According to a report from Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, in which he himself references a report from Swedish hockey insider Uffe Bodin, the Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to sign 26 year old center Par Lindholm to an NHL contract.
Par Lindholm to sign with the #leafs, according to Uffe. The 26-year-old centre received considerable NHL interest after a near point-per-game season with Skelleftea.
Lindholm is considered a smart and competitive player, according to NHL scouts. Some questions about his skating.
He’s depth for Toronto at a position where they need it.
The 6’2”, 198 pound center tore up the SHL this season with 18 goals and 47 points in 49 games and generated real interest from across the NHL as a result. The undrafted, unsigned veteran has never played in North America, spending the first four years of his pro career playing in the SHL after coming up through the Swedish junior ranks in Swe-1.
It remains to be seen how he’ll factor into the Leafs’ plans moving forward, but early speculation from fans and insider is that he’ll be an option to replace center Tyler Bozak, should Bozak elect to leave the Leafs via free agency. More likely though, Lindholm will be an option to replace another veteran UFA in Dominic Moore as the team’s fourth line center.
LIndholm will face some competition for the spot however, especially from fellow Swedish countryman Carl Grundstrom. As for Bozak’s spot on the 3rd line, look for the team to either negotiate a new deal with their veteran or move a natural center like William Nylander over from the wing. Regardless of which way the Leafs elect to go, they’ll have options this offseason.
Once Lindholm is officially signed, the Leafs will boast impressive depth down the middle of the ice, even with Moore and veteran Tomas Plekanec expected to depart on July 1st, 2018. The Leafs could very well ice a centre group next season consisting of Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri, Bozak (should he elect to re-sign), Frederik Gauthier, Grundstrom and Lindholm. It's also worth noting again that Nylander and veteran Patrick Marleau all have experience down the middle, as well. Not bad. Not bad at all.