In the expansion draft, as with the rest of the NHL, centers were at a premium. So, the Vegas Golden Knights’ selection of Oscar Lindberg was an obvious one. Was it the right one?
The Golden Knights left goaltender Antti Raanta and veteran speedster Michael Grabner, who scored 27 goals last season, on the board in order to select Lindberg.
This isn't to say Lindberg is a bad selection, but the Golden Knights bypassed more proven options to select him.
The 25-year-old Swedish center is a hard-working, two-way center who is defensively responsible and uses good speed and playmaking ability.
That said, he's not a consistent offensive player at this point in his career and is not a goal scorer, despite his 28-goal campaign in 2014-15 for AHL Hartford. At 6-foot-1, he doesn't play with much physicality.
Numbers! Numbers! Numbers!
Lindberg has played 134 games at the NHL level and, managing 21 goals and 48 points. His possession numbers weren't great last season (47.61 Corsi For percentage) and his career 47.85 CF% isn't much better. That said, he generally produces more goals than he is on the ice for against with a 56.70 Goals For percentage.
He had 100 points in 150 AHL games. That offensive production — even at the AHL level — isn't great, but it could give a hint into more potential offensive upside Lindberg has to tap into.
As a middle-six center Lindberg gives the Golden Knights some competent, if not unspectacular depth at a difficult position to accumulate such depth.
That said, Lindberg’s production isn't quite good enough to be on the second line, but if he can find some level of consistency it isn't outside the realm of possibility he could be eventually. Right now, he’s more a third-line guy.
He's young enough that he could still be a very useful player when the Golden Knights are ready to compete for the playoffs.
Lindberg signed a two-year, $3.4 million contract. This provides him a chance to prove that he can be a part of the future the Golden Knights are building.
It was perhaps not the safest bet but could turn into a gamble worth taking when all is said and done.