The Toronto Maple Leafs made it offocial on Thursday and announced the signing of free agent centre Par Lindholm out of Sweden.
Lindholm was part of one of the top lines in Sweden’s best league this season, but where will he fit in with the Leafs and does he have NHL potential?
Here’s what you need to know about the newest Leaf.
From: Kusmark, Sweden
Weight: 187 pounds
CENTRED ONE OF THE SHL’S TOP LINES
Positioned between Joakim Lindstrom and Oscar Moller, Lindholm’s trio was one of the Swedish League’s top lines, dubbed the “Olympic Line” as they were kept together during the Pyeongchang Games. In Sweden, Lindholm scored 47 points in 49 games to finish fourth in league scoring — Lindstrom was third and Moller ninth.
The Olympics were less successful for Lindholm, as he was held to a single point in four games. Sweden was upset by Germany before the medal round.
According to Swedish reporter Uffe Bodin, 20 of the NHL’s 31 teams expressed interest in Lindholm’s services.
WHERE COULD HE FIT INTO THE LINEUP?
With centres Tomas Plekanec, Tyler Bozak and Dominic Moore all set to head to unrestricted free agency this July, the Maple Leafs are in need to re-stock with some depth at the position. Lindholm isn’t going to step right into a second line role with the team, but he’s been recognized for his two-way ability, which could lend itself to a bottom-six NHL role at some point.
“He is a centre who could lead a fourth line in the NHL, but also contribute on special teams. Par can be used in any situation,” agent Peter Wallen said, per eliteprospects.com.
As an undrafted 26-year-old, Lindholm is no doubt a later-bloomer and it’s not yet clear if he is an NHLer. But, especially in the past three years, he’s taken huge steps in his growth as a productive player.
Lindholm played three seasons in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second-highest pro league. In the first two, he totaled 28 points in 102 games, then broke out in 2013-14 with 42 in 52 games. In 2014-15 he moved into the SHL with Skelleftea and continued to grow, starting with 26 points in 54 games and growing into a near point-per-game player.
At the very least Lindholm will provide the Maple Leafs with an option at a position they’re weak in depth-wise and figure to lose more from this off-season. With a strong camp, Lindholm could play his way into a full-time spot.