[Editor’s Note: WIIM would like to welcome Patrik Bexell back. He’s often found writing for Habs Eyes on the Prize, but has provided European coverage for us in the past thanks to his location in Sweden. You can find him @Zeb_Habs on Twitter]
Gustav Lindström has started his SHL career in a very good way; Frölunda tops the table at the international break, Lindström is mostly on the first pairing with Chay Genoway, he has scored his first SHL goal, and the underlying stats are looking good.
Frölunda controls more of the play/shots with Lindström is on the ice, and he is on the ice for a lot of time.
Coach Roger Rönnberg is his usual self when he shouts out “The world press is here today!”, knowing that he will have to speak English when I am around. When asked about Lindströms progress Coach Rönnberg cant really stop himself from talking, the rapid fire English is in stark contrast to his normal measured pace; “He has a really fast progress right now. He is a quick learner, has tremendous character and he is both unselfish and humble. Also he is a good listener, he is learning at a fast pace - mentally and hockey wise. He is at the right track but we do need to be patient with his off ice [training], he needs to build the body for a long career, a lot of his improvement is in the gym right now”.
In the game the day before Lindström had taken a pair of quick minors but also a personal 10 min misconduct, when asked about if Lindström is unpolished Coach Rönnberg jumps to the defence of his young adept “He plays hard, of course he needs to be more disciplined on the ice and not draw penalties and its a thin line there and I think as he is growing, and gets stronger and bigger, it wont be needed to go into the battle that hard. That’s also something we work with”. Rönnberg continues “He is a tremendous smart player, his smart with his decision making on the ice, with and without the puck, that really is his strength in my eyes along with his mentality, he is a confident calm kid and he has ‘that’ mindset of playing defence”.
When asked if Mr. Rönnberg is surprised with the development and the ability of Lindström to raise his game from Allsvenskan to SHL its a confident coach that finishes the interview with “Surprised, no, but impressed!”.
In contrast to Rönnbergs rapid fire English, its a shy and cautious Gustav Lindström that weighs his answers a few hours later. “It is everything I expected it to be [SHL]; every player is better, in everything they are more skilled and stronger on the puck. Its a few steps up from last year. I think it has been good so far”.
“I think it has been smoother than I thought it would be. Of course I try and work hard every day, but some days I am a bit more tired than other days, but I keep working and doing my best every day, and I will continue with that” Lindström says in regards to his transition to Swedens top league. When confronted with Rönnbergs statement that he needs to work hard in the gym Lindström laughs and says: “I try to, yes”.
When I bring up Thursdays game and asks if his temper is a problem or gives him an edge, Lindström makes it clear that its how he has always played and he wont change that bit “Its part of my game, of course I like to play the puck and find the great passes. But I also want to play hard and physical. That’s something I have been doing all my life, I like it to play physical”. He finishes with a laugh “I just want a better understanding from the refs sometimes!”
Detroit takes a keen interest in their prospect and connects with Lindström regularly in fact Frölunda and Lindström will have good company next week: “Shawn Horcoff will be here next week, and he will be here for two three days”. But Detroit did not push for Lindström to go to one of the best teams in Sweden “I think they were fine wherever I wanted to go. They seem happy with my choice of Frölunda. They have a good relationship with the coaches since before and with Christoffer Ehn’s development they have known the club for some time”.