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Red Wings Role Call: Gustav Lindstrom’s Future

The 2021-22 NHL campaign was a tale of two seasons for Detroit defenseman Gustav Lindstrom

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Gustav Lindstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Red Wings defenseman Gustav Lindstrom struggled in the second half of the 2021-22 NHL season.

Red Wings Role Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2021-22 Detroit Red Wings season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the just-completed campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Detroit. Today, we feature defenseman Gustav Lindstrom

Gustav Lindstrom

Position: Defense

2021-22 totals (GP-G-A-P): 63-1-12-13

Contract Status: One year remaining at $850,000 AAV

Season Synopsis

If Lindstrom’s 2021-22 season was a western, it would be The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. He opened with such potential, steadily establishing a presence as a regular in the Detroit defensive sextet. Through games of Feb. 14, Lindstrom had collected 1-9-10 totals and was a solid plus-2 on the Red Wings back end.

Then the wheels absolutely came off. Over his last 22 games, Lindstrom collected just three assists. He posted a dismal minus-10 rating.

“The one thing I’d talk about is confidence,” former Wings coach Jeff Blashill suggested of Lindstrom’s downturn. “I think confidence is a huge factor in where a guy’s play is at. He’s a guy I think that is still trying to prove that he’s an NHL player on a daily basis, so when he goes through struggles, you probably end up questioning yourself a little bit. The confidence slips and then your game’s not quite as solid.”

In 2021, Lindstrom was plus-4. During the 2022 portion of schedule, Lindstrom was a minus-16.

2021-22 Red Wings Highlights

On Feb. 14, Gustav Lindstrom beat then-Minnesota Wild goalie Kappo Kahkonen for his first NHL goal. Lindstrom twice posted points in consecutive games – on Oct. 14 vs Tampa Bay and Oct. 16 vs Vancouver and on Nov. 27 against Buffalo and Nov. 30 at Boston.

2021-22 Red Wings Lowlights

Starting Feb. 14, Lindstrom endured a five-game stretch in which he was a combined minus-11. He was minus-5 in a 9-2 loss to Arizona on March 8.

That downturn in performance led to a seven-game stint as a healthy scratch. This sitdown was including five games in a row from March 10-19.

What Does His Detroit Future Hold?

Taking into account his second-half slump, coupled with the presence of a new coach, and the 2022-23 NHL season has the feeling of a make-it-or-break-it campaign for Lindstrom. Based upon his first-half showing, Lindstrom appeared to have a bright future in Detroit as a reliable, stay-at-home defender. His dramatic slide that ultimately led to a lengthy spell as a healthy scratch certainly is leaving that notion in question.

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“Lindy’s had moments where he’s been a good player for us,” Blashill explained late in the season. “He’s had moments where he’s had some struggles. He’s not alone in that. I think the biggest thing with Lindy will come down to this offseason and can he push his feet to get quicker? It’s something he’s worked on but he’s really got to put the work in. If he does that, then I think he’s a good NHL defenseman. But he’s got to make sure he puts that work in this summer and he knows that and hopefully he can have a great summer.”

With a litany of young defensive prospects working their way up the Detroit prospect, Lindstrom’s window of opportunity to establish a foothold as an NHL regular is closing. It may be now or never for his future with the Red Wings.