deploys him when they are needing a goal.

      • crofton

        I seriously doubt he was that tired. Look at Gaudreau’s games played as perhaps the best example. His first 2 full years he played 82 and 79 games. The 3rd year was 72 due to injuries.

  • Cageyvet

    I guess posting on this article is begging for trashes no matter what your take is, even though most of the comments seemed fair in their evaluation.

    As we’ve seen many times, lighting up the AHL is no guarantee of NHL success, never mind output in the WHL. Still, as Benning said at the draft, “Why isn’t anybody taking Kole Lind?” Seems like an excellent pick, let’s hope he’s one of the success stories of his statistical cohort. There’s certainly reason for optimism.

  • Chris the Curmudgeon

    Look, I mean Heponiemi’s numbers are pretty amazing, but the dude weighs 141 lbs. Sure, he might that out a lot, and I hate the thinking that only big bruisers belong in the NHL, but there’s a point below which you really have to question if a guy can ever physically handle the league. I mean shoot, people ask that about Petterson and he’s listed a full 20 lbs heavier than Aleksi at the same age. I think Lind could end up being one of the real gems of the Benning drafting era, the kind of guy a good team always needs to be able to unearth in the 2nd round.