It may have been a little surprising, but the Carolina Hurricanes held onto the fifth overall pick, did not take Valeri Nichushkin, and instead chose Elias Lindholm.
Lindholm is Swedish-born and played for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League last season, scoring 30 points in 49 games against men up to double his age.
The 6-0 center excels in the offensive end, but can also play the defensive side of the puck. According to Hockey’s Future, Lindholm is very good at reading the play and intercepting passes.
Lindholm was also born in December of 1994, making him a year older than most other draft prospects at 19-years-old. He is eligible to play in the AHL next season because of the European transfer rules, should he not make the Canes’ roster this September.
The right-handed center will most likely be able to fight for a spot in the NHL next season. The Canes still do not have a bona fide third line center, which Lindholm could fill.
The only thing to worry about with Lindholm is he has one more season with Brynas. It’s possible the club will allow him to play in the NHL next season, but more info will be released this summer.
Update: Chip Alexander reports that Lindholm has an out clause in his Brynas contract and would not need to be bought out by the Hurricanes, should he make the roster. If he does not make the team, he will play another season in the Swedish Elite League.
Overall, this is a safe pick for the Hurricanes. Lindholm won’t have to be rushed into the NHL because of the Canes’ depth at center and can gain another year of experience in Sweden or in the AHL.