Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Mats Lindgren Scouting Report.
The son of former Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, and Vancouver Canucks centre Mats Lindgren, Mats Lindgren Jr. was taken in the first round, seventh overall, by the Kamloops Blazers in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. Lindgren was born in North Vancouver when his father was a member of the Canucks. Last season he put up five goals and 39 assists for 44 points in 68 regular-season games with the Blazers. He also added seven assists in 17 WHL playoff games. Lindgren helped the Blazers sweep the Spokane Chiefs in the first round and defeat the Vancouver Giants in six games in the second round. Unfortunately, Kamloops fell in the Western Conference Final, losing to the Seattle Thunderbirds in seven games. Lindgren also played for Team White at the CHL Top Prospects Game.
In 2020-21, Lindgren scored one goal and nine assists for 10 points in 22 games. He also played for the Chicago Cougars in the USPHL and scored two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 10 games. In 2019-20, Lindgren played for Team Canada at the Youth Olympic Games. He picked up two assists in the four-game tournament, helping the Canadian Team win a bronze medal.
Mats Lindgren Scouting Report
Left Defence — shoots Left
Born August 26th, 2004 — North Vancouver, British Columbia
Height 5’11” — Weight 173 lbs [180 cm/78 kg]
Lindgren is an elite skater. He has a very good stride, which provides very good acceleration. Lindgren can quickly change speeds and this helps him to avoid forecheckers as well as to beat defenders when skating through the neutral zone. While he isn’t a burner, his top-end speed is above average. This is true in both directions. What really sets Lindgren apart though is his edgework and agility. Lindgren has true 360-degree mobility. His lateral movement is elite. This allows Lindgren to walk the line and create passing and shooting lanes in the offensive zone. It also helps him to maintain gap control when defending against the rush.
Lindgren also has smooth pivots. He is able to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. His crossovers are very good as well. He adds speed and power as he comes out of turns. Lindgren has good balance and can fight through checks and keep moving forward. He could stand to add muscle to his frame though. This will help Lindgren win battles in the corners and in front of the net.
Lindgren marries his strong skating with good puckhandling skill as well as poise on the puck. This allows him to find open space in the neutral zone. He can lead the rush and generate efficient zone entries. His good vision and passing skill also help him. He makes a strong first pass to start the transition. He can even make the long breakaway pass if an attacker gets behind the defence. These skills also translate in the offensive zone. Lindgren can slow down the play and quarterback the offence from the blue line. With his excellent vision and his ability to walk the line and open up passing lanes, Lindgren sets up teammates for scoring chances. He keeps the puck moving with smart passes.
Lindgren needs to work on his shot. His slap shot lacks power, and as a result, it is not something that he uses very often. As he adds muscle to his frame this may improve. His wrist shot is accurate. He also does a good job of sneaking in from the point to let it go from the top of the faceoff circles. Lindgren gets his shot through shooting lanes and on the net. His shot has decent power as well. However, Lindgren needs to work on his release. It takes him some time to load up the wrist shot which allows goalies time to get in position and make the save.
Lindgren’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. His strong skating and good lateral movement allow him to defend well against the rush. He keeps his man in front of him and forces him to the outside. He also does a good job of getting back and retrieving dump-ins. Lindgren can move the puck out of the zone quickly. He can skate past forwards and start the rush himself. He also makes a good first pass.
However, Lindgren struggles away from the puck. He can get caught puck-watching, and leaving his man open. He also can be a bit undisciplined, chasing the man with the puck and getting out of position. His lack of size can also be an issue at times. Lindgren can be overpowered by bigger and stronger opponents. He will need to bulk up to be able to play strong defensive hockey in the pros.
Projection and Comparison
Lindgren’s skating and offensive skills make for exactly the type of puck-moving defender that teams are looking for today. If he can reach his potential, he could be a top-four defender and quarterback of a team’s power play. However, Lindgren will really need to improve his defensive game or he could be a defensive liability and relegated to the role of a power-play specialist. Born in August 2004, Lindgren is one of the youngest players in this draft class. He is a bit of a project and should spend another two years in the WHL and then some AHL time before he is ready for the NHL. Lindgren’s game is reminiscent of Tomas Kaberle but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Mats Lindgren that are available on youtube and Twitter.
— The WHL (@TheWHL) November 13, 2021
— William J. Kawam (@WilliamJKawam) May 7, 2021
— The Coaches Site (@TheCoachesSite) January 24, 2018
— BWC Academy (@BWCAcademy) November 22, 2018
— William J. Kawam (@WilliamJKawam) April 24, 2021
Mats Lindgren is certainly fun on the breakout and in transition. Here are some clips for your viewing pleasure.
— Ben Misfeldt (@BBMHockey) November 22, 2021
— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 2, 2022
— The WHL (@TheWHL) January 27, 2022
Check back later for our next NHL Draft article.
Mats Lindgren Scouting Report Main Photo:
My second profile for the draft takes a look at Mats Lindgren. He could be a great fit for this system and might be available when the Hurricanes select in the second round. https://t.co/I75A2nYmOo
— Canes Prospects (@CanesProspects) June 24, 2022