Avalanche Sign Defenseman Lindholm Before Draft Rights Expire

The Colorado Avalanche announced Tuesday that the team has signed Swedish blue liner Anton Lindholm to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The Avalanche selected Lindholm with the 144th overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and weren’t far away from losing his draft rights before locking him up with this contract.

Born in Skelleftea, Sweden, Lindholm, 21, recently finished his second full season in the Swedish Hockey League with his hometown club. Limited to just 30 games due to an injury, he had four points (all assists), 26 blocked shots, 18 penalty minutes, finished with a plus-3 rating and still led the team in hits with 85.

After the season, Lindholm played in three contests for Sweden’s national team at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It was the first time that Lindholm had represented his country on the international stage.

Prior to being drafted Lindholm basically grew up playing hockey for his hometown teams. He played for Skelleftea’s Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 junior and pro teams from 2009 to 2014.

The assumption is that the Avalanche will assign the defenseman to their AHL affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, for the start of the 2016-17 season, but he could see time at the NHL level starting as early as next year if he’s needed.