The Carolina Hurricanes’ Elias Lindholm is known by his teammates as the “Swedish Beast.” I wrote about when Eric Staal glossed him that last November after he scored a game-winning goal in overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets. With his new contract, the beast has made bank, and deservedly so.
Last week the Hurricanes announced that Lindholm had been given a two-year contract extension. The deal will pay him $2.5 million in 2016-17 and $2.9 million in 2017-18. It’s not a bad deal for the team and certainly is good for Lindholm.
With the extension the ‘Canes have cemented another of their young guns upon which they can build. Team GM Ron Francis said in the announcement,
“Elias played well last season, nearly doubling his offensive numbers from his rookie year. We expect he will be a very important part of the Hurricanes as he continues to develop as a professional.”
There it is from the top, a recognition that the future of the Hurricanes is in the hands of their growing young stable of talent.
My colleague at The Hockey Writers, Dustin Nelson, wrote about the extension last week right after it was announced:
— The Hockey Writers (@TheHockeyWriter) August 28, 2015
What is important about the extension is that it adds a layer of confidence to a young player who has yet to come anywhere near reaching his potential. Lindholm had 39 points last year, 17 of which were goals. A season with 30 goals in the near future is a realistic thought where the “Swedish Beast” is concerned.
I like the idea of Jordan Staal in the middle with Eric Staal and either Jeff Skinner or Lindholm on the wings. Victor Rask centering the second line with either Skinner or Lindholm and Nathan Gerbe would make a nice top two lines for the ‘Canes.
Selected fifth overall in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Lindholm has not disappointed.
Lindholm has a nose for the net and is not afraid to get in close. This is the concern with Skinner since he had his most recent concussion early last season. If Skinner can get his game back, the potential scoring threat that he and Lindholm represent could make a huge difference in the ‘Canes overall season.
With Eric Staal still dangling by the thread of his contract expiring after the season, and no deal as yet having been announced to keep him in Carolina, Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy raises the question as to Lindholm’s possible replacing of Staal is no deal is reached. It’s an interesting thought, but I am holding a strong belief that a deal will be reached and that Staal will be around for the rebuilding of this team.
I may be proven wrong, but with or without Staal, the Hurricanes just made a positive move for their future in extending Lindholm. The Swedish Beast now needs to step up and prove that he is worth the investment. I believe he will.
Mark lives in the Raleigh, NC area and covers the Carolina Hurricanes.