You could be forgiven if you forgot that Linus Lindstrom was still in the Calgary Flames system. The club’s fourth round selection back in the 2016 NHL Draft, the two-way center has been plying his trade in his native Sweden since his selection. But while he’s been focused on rounding out his game, he’s got an eye on the NHL.
The 21-year-old product of Skelleftea, Sweden has spent the bulk of his hockey-playing life playing for his hometown team. The upside is he’s played three full seasons since being drafted with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League. The downside is his offensive production has been six, four and six points in those seasons.
“I know I’ve got it defensively,” said Lindstrom. “So I’ve got to improve my offensive game so I can play more and get bigger role on my team.”
Lindstrom’s light offensive output has seen him play a bit of everything during his time in the SHL.
“At first i played top six,” said Lindstrom. “Then it got a little bit rough and I played fourth line and penalty killing and stuff like that. Both ways.”
A stretch of rough play saw him loaned to BIK Karlskroga in the secondary HockeyAllsvenskan league to get playing time and build up his offensive swagger. He came back to the SHL for the home stretch and finished season strong. Headed into final year of current deal in the SHL, he’s got some clear goals for what could be his final season in Europe for awhile.
“I want to get a bigger role, play more,” said Lindstrom. “I had a good off-season now, get some more weight, get stronger. That’s my biggest thing. I’ve got to get stronger and faster so I can get more time on the ice and make plays.”
The Flames hold Lindstrom’s NHL rights until June 1, 2020 – four years after his selection. Lindstrom is hopeful that a strong 2019-20 SHL season can give him some momentum as he hopes to make the jump to North America.
“Hopefully next year,” said Lindstrom. “I’m going to make a good year back in Sweden and hopefully gonna come here next year.”