You truly never know how a season will go. Key injuries occur, players come and go, and coaching changes can happen. That is the nature of the business in the hockey world. If one team has exceeded expectations, it is the Boston Bruins. Nobody knew what to expect entering the season, and given the critical injuries entering the year, everyone had them dead in the water. Instead of being shark bitten, they are treading water with a league-best 6-1 record. Who would’ve thought that even without Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy, they would be at the top of the hockey mountain? But here they are, and one player has filled the void, Boston Bruins defenceman Hampus Lindholm.
Hampus Lindholm Making Huge Impact To Begin The Year
The Boston Bruins knew what they were getting when they acquired Hampus Lindholm. Lindholm was a top pair of defensemen with the Anaheim Ducks and brought a lot to the back end. And with the franchise defensemen out for another 5-6 weeks, Lindholm has filled in and has been exactly what the Bruins have needed.
The Hampus Lindholm Affect
Coming over from Anaheim, he got off to a good start with the Bruins. Lindholm posted five assists in 10 games and was a +10. He fit right in and was good on both ends of the ice. Carrying over into this season, Lindholm has two goals, three assists, and five points in seven games. He is slotting in on the top power-play unit and even set up David Pastrnak for a beautiful goal the other night. But his impact goes beyond the stats sheet.
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His Impact On The Lineup
His impact goes beyond the stats sheet. Prior to Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Lindholm is displaying respectable numbers around the league. Among all defencemen playing 40 minutes so far, Lindholm ranks 32nd in Corsi For Percentage (56%). What says a lot about his game is his On Ice Expected Goals Percentage (61.4%). He is a large part of their offensive attack, which has resulted in an On Ice Goals Percentage of 71%. When he is on the ice good things are happening for the Boston Bruins on offence.
The Bruins have been a good team in the high-danger area of the ice. With him, on the ice, they have scored six goals in that area. This is the impact he has had stepping into McAvoy’s shoes and has garnered praise from his head coach.
His Production As A Pair
Among all defensemen that play 40 minutes together, Lindholm and Mike Reilly are dynamic together (before they sent Reilly down to Providence). Together they lead I’ve league in xGoals for Per 60 Minutes with 4.43. This shows how good they are offensively when on the ice and generating scoring chances. Reilly is not your typical top-pair guy, but he is excelling with Lindholm.
Upon his return from injury, Matt Grzelcyk has seen time with Lindholm as well. As a pair, they have a CF% of 50.39%. Together they lead the team in XGF% with 64.34%. Like with Reilly, they have been dynamic offensively, generating chances. They have only played three games together, but they have a whopping GF% of 79.09 and are averaging 6.34 goals for per 60 minutes. Grzelcyk has always had great offensive metrics with McAvoy and appears to be the same with Lindholm. The offensive upside is there and Lindholm has filled in nicely for McAvoy.
It appears that Lindholm is having success individually but also is elevating the play alongside his teammates. It’s a beautiful thing to see as the Bruins essentially have two number-one defensemen on the roster.
How Great This Is For Boston
You saw Boston Bruins defenseman Hampus Lindholm last season, but now you are getting the full effect. Lindholm has been exceptional for the Boston Bruins, and his impact has significantly impacted the club. His impact will only continue over the year, but reinforcements are on the way with the return of McAvoy. This is great for the Bruins and a big reason why they’ve been able to tread water to start the year.