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The Canucks Elias Lindholm Proving His Worth in the Playoffs

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The Vancouver Canucks made a big splash on January 31st, ahead of the trade deadline landing Elias Lindholm. They sent Andrei Kuzmenko, their 2024 first-round pick, a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick, and two prospects to the Calgary Flames for Lindholm. The trade meant one thing: The Canucks were going all in and were serious about going on a deep run. He was just what they needed. Furthermore, he’s a player that can help out on offence, defence, and the penalty kill. It made sense why Vancouver got him. Fast-forward over three months later: The Canucks are in the second round of the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and they have Elias Lindholm rising to the occasion.

Not the Greatest Start for Elias Lindholm with the Canucks

Two seasons ago, Lindholm was having the season of his life. 2021-22 saw him hot each of 40 goals and 40 assists milestones, finishing with 82 points. That year Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and himself were one of the most exciting lines in the NHL. As a result, Lindholm was nominated for the Selke Trophy awarded to the NHL’s best defensive forward. However, Patrice Bergeron won it that year.

Since then, Lindholm has kind of fallen off offensively. 2022-23 saw him score 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points. Those numbers aren’t bad but still a far cry from the season before. With Calgary before the trade, Lindholm had nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points in 49 games.

It wasn’t expected that the centre/right winger go on a tear as he did in 2021-22. But there was hope that a change in scenery would get him going offensively and would help the Canucks finish the season strong. It looked like that was going to be the case when Lindholm scored two goals in his Canuck debut against the Carolina Hurricanes, the team that drafted him in 2012. But after that, the Swede looked disappointing offensively.

Lindholm managed six goals and six assists in 26 regular season games with Vancouver. It also didn’t help he missed a few weeks with a wrist injury that he described as “brutal.”

It made sense for Canucks fans to be disappointed in the big fish. However, while Lindholm was very good defensively. According to NaturalStatTrickout of all forwards that played at least 100 minutes at 5 on 5 since he arrived, Lindholm was first on the team in shots against (153) and goals against (just 12). He was second to Nils Åman in expected goals against (13.94) and high-danger chances against (53). Moreover, Lindholm was also second on the Canucks in faceoff percentage since the trade. His 58.7% was behind J.T. Miller‘s 59.6%.

Elias Lindholm Rising to The Occasion for Canucks

Luckily Lindholm found chemistry with Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland late in the regular season. In the playoffs so far, they have done well. The Canucks have made it this far and Elias Lindholm rising to the occasion is a huge reason why. He scored some big goals including the first Canuck goal of the playoffs.

He scored the overtime winner in game four against the Nashville Predators. That truly was one of the most memorable games in Canucks history and Lindholm became a part of it with his winning goal.

Lindholm already has three goals in the series so far against the Edmonton Oilers. Two of them were in the Canucks scrappy 4-3 win in game three. Unfortunately for Brock Boeser, Lindholm was credited on his first goal and that denied him the first period hat trick. Lindholm’s second goal displayed some great puck control.

Moments like these are why Lindholm was acquired. He was brought in for the playoffs. In the post-season so far, he is proving his worth. It was a hefty price to acquire him but with the way he is playing in the playoffs, the trade seems worth it. This was the Lindholm they traded for. He is proving offensively and helping out defensively and on the special teams. Lindholm’s five playoff goals are second on the team behind Boeser. His 11 points are only behind Boeser, Miller, and Quinn Hughes.

He’s been a beast in the playoffs and after a quiet regular season, thank goodness. Lindholm is healthy and is rising to the occasion. Now it is up to him and the rest of the team to try and take a stranglehold of the series against the Oilers when the puck drops for game 4 on Tuesday.

Main photo credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports



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