Report: Maple Leafs agree to terms with Swedish centre Par Lindholm

The Toronto Maple Leafs have started addressing their depth issues at centre by signing Swedish free agent Par Lindholm, according to a report (Frank Franklin II/AP)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have started addressing their depth issues at centre by signing Swedish free agent Par Lindholm, according to a report from Uffe Bodin of hockeysverige.se.

Contract terms weren’t immediately available.

Lindholm centred one of the top lines in the Swedish Hockey League last season and finished as its fourth leading scorer with 47 points in 49 games for Skelleftea AIK. His trio with Joakim Lindstrom and Oscar Moller was dubbed the “Olympic Line” after Tre Kronor kept them together during the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Lindholm received interest from more than half of the NHL’s 31 teams, sitting down for face-to-face meetings with several of them during the season. The 26-year-old centre is considered a smart, competitive player by NHL scouts, though some wonder how well his skating will translate to the speedy North American game.

Swedish national team coach Rickard Gronborg calls Lindholm an “old-fashioned centre with great awareness.”

“He plays a two-way responsible game with sparks of offensive touch,” Gronborg told Sportsnet via text. “He is easy to coach and can, with some work, fill ice time as a PK or PP player in an NHL roster.”

Lindholm should get an opportunity to win a bottom-six role with the Leafs next season.

Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri are the only two NHL centres currently under contract with the Leafs for 2018-19. Tyler Bozak, Tomas Plekanec and Dominic Moore are all due to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Europe has become a fertile ground for the Leafs to improve organizational depth in recent years, with Nikita Zaitsev, Andreas Borgman, Calle Rosen, Nikita Soshnikov and Miro Aaltonen among those they’ve signed.

Russian defenceman Igor Ozighanov is also expected to join Toronto this off-season.

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