The Vancouver Canucks finally inked Kelowna Rockets forward Kole Lind to a three-year entry level contract. The 19-year-old has been shredding the WHL with the Rockets and has certainly earned his shot with the Canucks.
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 1, 2018
Despite being held back by injury and illness, Lind has still manged to impress the hell out of Canucks’ general manager, Jim Benning.
“We’ve been impressed not only with his high-end offensive skill but also in the way he battles, sees the ice and makes plays in the defensive end.”- Benning said in a release.
Lind and the Rockets
Last season, with the Rockets, Lind chalked up 30 goals and assisted on an additional 57 in just 70 games. This season, in only 51 games, Lind has already found twine 35 times and recorded 50 apples.
With his stellar output this season, it’s no surprise that the Canucks sent a contract Lind’s way. On top of his offensive game, Lind also plays a tough two-way game that puts smiles on coach’s faces. He’s not afraid to bang bodies and get in the dirty areas and throw his weight around.
“He’s a playmaker who can also find the back of the net and isn’t shy about playing physical either.” – Jeff Marek, Sportsnet
His prowess this season earned a spot in the Canada/Russia Series and he dominated out there. Unfortunately, he was not utilized by Team Canada in the 2018 World Junior Championship in a very questionable decision.
Despite the WJC snub, injury and illness, Lind has impressively managed to put all of that in his rear-view and keep pressing on, growing and developing as he does. His development has earned him top-six NHL projections and that’s exactly where the Canucks hope to see him land.
Lind and the Canucks
A puck-moving, tough and skilled winger is exactly what Lind is and he’s exactly what the Canucks need moving forward. The back-nine of this 2017-18 season will be a good time to evaluate the Canucks’ upcoming talent and we are likely to see Lind getting a solid amount of looks.
The fact that Lind contributes offensively and also plays with a physical edge makes him a very versatile forward that can either bolster a team’s bottom-six or add some additional grit and skill to a top-six unit. I’d expect Lind to get some time playing with recently acquired Tyler Motte and either Sam Gagner or Brandon Sutter down the middle — so, a third-line look to start.
Travis Green may also choose to toss Lind into the man-advantage rotation, likely on the second unit. He plays well on his off-wing and has a great shot coming off the wall. He’s also been known to float high-slot for re-directions and/or one-timers.
The Insurance Goal of the game in Tuesday night's 5-2 win over Medicine Hat was scored by #16 Kole Lind. For a full list of this year's insurance goals click here: https://t.co/3OOBREz1AR #InsuranceGoals 🚀🚀 pic.twitter.com/WXwfGnpL0o
— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) January 31, 2018
The Canucks may, understandably, throw him into a bottom-six role but it’s important to note that Lind is no stranger to playing with elite talent. On the Rockets, Lind plays alongside Dillon Dube, who is largely regarded as one of the best players in the WHL. He also played with talent like Cody Glass and Michael Rasmussen in the Canada/Russia series, jelling quite nicely with the two top-10 NHL draft picks.
“The chemistry was there. Cody and Michael both went top-10 (in this year’s NHL draft) so they’re easy guys to play with. We definitely knew where each other were for most of the game.” – Lind told the Regina Leader Post
His play-making abilities give him that ability to slot in with prominent talent and, who knows, Green might just decide to toss him in with some notable talent. Also, depending on how the Northeastern Huskies fare in the NCAA Frozen Four, Adam Gaudette could see some NHL action late in the season and he could be a good fit with Lind — a two way presence spiced up with some serious offensive game.
Are you excited about Kole Lind? Where do you think he will fit in with the Canucks? Let me know down below!
Matt is a longtime fan, player and student of the game of hockey. Broadcast and Online Journalism student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.