2022-23 Team: Brynäs IF (SHL)
Date of Birth: January 5, 2005
Place of Birth: Gävle, Sweden
Height: 6-feet, Weight: 181 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First Year Eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 13th
- Elite Prospects: 66th
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 40th
- The Hockey Writers (Horn): 59th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini):46th
There was a lot of hype surrounding Theo Lindstein coming into his draft season, which tends to happen when you split most of your age-16 season between the top junior league in Sweden (J20 Nationell) and the SHL which is one of the very best professional hockey leagues in the world. While the Lindstein hype-train has slowed down considerably this season, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about his game and the potential he has as a two-way defender.
Lindstein is a powerful skater with a very smooth stride which allows him to backcheck effectively and makes him a dangerous player on the rush. His high hockey IQ makes him a great off-puck player, allowing him to find open ice in the offensive zone and anticipate plays well in his own end. Lindstein also has a really good shot for such a young defender, hard and accurate enough to be effective as either a goalscoring tool or as a playmaking tool.
The biggest thing that Lindstein seems to need some work on is pace, or his ability to make the right plays while under pressure at the speed of the pro game. It’s important for young players to be able to make pro-style plays and reads, but it’s even more important to be able to complete those plays in a game environment when their opponents are bearing down on them. He has shown growth in his ability to play at pro pace from his first year in the SHL until this season, but there is still a ways to go if he wants to become an everyday NHLer.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
Lindstein’s stats aren’t the most inspiring numbers you’ll see. In fact, they’re quite the opposite. With just nine points in 46 games shared between the J20 Nationell and the SHL, he hasn’t exactly had the offensive production to match his skill or tools. His game will likely never be defined by his point totals, but the potential is there for him to score at a much higher clip in the near future, and he’s shown flashes of that this season, even against grown men in the SHL.
After winning gold with Sweden in the 2022 U18 World Junior Championship, Lindstein has been brought back to try and help the team repeat their victory. He was an underager in last year’s tournament and didn’t notch a single point in five games, partly due to his small helping of ice time. This year’s Swedish team will need a lot more from Lindstein, and a good two-way showing could go a long way to re-establishing him as a high-end NHL prospect.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Theo Lindstein – NHL Draft Projection
There has been a lot of talk this year about how light this draft is on great defensemen, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons of good defensive prospects. I think the second round of the draft will see a great number of defensemen drafted, with Lindstein being one of them. My best guess is that he’ll go in the 40-50 range as his defensive fortitude and offensive potential will be too much for teams to wait on much longer.
“He is almost always the first player back in the defensive zone and has good footwork when he needs to transition in reverse. On defense, Lindstein could use a bit more muscle, but that doesn’t stop him from being aggressive.” – Alexa Potack, Dobber Prospects
“Lindstein shows a lot of initiative every time he hops onto the ice. He makes transporting the puck look easy with a great flow in his feet and huge composure with the puck.” – Fredrik Haak, FC Hockey
“At times, he can be guilty of being overly patient carrying the puck up ice and will take too long in his decision making. This can lead to turnovers and odd-man rushes the other way, but should be correctable as he continues to mature.” – SpokedZ, Smaht Scouting
- Great point shot for a teenager
- Excellent off-puck positioning
- Smooth skating
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- More dangerous playmaking
- Increase pace of play/decision making
Lindstein is already a decent defender and he has enough size to project well as an NHL defender. If he can continue to develop his pace and also add a little bit more offense, I see him capping out as a good second-line defender. If he only makes significant progress in one of those areas, he’s likely a sixth or seventh defender on a good NHL team. Lindstein’s two-way game is good enough at just 18 years old that I expect he’ll earn a role as a bottom-four defender in the NHL someday.
Risk – 2.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5/10, Defense – 7.5/10
Awards & Achievements
- 2021/22: Best U18 Defenseman (J18)
- 2021/22: U18 WJC Gold Medal
- 2022/23: Hlinka Gretzky Cup Silver Medal