From the moment the Detroit Red Wings drafted Gustav Lindstrom in the second-round of the 2017 NHL Draft there has been no shortage of puns comparing the similar surname of the young Swede to a former legendary blue-liner in Hockeytown. Unfortunately, a homogeneous sounding last name doesn’t guarantee the second-coming of arguably the best defenseman to ever wear the winged wheel - but that doesn’t mean the kid wont have a chance to impact the future of the team.
Birthplace: Ostervala, SWE
Drafted: 2017, 2nd Round, 38th overall
Current Team: Frölunda, SHL
2017-2018 statline: 39 GP, six goals, eight assists (+2)
Lindstrom signed his entry-level contract with Detroit in May of this year. He skated with Almtuna IS (Sweden’s second-highest league) in 2017-18, where his six total goals were good enough to tie for best among the team’s blue-liners. Lindstrom will look to take the next step in his career in 2018-19 by playing for Frolunda, one of the most well-respected clubs in the Swedish Elite League.
Jiri Fischer, Detroit’s director of player evaluation, commented on the importance of Lindstrom having a big year with Frolunda, the same team that helped develop this year’s first-overall pick, Rasmus Dahlin:
“This is going to be a big year,” Fischer said. “He needs to get really established at the elite level in men’s hockey in Sweden, and potentially at the end of the year start knocking on the door of the big national team when they bring extra players for the World Championship.”
Fischer went on to add:
“I think he would be a modern defender that can be in people’s faces and at the same time break out.”
Like most prospects, Lindstrom will have the normal hurdles to overcome on his way to the NHL, such as adding physical mass and learning to adapt to the speed and rink-size of North American hockey. At Detroit’s development camp earlier this summer, Lindstrom was noticeably bigger in size and is working hard to continue growing.
The Wings drafted Lindstrom in hopes of him becoming a reliable puck-moving defenseman, something he has shown to be capable of at this point in his career. It is also too early to judge whether or not he can be the type of defensive player that Detroit and the rest of the NHL so highly covet. It will be at least one more year before Lindstrom brings his game to North America, but until then, he is a prospect worth keeping an eye on as 2018 progresses.
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