Elias Lindholm was given a six-year, $29.1-million contract by the Calgary Flames despite having never worn his new team’s uniform and having never scored more than 17 goals or 45 points in any of his five NHL seasons.
Some Flames fans had raised eyebrows when it was announced the 23-year-old’s cap hit was going to be $4.85 million considering his point totals don’t necessarily jump off the page.
Offensively, Lindholm’s numbers over the past three seasons are comparable to the likes of Sam Reinhart, Dylan Larkin, Bo Horvat, Jakob Silfverberg, Alex Killorn, Kevin Hayes and Adam Henrique (who earned a more lucrative contract than Lindholm on the same day) to name a few.
Lindholm, when speaking to Sportsnet 960 Tuesday, described himself as a two-way forward that tries to work hard every night but made it clear he expects his goal and point totals to increase once he steps on the ice wearing a Flames sweater.
“I think the depth we have throughout the forwards can help me,” Lindholm said. “Hopefully I can score some more goals. That’s my main goal this year.”
It’s unclear where head coach Bill Peters will place Lindholm into Calgary’s lineup, but there is a potential open spot on the top line beside Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.
“Sean Monahan, since he came into the league, is a superstar,” Lindholm said of his new teammate. “It’s fun to see that he’s up there [among the league’s top forwards] and that’s where I want to be too. Hopefully I can take that step in Calgary.”
Flames general manager Jim Treliving hopes and thinks he can take that step too.
“We think he’s a real good player,” Treliving told Sportsnet 960. “Elias will probably be the first to tell you he hasn’t reached yet the offensive production that either he or maybe others thought he would by this time. We think he can be a player that’s gonna pop.”
Although he’s new to Calgary, Lindholm will be more familiar with Peters than any Flames players since they’ve spent the past four years together.
“He trusts my game so obviously it’s more comfortable coming in [to a new team] knowing the coach from before,” Lindholm said. “It makes my move easier to get used to the system and Calgary as well.”
Lindholm was selected fifth overall by the Hurricanes in 2013—one spot ahead of where the Flames took Monahan—and has been in the NHL since he was 18 but has only known pre- and regular season play.
“I was there for five years and obviously the most disappointing thing is that we didn’t make the playoffs in all my years there,” he explained. “I know Carolina had to do some things and they told me if we couldn’t make a deal [on a new contract] they would probably trade me. I was ready for that and to me that’s the NHL. Things happen quick and you’ve got to be ready for anything.”
I'm super excited and proud to be a part of the @NHLFlames for the next 6 years so many people to thank! Looking forward to a new chapter in my Career. Can't wait to get started pic.twitter.com/2oHUyx2fJK
— Elias Lindholm (@lindholmelias) July 16, 2018
“We lost too much in Carolina,” Lindholm added. “[I was] kind of sick and tired of that. I just want to make the playoffs and go as far as possible. … The thing about hockey [in Canada] is it’s crazy, so I’m super excited to join that. I think it’s more me, like, living hockey 24 hours [a day].”