I don’t know about you but I never expected Elias Lindhold to be a Vancouver Canuck, but he is now! I’ll be fully transparent with you; before this match even happened I thought that getting Lindholm was a bad idea. My main issue was that I thought he was going to cost too much and wasn’t exactly what the Canucks needed to get at the trade deadline. But you know what? I think I’ve changed my mind about this. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is very possible that this doesn’t go well but let’s try and take a positive spin on this.
Let’s discuss what the trade was first. The Canucks acquired Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Andrei Kuzmenko, Joni Jurmo, Hunter Brzustewicz, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick that turns into a third-round pick if the Canucks make the conference finals. Many people may think this is a lot to give up but to me, I’m okay with it because it’s market value.
To summarize what the Flames got, Andrei Kuzmenko is a good player who didn’t work well with Rick Tocchet but could find his game back in Calgary. Joni Jurmo is a prospect with not a lot of upside at this point but could be developed into something. Hunter Brzustewicz has had a great year in the OHL as a defenceman but there were rumours he didn’t want to sign in Vancouver, but that is unconfirmed. The first-round pick is going to be in the mid to late 20s and the fourth is just magic beans at this point. Overall, I think it’s a good trade for both sides as Calgary had to move in a different direction and Vancouver has helped improve their Stanley Cup chances.
The #Flames have acquired Andrei Kuzmenko, a 2024 first round pick, Hunter Brzustewicz, Joni Jurmo and a conditional 2024 fourth round pick from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Elias Lindholm: https://t.co/aGOGAdiJQ5 pic.twitter.com/8mhmTnRWQx
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 1, 2024
So who is Elias Lindholm? Well, he was a player who was drafted 5th overall in 2013 to the Carolina Hurricanes and has built himself up as a solid centre in the NHL. He found his groove when he was traded to the Calgary Flames in 2018 and had his best season in 2022 when he put up 82 points and 40 goals. He’s also become a pretty good two-way centreman who has some solid offensive tools and the ability to be a shutdown defensive forward.
You may be thinking “That sounds like a pretty dang good player. Why would Karan not want a player like that?” For me, it was more of a preference thing. I have been of the mindset that the Canucks needed a play-driving forward who can carry their own line if need be. For as good as Elias Lindholm is, he isn’t that kind of player. The Canucks had a need for a forward who drives play and they didn’t go out and get that.
However, the more I’ve thought about this trade, the more I like it. You ever get some clothes from your parents at Christmas and you think “I don’t really like the way it looks.” But then you try it on and add some accessories and you think “Oh, this actually looks really good!” That’s the feeling I have with the Canucks getting Elias Lindholm. The Canucks have now created so many options for them when it comes to their line-up and what kind of system they want to run.
— Grady Sas (@GradySas) February 2, 2024
I think the first thing head coach Rick Tocchet wants to try is putting Lindholm with Elias Pettersson. It’s been a great season for Pettersson regardless of if he’s centering his own line or forming the lotto line with J.T Miller and Brock Boeser. However, when he has been centering his own line, he hasn’t exactly had the greatest linemates. The one consistent linemate he’s had on that line has been Ilya Mikheyev. He’s been a solid fit with Pettersson but he doesn’t have the finishing ability that you would want alongside a player like Pettersson. But he does provide good shutdown ability so those two can create a solid shutdown line.
Adding Elias Lindholm to that line with Mikheyev and Pettersson is awesome for so many reasons. They can now create a full shutdown line with that line and have them go against the opposing team’s top line. J.T Miller has been put in the role of going up against other team’s top centers and it’s just not the best role for him. The Canucks can now run Pettersson in the role if they want to, but they can also just swap Pettersson to the wing and then Lindholm to center and have him but the teams shut down center as he has previously excelled at that role.
Another benefit of this line is the offensive potential. I just mentioned how Pettersson has never had the greatest linemates when it comes to offense and now he does with Lindholm. Lindholm can act as a playmaker and also has finishing ability as evidenced by his 40-goal season. This finally gives Pettersson the opportunity to have his own line as he’ll now have a linemate who can be a consistent producer alongside him.
Or, Tocchet could decide to go with a different approach. He could keep the lotto line together and then have Lindholm center his own line. This could then turn the second line into a pure shutdown line if they added someone like Pius Suter to that line to play with Mikheyev and Lindholm. Or if they wanted to add a bit of offence to that line while also keeping it a shutdown line, they could put Conor Garland on that line. Garland has been great on the third line with Dakota Joshua and Teddy Blueger, but he would be a great fit next to Lindholm. Garland can drive play and would work very well next to Lindholm. Garland is good at getting the puck to his teammate and I think for that fact, he would thrive next to Lindholm as he could feed him the puck and Lindholm could create some scoring chances with it.
Hey you know who specializes in puck possession and high danger passes? Corolla Garland. https://t.co/PIu7dMpmZ9
— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) February 1, 2024
This trade makes a lot of sense. I’m not sure if Lindholm will sign an extension here or not but it’s a bet worth making at this point. I would be hesitant to re-sign Lindholm for 7-8 years because that contract may not age well, but if they can sign him to 5-6 or even shorter then I would be very okay with that. His asking price may be a bit high but I think the Canucks can afford it. They have some cap space going into next season but they do also need to re-sign Elias Pettersson who will get a pretty big raise. However, with the cap going up and the Canucks having a deep enough minor league system where they can call up guys to replace some players who will leave in the off-season, I think they can retain Lindholm if they want to.
The Canucks are going all in this trade signifies that. The crazy thing is I don’t think the Canucks are done adding. I hope you’re ready for these next few months because Canucks nation is about to get wild and the journey for the Stanley Cup will be an exciting one.