The rollercoaster ride as a Canes fan has been characterized by some incredible playoff highs that have each time been followed by struggles, bottoming out and then doing it again. During the down times, it takes two things to stay positive as a Hurricanes fan. The first is remembering the good times in the past (and the Canes have some great ones). The second is projecting to the future and optimistically (and hopefully legitimately) hoping for a return to glory. The optimism for the future is gained from having good young players. As the #4 draft pick in the 2014 NHL draft, Elias Lindholm is one of the current reasons for optimism.
Labeled as a good all-around forward with hockey smarts and compared to Swedish countryman Peter Forsberg, how could fans not like the potential of Elias Lindholm on his way into the organization? He was quickly promoted as a future star and more or less handed a roster spot for the 2014-15 team before he even stepped foot in Raleigh. But his start proved to be a struggle when he was injured in the July rookie camp and then again in the NHL training camp. In his up and down rookie season of 2014-15, Lindholm finished with a modest nine goals and 12 assists in 58 games. Along the way, he showed plenty of flashes of the talent for which he was drafted, but as is typical for young rookies, consistency was elusive.
The 2014-15 season was a big step up for Elias Lindholm. He stayed healthy, playing 81 of 82 games. He looked more comfortable and ready for the NHL pace and game. He was a good two-way, all-around forward that he was drafted to become. And driven by his playmaking ability, his production took a significant step up to 17 goals and 22 assists which was even more impressive if you adjust for the fact that it came with the 27th best offense in the league.
If one was to build a core for optimism for the future for the Carolina Hurricanes, Elias Lindholm would be amongst the leaders of that group and a player who you would hope to be seeded much higher in a similar bracket event ten years from now.