Elias Lindholm: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

Elias Lindholm: 2016-17 Carolina Hurricanes report card

If you have not yet, please help us prepare for the 2017-18 season by taking a reader survey (will be closing it soon) and considering a modest financial contribution for our ‘coffee fund.’ If you have been away and are catching up on the 2016-17 ‘report card’ series, you can find a clickable menu of previous articles at the bottom of the page.   Elias Lindholm’s starting point for the 2016-17 season Elias entered the 2016-17 season with 3 seasons and 221 games of NHL hockey under his belt. Given that he was only 21 years old, I do not think it would have been fair to call him a veteran, but he was no longer a wide-eyed, inexperienced kid either. During his first 3 seasons in the NHL, Lindholm had shown flashes of goodness in the form of a good play, a run of shifts or maybe even a couple games, but his potential as the #5 overall pick in a deep draft had come nothing close to being fulfilled. As of the end of the 2015-16 season, Lindholm was still prone to extended stretches with an invisibility cloak on the ice. He played entire games and sometimes multiple where one had to try just to notice him. He put up consecutive 39-point seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16, offering reasonable depth scoring but not really looking like the bona fide top 6 forward that he was drafted to become. In short, he entered his fourth NHL season in 2016-17 as a serviceable third line forward, nothing more, nothing less, but with an increasing urgency for him to push over...
Elias Lindholm: Has he officially turned the corner?

Elias Lindholm: Has he officially turned the corner?

We are far past the point where Elias Lindholm’s strong play is a surprise or a secret. I am not ready to declare him an NHL superstar yet because he is not. But for a player who has had fits, starts, small bursts but mostly slow development through almost 4 years, his current trend is unmistakably positive. It is hard to believe, but Elias Lindholm is very clearly an NHL veteran at this point in his career. He is at the tail end of his fourth full season in the NHL and will finish the 2016-17 season with just under 300 games of NHL experience. That ranks him seventh on the current Hurricanes’ roster. But at the same time, Lindholm is still only 23 years old and maybe just beginning to mature as a player with upside yet to be realized.   Elias Lindholm finds a higher gear in the second half of the 2016-17 season After 3 years of ups and downs and growing pains, Elias Lindholm appears to be turning the corner. When he scores his next point, he will set a career high, reaching 40 points for the first time. More significant is the switch that seemed to flip for him sometime around the midway point of the season. Lindholm tallied only 2 goals and 5 assists in his first 20 games in 2016-17 for a meager 28-point full season pace. In his next 10 games through the end of the 2016 calendar year, he posted a modestly improved 2 goals and 4 assists in 10 games. The math on that is a better 49-point full season...
Resetting expectations for Elias Lindholm

Resetting expectations for Elias Lindholm

An important starting point for any discussion about Elias Lindholm’s progress, potential and future is his age. Despite being in his fourth season in the NHL, Elias Lindholm is still only 21 years old. If he chose a career that required 4-year college degree, he would still be in his fourth year of school and not even started working yet. The NHL is a young man’s game with many stars in their early 20’s so that is not an apples to apples comparison, but the point that he is still incredibly young still holds.   2013 NHL draft: Initial expectations Elias Lindholm was selected fifth overall in a deep draft in 2012. Scouts and analysts had him in the second tier of players who were capable of being difference-makers and even superstars. Hurricanes fans drooled over comparisons to fellow Swede Peter Forsberg. And when then Hurricanes general manager more or less declared him an NHL roster player in June before he even arrived in Raleigh, expectations grew even further.   Summer 2013: A summer of setbacks Lindholm first arrived in Raleigh for the summer prospects camp shortly after he was drafted. Shortly into the camp, Lindholm took a big but seemingly harmless shoulder from Brendan Woods in a drill and was sidelined for the remainder of the prospects camp. The injury was not deemed to be serious but seemed to linger. He did not play in the Traverse City tourney with the other Hurricanes prospects and was even slowed at the beginning of the NHL training camp which started more than 2 months later. When Lindholm was again injured...
Carolina Hurricanes players with most upside from my 2016-17 projections

Carolina Hurricanes players with most upside from my 2016-17 projections

Carolina Hurricanes players facing bigger challenges in 2016-17 The Carolina Hurricanes 2016-17 season will be fascinating from the perspective of seeing players take on new challenges and watching how they perform. At least 1 rookie: Very likely, at least 1 rookie, Sebastian Aho, will enter the mix. He does so with no North American experience which makes it mostly a wild guess predicting how well he will do. Especially if injuries enter the mix, the potential is there to also see someone like Haydn Fleury play at the NHL level in his first season of professional hockey. The sophomores on the blue line in bigger roles: The season also sees 3 NHL sophomores in Jaccob Slavin, Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce expected to take on even greater roles with the departure of John-Michael Liles and the buy out of James Wisniewski. As of right now, Slavin could pair with Faulk on a first pairing and Noah Hanifin and Brett Pesce could be the second pairing. Wow! This time last summer, the question was how many years away this promising group was from being NHL regulars. Ryan Murphy is not a sophomore, but he too is another young player who could see more ice time and a bigger role. The new guy: Teuvo Teravainen, who was acquired from the Blackhawks, is another new face with significant potential. Jumping up from third line to first: The duo of Jeff Skinner and Victor Rask are currently expected to fill the hole left by Eric Staal and Kris Versteeg’s departure. Both had solid 2015-16 campaigns, but it was in more of a third...
Elias Lindholm – Hope for a ‘Swede’ Canes future

Elias Lindholm – Hope for a ‘Swede’ Canes future

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...