(Editor's note: Please welcome new contributor Andrew Ward. Andrew has also written for Dobber Hockey and Sunbelt Hockey and will help us with prospect news as well as other projects.)
If you follow the draft you’ve probably already read his draft report and heard his name. Elias Lindholm is the third ranked European forward in this year’s NHL Entry Draft and is ranked 6th overall by many scouts. As a Carolina fan you know this young Swedish forward will almost certainly be available if the Canes select 5th overall. A playmaker, Lindholm might provide that offensive charge the Canes so desperately needed in the second half of 2012-2013. The Hurricanes faced injuries and adversity and realized some depth at forward was lacking especially on the second and third lines. Some of The Hurricanes top six are at or nearing their thirties, adding depth for the future is obviously something every team needs to take into consideration. Adding quality depth that could eventually fill a top six role is a big step in the right direction.
This past season was somewhat of an enigma, nothing seemed to go right and when it did it didn’t last long, this was only magnified past the midpoint. What the Hurricanes needed was a spark from the front lines and consistency from their bottom six. In taking a risk on a player like Alexander Semin, many of us believed this was sure to be a year of good fortune for the extremely talented Canes. What the Hurricanes are missing is a total package sort of player, a combination of speed, physicality, great shot and vision, and responsibility with the puck all wrapped into one forward. Hard to find but not impossible, Elias Lindholm happens to posses that very combination coveted by many in the league. Lindholm creates along the boards and in the future allow players like Jeff Skinnerand Jiri Tlusty to do what they do best… Get open, be open, and finish. This team is full of finishers and prolific scorers but that just didn’t translate on the ice the way it should have in the second half of last season, and the forward depth really didn’t dazzle like it should on the second and third lines. Injuries played a large role, but injuries aside, scoring chances and quality of those chances declined steadily over the course of the last 20 games or so. A guy like Lindholm opens up space on the ice and sees the ice so well he creates chances out of nowhere.
A true two-way forward and playmaker, Elias Lindholm, is just what the Hurricanes need. At six feet and 181 pounds and lots of room to grow, Lindholm’s speed up the ice is deceptive and perfectly complements his buttery soft hands, almost as if they belong to two different skaters. When it comes to making passes his vision is something to behold, positioning the puck perfectly with very little effort. Lindholm skates hard every shift, which is something The Hurricanes can use more of, especially with the inconsistency they faced to close out the second half of the shortened season. Comfortable at both center and wing Elias Lindholm adds versatility and forward depth to an aging Hurricanes team and should be able to contribute almost immediately if called upon.
The Carolina Hurricanes would benefit from the specific skill set Lindholm brings to the table, which has drawn some vague comparison to none other than Peter "The Great" (Peter Forsberg) by some of his peers. Obviously this is probably draft buzz and should be taken cautiously, but the comparison does excite the imagination. The possibility of a player of this caliber falling to Carolina with a very high potential ceiling could be one too good for the Carolina Hurricanes to pass up.