Patrice Bergeron and the Boston Bruins rarely lined up against Hampus Lindholm during his time with the Anaheim Ducks.
Yet, Lindholm caught Bergeron’s eye in their pair of yearly matchups. Boston’s captain now gets to call Lindholm a teammate after GM Don Sweeney acquired the former Ducks blue-liner on Saturday.
“His skating. I think he closes really fast on guys defensively. He doesn’t work for no reason, meaning that he’s always in good position. I think he’s good on transition,” Bergeron said of Lindholm.
“It’s not like I’ve played a lot against him, just seeing him twice a year, but from what I remember playing against him, you couldn’t really sustain pressure in their zone. He was always finding a way to kind of poke the puck out or break out or get back on the offense by making a smart play. That’s frustrating when you’re playing against a guy like that.”
Lindholm’s skating traits, closing speed and stout positioning in front of the net fit Boston’s top-four needs to a T. The Bruins sensed that. They wasted little time inking him to an eight-year contract extension shortly after their latest transaction with Anaheim.
The left-shot Swede blue-liner will make his Bruins debut Thursday in a pivotal showdown with the Lightning. He’ll line up next to Charlie McAvoy on Boston’s top pair against an uber-talented Tampa bunch.
The stout skating traits of Lindholm and McAvoy provide a unique dynamic that the Bruins rarely had within their top two pairings. But the next 19 games will also allow Cassidy to see how Lindholm fares in a potential shutdown pair next to Brandon Carlo.
For now, the Bruins want to see the potential of the Lindholm-McAvoy pairing and keep the second duo of Carlo and Matt Grzelcyk intact following their solid string of recent outings.
“We’re going to start [Lindholm] there [with McAvoy]. Gryz has played with Carlo, so let’s see how Lindy goes with Charlie,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “Over time, we will make that switch just to see what it looks like. If you know me, I want to see what everything looks like at some point because that’s when you find out if there is some chemistry. Now, if it’s lights out [with McAvoy and Lindholm] over the next 19 games, then yeah [we’ll keep them together]. But I expect you’ll see [Lindholm and Carlo together] at some point.”
Lindholm will take a few games to settle into Boston’s on-ice structure. He’ll likely find himself as one of the top defensemen on the penalty kill in addition to his 5v5 duties with McAvoy.
Off the ice, the Bruins have welcomed him with open arms.
Bergeron and Brad Marchand both spoke to Lindholm over the phone after news of the trade broke. Lindholm already looks comfortable fitting into Boston’s tight-knit culture. He created a viral Tik-Tok moment with Marchand, and he’s already earned a stout review from Boston’s top-line left winger for his, well, looks.
“What a good-looking guy,” Marchand said to the media before Thursday’s tilt with Tampa. “Man, he’s got it all. Like an Arnold Schwarzenegger-type figure.”
The Bruins brought Lindholm to round out the defensive core. They hope the 6-foot-4, 217 lb. blue-liner develops into a Terminator within the system.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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