The Detroit Red Wings selected 6’2 defensemen from Sweden Gustav Lindstrom 38th overall in the 2017 NHL draft. This was my personal favorite pick of the draft made by Detroit, but many Wings fans were unsatisfied with this selection due to Lindstrom being ranked much lower then where he was selected.
Bob Mckenzie had Lindstrom ranked the highest at 85th, however it is worth noting that 25 NHL teams showed interest in Lindstrom. While it is unlikely all 25 teams had serious interest in him, it is fair to assume 3 or 4 teams did, making it unlikely for him to fall to one of the four 3rd rounders Detroit had.
Going off the board isn’t always a bad idea, if their is a player you really like that has the slightest possibility of not falling to your next pick. For example, the Philadelphia Flyers selected Peter Forsberg 6th overall in 1991, despite him being projected to go in the 2nd round. 26 years later Forsberg has won an Art Ross, Hart Trophy, 2 Stanley Cups, and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.While I’m not comparing Lindstrom to Forsberg, I’m merely saying if you like a player that bad, don’t risk not getting that player, better to be safe rather then sorry. Disregarding Lindstrom’s draft rankings he is an excellence defensive prospect.
What does he bring to the table?
Lindstrom is a right hand shot defensemen who plays with tremendous confidence. When under pressure he does not panic and remains calm. He uses a great first pass to move the puck up the ice without hesitation, he makes decisions quick and most of the time they are the right decisions. I would compare him to Sharks defensemen Marc Edouard Vlasic as they both show excellent composure and can read the play very well.
It is in the offensive zone where Lindstrom plays best. While I would not classify him as a full on offensive defensive defensemen, he is active and allows himself to be in option for the forwards. His numbers back up his strength in the offensive zone. Lindstrom trailed only Timothy Liljegren in P/GM in Sweden’s 2nd teir league Allsvenskan for 1st year eligible defensemen with 9 points in 48 games. Lindstrom’s stock really started to rise when he put up 7 points in 4 games for Sweden at the U19s.
Lindstrom’s skating does need work. He has had some difficulty keeping up with the opposing attackers on the rush, as he struggles with pivoting and is often blown right by. This does not affect him in the defensive end of the ice, as he shows good positioning and fights hard in puck battles along the boards.
While he does not posses the most high end skill, he can still make a move to beat a defender here and their. Going back to my comparison of Marc Edouard Vlasic, they may not have Erik Karlsson type skill levels but they are not afraid to make a play on their own once and a while.
Playing over in Europe, their is very limited footage of Lindstrom, however their is video of a very strong game he played in the J20 Elit. He is the right handed defensemen in red.
Lindstrom shows a type of confidence and determination that you do not typically see in players his age. I love how he is not lethargic in the offensive zone but is also generally back and ready to play defense. He is a bit of a project, i would not expect to see him permanently wearing the winged wheel in 3 or 4 years, however when he reaches that point, depending on if he can take his game to the next level, he could be a solid number 2 or 3 defensemen. Unfortunately despite being only one letter off from Red Wings icon Nicklas Lidstrom, I think we can all agree it is extremly unlikely Lindstrom will be able to reach the high quality of play that Nick had. With that being said I do not think even in a joking manner,it is a good idea to put that kind of pressure on this young kid to have to be the next Nick Lidstrom
Hakan Andersson on Gustav Lindstrom: “We are working on getting that ‘n’ away from his name.”
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) June 24, 2017
Overall, I feel, Lindstrom was a great selection, and I feel it is unfair for people to dislike the pick based on where he was ranked. I am excited to see how he develops down the road.