Two seasons ago when the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Tobias Lindberg in a trade that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Ottawa Senators, thousands of Leafs fans, myself included, wondered who in the world they just traded their captain for?
On Friday, Vegas Golden Knight fans must have had a similar reaction as the team traded backup goaltender Calvin Pickard for 22-year-old prospect winger.
Upon further research we discovered that Lindberg was a legitimate prospect that would add to the depth the Leafs farm system already had. The same can be said now for the Golden Knights’ system.
Lindberg was coming off a 78-point OHL season with the Memorial Cup Champions Oshawa Generals when he was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2013 NHL entry draft by the Ottawa Senators.
He spent the next season playing in the AHL where he put up a pretty impressive rookie campaign registering 22 points in 34 games with the Binghamton Senators and 12 points in 22 games with the Toronto Marlies.
Last season however the Swedish born winger battled all sorts of injury problems and hit a rough spot in his sophomore AHL season tallying just 16 points in 44 games.
Lindberg is a 22-year-old 6-foot-2, 215 pound tank who will only benefit from getting a fresh start and playing on a less-stacked AHL team in hopes of making his return back to the NHL.
I compare Lindberg to players such as Milan Lucic, Wayne Simmonds and James van Riemsdyk as they are all gritty power forwards who can throw the body around when needed, put the puck in the net when called upon, and possess great net-front presence.
Lindberg will presumably spend the 2017-2018 season playing for the Chicago Wolves and hopefully, with an impressive third AHL season, we can start to look at a bottom six role for Lindberg on the Golden Knights roster next season.
“He was not a fun guy to play against,” said Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe of Lindberg. “Bigger guy, big and strong. Has ability to go real heavy on the puck in the offensive zone. Really, there’s a lot to like there. I certainly believe he’s on the path to be an NHL player.”
Lindberg is a restricted free agent at the end of this season which gives him one more year to prove to his coaches and teammates that he can still compete at the pro level and earn that long contract extension he wants from the Golden Knights.