By Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On Twitter @adbblue
Hampus Lindholm was undoubtedly one of the best defensemen in the NHL last season, playing his first full season with the Boston Bruins. He provided the team with plenty of offense from the back end and was a key piece on the power play. The Swedish defenseman is entering his 12th NHL season and coming off easily the best year of his career.
The Bruins would greatly benefit if Lindholm could repeat or have an even better season for the 2023-24 campaign. It may seem like beating a dead horse by now, but with David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron retiring, the roster point production takes a huge blow. Although a defenseman, Lindholm is a guy the team can look at to help make up for that.
Last season, Lindholm set career highs in assists with 43 and points with 53, which was 16th in the league among defensemen. He led the league in plus-minus as a +49, also a career-high. Furthermore, Lindholm had 17 points on the power-play, one goal, and 16 assists and added a great puck movement element from the point, setting up one-timers or chances down low.
Along with being a key part of the Bruins power-play, Lindholm also logged many minutes on the penalty kill. He averaged 2:17 of short-handed time on ice per game last season. When it came to total time on ice per game, he averaged 23:11, making him a very valuable part of the Bruins roster, contributing in several ways.
One of the things that he helps the Bruins with a considerable amount is on the rush and breaking the puck out of the defensive zone through the neutral zone. This component of the game may not necessarily show up on the stat sheet, but helps produce offense. He has clear vision on the ice and knows when to move the puck to the wing, take it into the offensive zone, or get it in deep.
Lindholm is the type of player whose game benefits other players on the ice. If he can shift into another gear this coming season, the new additions and young players getting a look will benefit greatly from that. As we’ve seen, he’s also a guy who can play with anyone on the Bruin’s blue line, making him a great compliment to his defensive partner.
Much like Charlie McAvoy, Lindholm’s goal totals have some room for improvement. The 6’4 defenseman has proved he can rip the puck and has a very accurate shot, but his single-season career high is 13 goals. Lindholm can certainly reach a higher goal total, and we have seen his offensive ability on display, which proves that.
Along with his offensive ability, Lindholm is also a very solid and positionally sound defenseman in his own end, and despite his large frame, he moves quickly. With the uncertainty of where a good amount of the Bruin’s point production will come from this coming season, it would be an excellent opportunity for Lindholm to take things by the horns and tap into an even higher level of play.