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Cayden Lindstrom Scouting Report: 2024 NHL Draft #8

Cayden Lindstrom

Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day our LWOS Prospects Writers will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2024 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow Ben Kerr, and Frederik Frandson 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”! Today we bring you our Cayden Lindstrom Scouting Report.

One of the bigger forwards expected to go in the top 10 of the NHL draft is Cayden Lindstrom. At 6-foot-4 he is an imposing force on the ice, which should be extremely tempting to most GMs in the NHL. The season has been a rocky one for Lindstrom, who missed a lot of games due to injuries, which could see him slip down the rankings. However, in the 32 games he played in the WHL, he scored 27 goals and 19 assists for a total of 46 points. A total that does show how dominant he can be when he is on the ice. The main question is if he can stay on the ice without getting plagued by the injury bug.

Cayden Lindstrom 2024 NHL Draft Scouting Report

Forward — shoots Left
Born February 3rd, 2006 — Chetwynd, British Columbia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 216 lbs [193 cm/98 kg]

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When seeing the sheer size of Cayden Lindstrom, one wouldn’t expect him to be an amazing skater. However, while there is room for improvement, Lindstrom is more than capable when it comes to his movement. The edges are solid and he doesn’t sacrifice smoothness for pure power. He is surprisingly agile, and his overall speed is up there with some of the better skaters in the class. This allows him to come in on the forecheck extremely fast and with purpose, and adjust towards the puck, making it far more effective. It’s not pure run and gun but with quick adjustments to get to where the puck is going, rather than where it was.

The main area of his skating that needs to improve is his stride mechanics, which can look stiff at times. This would also help his acceleration and make him far more of an elusive player to play against. Transitionally better stride mechanics would also help him change the flow of the play, as he would be able to catch defenders with quick changes of pace and fully utilize his unique blend of high speed and strength to create offensive chances off the rush. Currently, he is good at getting the puck into the zone and creating turnovers with the forecheck, but adding more of a dynamic step to make his transitional game less one-dimensional would do wonders for his game.

Offensive game

While Lindstrom is a very strong two-way power forward, one of the main areas where his true potential is highlighted is in the offensive zone. Here he can use a variety of weapons to create chances, with the main one being his strength and work ethic. He works extremely hard along the board and never shies away from the dirty areas. He is incredibly hard to get the puck away from and will keep possession with great use of his size.

His shot is also very powerful, which can beat goalies straight up from the slot. His passing is creative and overall good, but if there is a flaw to the offensive game of Lindstrom this is it. He tends to force passes through traffic and sometimes looks to panic when in a bad spot, where he will miss the easy outlook in favour of a high-risk play.  Off the puck, he can chase a little bit much and get lost positionally.

Defensive game

Defensively the high level of compete and great motor that never seems to stop give him a big edge. Once again the strength and effective use of his size makes him a solid and reliable forward in his own zone as he will win a ton of battles in front of the net and along the boards. Lindstrom’s skating also allows him to be very strong on the backcheck, where he will keep his feet moving to create pressure on the puck carrier.

Unfortunately, some of the positional awareness issues from his offensive game also creep into his defensive game. He can look lost when without a direct assignment and tends to lack the awareness that allows him to be in the right spot to make a play. This often comes from him trying to chase and adjust to the play after the fact, rather than see the play develop beforehand, which needs to improve before he is ready for the NHL.

Projection and Comparison

Cayden Lindstrom is a unique player with a great blend of creativity, skill, skating and size. He also plays the game in the right way with a ton of passion and a big work rate. If you were to draw up a dream player for NHL GMs, it wouldn’t be too far off what the ceiling Lindstrom offers. As a power forward there isn’t a lot more you could want physically from a player, yet there are some major red flags attached.

For starters the injuries. Will they be a constant fixture of Lindstrom’s career, or was this season a one-off? His style of play isn’t without risks of injuries, and it will be something to watch for the coming seasons. The second concern is his lack of awareness which in the NHL will be a killer if it doesn’t improve. He needs to be smarter off the puck in both zones and with far more intelligent movement. However, if he can stay healthy and can become a better positional player, then the style is very reminiscent of Joel Eriksson Ek. This is based more on stylistic similarity rather than one based on skill and ability.

Main Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


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