Anaheim Ducks defenceman Hampus Lindholm has quietly established himself as one of the game’s most effective blue liners over his first three seasons in the National Hockey League.
The 22-year-old restricted free agent remains without a contract as the Ducks entered their second game of the season Saturday versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s early, but his absence has been noticeable.
Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman indicated that the two sides may be moving closer to new deal during Saturday’s edition of “Headlines” on Hockey Night in Canada.
“The word earlier in the week was that the Ducks and Hampus Lindholm were about $700,000 a year apart,” Friedman said. “I believe that gap has narrowed, it’s gotten closer. It’s not imminent, as far as I can tell, but they are moving closer.”
The Ducks currently have $323,335.00 in salary cap space, according to Generalfanager.com. Murray may have to tinker with his roster to find space for Lindholm.
“The big question is what’s that going to mean for the rest of their lineup? The name Cam Fowler has really been out there,” Friedman said. “The Ducks want to win the Stanley Cup this year. If they trade Cam Fowler for a prospect and a draft pick they’re not helping themselves win.
“I think Bob Murray is trying to find a way…can he do this without having to make a cap move that hurts his roster this season?”
Host Ron MacLean intimated that teams may be leaning on roster players to help lure RFAs back into the fold, a tactic which analyst Kelly Hrudey blasted.
“It’s wrong,” Hrudey said. “It’s bordering on despicable. How dare they call their teammate and say ‘hurry back, we need you.’ This is just business, it’s nothing more than that. If there’s a conversation to be had it should be ‘get what you can, do what’s right for you, we’ll welcome you back when it’s done.'”
The Ducks originally selected Lindholm sixth overall in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Lindholm scored 10 goals and totalled 28 points in 80 games last season. The native of Helsingborg, Sweden, has registered 23 goals and 92 points in 236 career NHL games.