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Photo Credit: HockeySverige.se

Report: Canucks interested in Swedish UFA Par Lindholm

It appears that the Canucks are looking overseas for some reinforcements for next season.

In the weekly ’31 Thoughts article, according to Elliotte Friedman from Sportsnet, the Canucks have interest in Par Lindholm from Skellefteå AIK in the SHL. The full thought is below:

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Lindholm is coming off a season that saw him post 18 goals and 29 assists in 49 SHL games and followed that up with 11 points (6-5-11) in 16 playoff games. He primarily played between Oscar Moller and Joakim Lindstrom on the top line seeing an average ice time of 19:02 per game. Lindstrom finished 3rd in regular season scoring and was named the most valuable player, while Lindholm was close behind in fourth and Moller was in 9th. Skellefteå AIK was the only team to have three players in the top 10 in scoring to close out the year.

It is worth adding that Lindholm had those 11 playoff points in Skellefteå AIK’s first 12 playoff games before meeting the Vaxjo Lakers in the SHL finals. Skellefteå AIK was held to one goal in four games and obviously, Lindholm wasn’t part of that lone goal. Vaxjo dominated the entire series en route to the sweep, so there isn’t much to take away from Skellefteå’s side.

Lindholm did represent Sweden at the Olympic games this year, scoring one goal in four contests.

The Swedish centre is known for his playmaking abilities but does have an ability to finish with an understated shot that he can load up pretty well. He is listed as 5’11” and 180 lbs on some sites but is measured as 6’2″ and 195 lbs on one of the more recent measurings and on hockeydb. His game is something that could translate to the NHL and that is likely why multiple teams have expressed interest in him over the last year. But it’s always worth being cautious on how much of an impact a player like Lindholm can make and you don’t need to look any further than his linemates this season. Moller was unable to find his footing within the Kings organization and Lindstrom appeared in 150 NHL games over a few years but just couldn’t hold down a spot in Columbus, Toronto, Colorado, and St Louis.

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From a Canucks standpoint, taking a risk on someone like Lindholm makes sense.

It’s clear there is some issues with depth at the centre position and targetting a European free agent like Lindholm allows the Canucks to minimize the financial and commitment risk of the NHL free agent market. Doesn’t mean that they won’t also explore that avenue to provide more depth, but they won’t be as desperate to add there. Not exceptionally fleet of foot but has a decent stride and can keep up.

With the expectation that Brandon Sutter will continue with the defensive responsiblities, it would allow Bo Horvat and another centre, persumably Lindholm, be the offensive drivers. Which is probably why the Canucks are attractive to the Sverige native.

It’s fair to suggest that Lindholm isn’t going to vault this team into the playoffs but his skillset is an intriguing option for down the middle. It would insulate Elias Pettersson and allow him to get his feet wet at the NHL level on the wing and give the Canucks a centre that is good at moving the puck to his wingers. From a management standpoint and given where the Canucks are in their life cycle right now, I think taking a risk on someone like Lindholm is a more worthwhile venture than committing long term to someone on the NHL UFA market.

At his point, it’s all just rumours and reports, so we’ll have to wait and see if the Canucks do indeed lock up the free agent.