Elias Lindholm realizes the scrutiny surrounding the 2013 NHL Draft class in the wake of the lockout.
But he isn’t quite sure he’s feeling the pressure just yet.
With the NHL season at a standstill, a lot of the attention has fallen on the draft class, though Lindholm isn’t ready to admit that scrutiny has made it across the Atlantic.
“(It’s) hard to say, but I think it’s a North American thing,” Lindholm said.
One thing that is universal, though, is how highly regarded the Swedish product is. And as one of the top-ranked European skaters in 2013, Lindholm is aware of the attention being paid to him. It isn’t about to change how the Swede approaches the game in the biggest season of his life to date.
“Of course you know that people are watching you when you play,” the five-foot-11, 181-pound centre said. “But I tried to have focus on the ice.”
He’s done just that, finding nothing but success in focusing his attention on his play with Brynas. In 22 games, Lindholm has 14 points – second only to Detroit Red Wings draft pick and cousin Calle Jarnkrok for the team lead in scoring. That early season success is a result of teammates and a coaching staff putting Linholm in a position to succeed, he credits.
“I have played with good players and I have got a lot of time on the ice, therefore I have to thank the coaches,” Lindholm conceded.
And, if you ask scouts, a lot of talent.
The 17-year-old not only has a plethora of weapons at his disposal that have been displayed on an almost nightly basis that have resulted in his impressive production playing against men. Though he has just a small sample size behind his offensive success this season, history shows just a few draft eligibles have produced in the Swedish Elite League like Lindholm.
One such player is Peter Forsberg, who Lindholm has drawn a plethora of comparisons to. A flattering parallel no doubt, yet one the draft eligible admits he’s grown weary of at times.
“Sometimes it gets tiresome, mostly because he was so good, but it’s also a lot of fun,” he said.
But even with that comparison, the next big thing out of Sweden isn’t feeling the heat around the 2013 NHL Draft.
Which may be his best asset yet.
Is there added pressure in knowing you could be the first European picked in 2013?
No, not pressure. It’s more fun.
How much do you know about other Europeans in the 2013 NHL Draft?
You’ve got some great hockey bloodlines with your father being a former draft pick of the LA Kings and your cousin, Calle Jarnkrok being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings. Is it exciting to be able to share your draft experience with family members that have also gone through the process?
Yes of course. They have done the same trip and know how it works. It’s gonna be fun.
Have there been other teammates that you’ve been seeking draft advice from?
I’ve been asking about it but no advice yet.
For a player that plays such a complete game, what do you focus on improving?
I want to improve everything, but mostly my strength and my shot.