As previous speculated, the Florida Panthers have come to a deal with with Swedish defenseman Linus Hultstrom, bringing him to North America for the first time in his career. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though reports peg it as a two-year pact.
The 23-year-old put up 12 goals and 31 points through 52 games for Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) last season, tying for first among all defensemen in points and goals.
He also put up 12 points (3-9-12) in eight postseason contests.
Though he’s not large, standing just 5-foot 11 and 185 pounds, he’s an big offensive presence and was great on the power play.
He fits the age group of Florida’s rising defensive corps and should get a chance to succeed with the team, while they continue to infuse more young talent into a blue line that already features many defenders under 25, including Calder-winner Aaron Eklbad, Michael Matheson, Erik Gudbranson, Dmitry Kulikov, Ian McCoshen and Dylan Olsen, among others.
If the team believes he’s ready to step into the NHL, they have at least seven defensemen on contract and are likely to give Gudbranson, who is a RFA, a new deal. They have an embarrassment of riches on the blue line heading into next season.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.