Canes fans may have to wait to see top pick Lindholm
Posted June 30, 2013
The Carolina Hurricanes, with the fifth pick in the NHL draft Sunday, went with Swedish center Elias Lindholm. Good news for Hurricanes fans: he has been compared to Peter Forsberg, a solid two-way player that is a skilled playmaker. Bad news is that he plans to honor his contract and play in Sweden next year, so it looks like he will not play for the Hurricanes until the 2014-15 season.
“When we considered this player and where he is at, that he is already playing with men, and feel he will either play with the Hurricanes this year or the following year,” said Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford.
Immediate thoughts on Lindholm are that he is one of the more complete players in the draft. Listed at 6-foot and 192 pounds, he gives the organization more depth down the middle.
“He plays center and right wing so that gives Kirk Muller options there and we feel he has a good chance to make our team this year,” Rutherford said. “His contract in Sweden doesn’t affect what he does with the Hurricanes, the only thing it would affect if he didn’t make the Hurricanes he couldn’t go to Charlotte to continue his development, he would have to go back to Sweden.”
The plus for Lindhom, should he in Sweden for a year, is he’ll be more mature and gain experience playing against skilled pro players in the Swedish Elite league.
The rumors flying around Sunday morning had the team dealing the selection for an established defenseman or moving down the draft board. In the end, the organization was committed to improving the depth of the team with the top-five selection.
“We had teams that were considering defensemen and we didn’t get to that, they went in a different direction," Rutherford said. "We had a couple of really good offers with NHL forwards to move further down in the draft than what we wanted to move."
The team almost hit the jackpot with top-rated defenseman Seth Jones falling down the draft board, but it was Nashville with the fourth selection taking a player that would have stepped right into an important role for the Hurricanes. Nashville couldn’t pass on the chance to take Jones, leaving the Hurricanes to strengthen the organization at the center spot.
“We just felt that Lindholm was going to help the Hurricanes quite a bit sooner than what any defenseman that could have taken,” Rutherford said.
Carolina needed to add a player that is NHL-ready, and it looks like they did with Lindholm, except the fans will have to wait.