Gustav Lindstrom is on his way to Detroit. The Swedish defender got the call to the big leagues Wednesday morning alongside Taro Hirose. The timing of the recall comes subsequently with Mike Green being moved to injury reserve. Lindstrom, who the Red Wings drafted 38th overall in 2017, is expected to make his NHL debut Thursday night in Buffalo.
For a collection of reasons — be it injury, college free agency, or the looming trade deadline — expect this trend of young, fresh faces being recalled to continue. Only 28 games remain in the Red Wings’ probable last-place season. Early tryouts and the like is the next step in the process of both prospect development and building up for next season.
Lindstrom kicks off the tryouts and will most likely stay up with the club for nine games. Doing so will give him the maximum amount of playing experience without burning the first year of his entry-level contract.
The look of a young player, Gustav Lindstrom, who just found out from his coach, Ben Simon, he’s been recalled by the @DetroitRedWings and will likely make his National Hockey League debut in Buffalo Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/COwzAZ5DqC
— Bob Kaser (@bkaser1) February 5, 2020
Detroit has an interesting prospect on their hands. Not just for this upcoming nine game stint but long-term as well. Take a quick glance at his stat sheet with the Griffins (0 goals and 5 assists in 45 games) and the initial impressions aren’t strong. But there is more than meets the eye with Lindstrom’s game.
In a non-traditional sense, Lindstrom is a fine, safe projection to the NHL. When he plays to his strengths there is an effectiveness to his game. That’s largely why several scouting staffs (Holland regime, Yzerman regime) have taken such a liking to him, despite being far from the prototypical sexy defenseman.
Does he have the makings to become a top-4 blue-liner in the NHL? No. Simply put, Lindstrom is a puck mover with little-to-no aggressiveness on offense. That’s not what the modern day impact defenseman in the NHL looks like. But what he does resemble is a no nonsense puck mover who doesn’t panic under pressure with (reportedly) high character.
As a cheap option, who will make life easy on the head coach, that type of player can work. Expectations just need to be tempered because he’s not someone that will be putting up gaudy offensive numbers.
Examining his season to date, it’s no surprise Lindstrom has adjusted well to the speed of the AHL.
As a first year North American pro with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Lindstrom made the transition to this side of the pond after three years of playing pro in Sweden. There, Lindstrom played his way up to a regular with the SHL’s Frolunda Indians, culminating in both SHL and CHL championships. Before that he spent two seasons in Sweden’s second division pro league.
So, looking down the road, Lindstrom could be a piece to the Red Wings’ future top-6. He’s not everybody’s cup of tea, with the trade off being for a more offensively dynamic defender, but the organization seems to have high hopes for him. From that perspective the coach gets a player who supports the transition up ice, gives you the expected rather than the unexpected, and can even fill in on the powerplay in a pinch.
And as the saying goes: If you aren’t noticing your defenseman, that’s probably a good thing.
How valuable is that? That’s up for anybody’s interpretation, but one thing is for sure: he’ll be a focal point for fans over these next nine games. It should be interesting to see how he performs.