Player: Elias Lindholm
Drafted By: Carolina Hurricanes (5th overall)
Final Central Scout Ranking: No. 3 European skater
Height/Weight: 5’11”, 183 lbs
DOB: December 2, 1994 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: SEL, Brynas IF Gavle
Elias Lindholm’s father, Mikael, was a 12th-round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 1987 and played 18 games with the Kings before returning to Sweden, where he had a lengthy career in the Elitserien, or the Swedish Elite League.
Elias is projected to be a far better player than his father. Already in the SEL, Lindholm went scoreless in 18 games with Brynas in 2011-12 but had 11 goals and 30 points in 48 games last season.
He got a little playoff experience in 2012-13 but did not have any points in four games in his one and only stint in the SEL.
Full Scouting Report
Lindholm possesses excellent speed and quickness, but his biggest strength is his vision. A creative player who is patient with the puck, Lindholm projects to be a playmaker rather than a sniper. He has a decent shot, but it needs work if he is going to score at the next level.
“Another prototypical Swedish forward with excellent NHL upside,” writes Bill Placzek of DraftSite.com. “At this point more of a playmaker, but his recent showings have displayed a really smart offensive threat who can withstand the rough going, while maintaining his more finesse style of play.”
Scouts and analysts are already comparing the 18-year-old Swede to Peter Forsberg.
“The comparison to Forsberg, particularly in Sweden, is a lofty one,” writes Sunaya Sapurji of Yahoo! Sports. “Like Forsberg, Lindholm is a complete player—a good skater, extremely smart, skilled with and without the puck, and both a deft passer and capable goal-scorer.”
The fact that he is already playing in Sweden’s top men’s league alongside younger players who have already been drafted into the NHL and older guys who have already spent time playing at the game’s highest level means he should be capable of making an impact in the NHL.
NHL Player Comparison
Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals. He can play in all three zones, has the motor of a Koenigsegg and has excellent vision.
Because he has succeeded in the SEL at such a young age, he should have a smooth transition to the NHL in the near future. He needs to work on his shot, but otherwise can forecheck, backcheck and win faceoffs as well as find his teammates when they are open around the net. As one of the most experienced players in the 2013 draft class, do not be shocked if he makes his NHL debut in the 2014-15 season.
Projected to be a Selke Trophy winner during his career due to his strong defensive play, Lindholm has the ability and hockey IQ to be the next Peter Forsberg.
In his prime, expect him to be a No. 1 center and a leader on a contending team.