On March 1, the Florida Panthers announced they have signed Finnish defenseman Petteri Lindbohm to a one-year deal. The contract is a one-way deal worth $750,000. This pick-up is a move to help solidify their third defensive pairing and give the team depth on the blue line.
Career Outlook of Lindbohm
Lindbohm was drafted in the sixth round (176th overall) back in 2012 by the St. Louis Blues. In 2013, he would serve as the captain of his home country of Finland in the 2013 IIHF U20 World Championships (WJC), where he would assist on two goals in six games played. He wouldn’t see his NHL debut until 2014 and would dress for a total of 40 games through three seasons for St. Louis, tallying three points (two goals, one assist). Throughout his time as a Blues prospect, he would spend it in Chicago with the Wolves of the American Hockey League (AHL) as he played 171 games for them, scoring 48 points (18 goals, 30 assists). Additionally, he was activated for 14 Calder Cup playoff games, piling up five points (one goal, four assists). In 2019, he would help lead Finland to a gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championships and to a silver medal in 2021.
This year, he was back in his birthplace playing for Jokerit of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), where he was featured in 45 games, tallying eight points (three goals, five assists). In addition, he was part of Finland’s gold medal team in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing last month, notching two assists through six matches. The 28-year-old defenseman has been around the world in just a few years.
With that being said, what could make him work out with the Panthers?
Familiarity with Current Panthers Roster
In 2013, Lindbohm played alongside the Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov at the 2013 WJC. In 2019, he was a teammate of forward Eetu Luostarinen on the gold medal-winning Finland team. In 2021, he was rostered with rookie center Anton Lundell on a Silver Medal-winning team. In addition to his teammates, the Panthers assistant coach in Tuomo Ruutu was an assistant coach for Team Suomi in 2019 and in 2021.
With that in mind, the chemistry and familiarity are already there for Lindbohm and will help him settle in quickly in his new home in South Florida. Furthermore, he has other Finnish teammates in defensemen Olli Juolevi and Markus Nutivaara when he resumes skating. It will be as if he never left Helsinki.
Lindbohm Immediately Fixes Defensive Depth
As previously mentioned, Lindbohm was brought in mainly as a cheap option to add depth to their defense. Before his arrival, there was a revolving door at Florida’s third defensive pairing, which has seen multiple faces all season long. Assuming he performs well, he could come in and earn himself the third defensive spot and put an end to their defensive depth problems that has plagued them all season.
He Brings Toughness and a Good Defensive Mindset to the Lineup
Lindbohm’s playstyle is a very gritty and physical type of play, much like his new teammate in Radko Gudas. He’s not worried about getting his hands dirty when it comes to making a big play and he’s willing to be a stay-at-home type of defenseman. This is heavily requested by a team in the playoffs as those types of games get nasty very quickly or rely on good defense to get the job done.
Will It Get the Job Done?
Of course, he still has to dress for a game to prove his worth. However, with what he brings to the lineup in terms of talent and experience, he’ll fit right in with the Cats. General manager Bill Zito has once again worked his magic in an attempt to fix his lineup after a small losing streak. In addition, he’s another long-time AHL player, and Zito has found his way to make them blossom with players like Ryan Lomberg. On paper, this could be another home run for the Panthers and their front office.
My name is Joey. I’ve been writing about the NHL for about 3 years with my experience spread out between TSJ 101 Sports and Panther Parkway. I look forward to you reading my articles!