Monday, May 20, 2013

Elias Lindholm and the 2013 draft class

If you follow the news about the upcoming 2013 NHL draft, you might have seen that by now the general feeling is that there is a tier of difference between the likes of Barkov, Drouin, Nichuskin and sometimes others (Jones and MacKinnon figure as the top two in nearly every list there is) and the next tier. Rarely if ever do you see Elias Lindholm mentioned in the same tier, despite the fact that in my opinion he should be. Not only that I think Lindhom is going to end up being the better player, ahead of Barkov, Drouin and Nichuskin, aside from Jones and MacKinnon there is no other player I would consider ahead of Lindholm in this draft.

So why does he get consistently rated below others? Well the simple fact is, most of Lindholm's strengths aren't all that visible with the naked eye, he does not have a standout factor like many others do, his technical skills are good but not elite, physically he is good but not elite. So why think so highly of Lindholm, he doesn't have the size of Barkov, he doesn't have the hands of Drouin, he doesn't have the skill and size combination of Nichuskin, what is it then? Elias Lindholm possesses a very rare trait, one that is invaluable in the NHL and in small rinks in particular and that is his ability to put it into overdrive – the 6th gear and the ability to make plays in very tight spaces with very little time, his vision is as good as there is in this draft but coupled with his aggression and the ability to make plays out of nothing with limited space and time makes him a special player. The willingness to attack the dirty areas of the ice with agression and the elusiveness coupled with the elite vision and very good hands to capitalize on those situations brings back the memories of another Swede – Peter Forsberg. Though expecting Lindholm to reach that level is a bit optimistic, I fully expect him to wreak havoc on opposition in much the same way stylistically. The combination of the willingness to play in the dirty areas of the ice, the elite vision, and the ability to switch into overdrive should be enough to put Lindholm into the discussion with the top forwards in this draft, I would go as far as putting him directly behind MacKinnon among forwards in the 2013 NHL entry draft.

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