“Thank you to the organization of @detroitredwings, teammates and fans for my four years in Detroit,” Lidstrom posted. “It’s been incredible.”
It was a class gesture from the Swedish defender but if truth be told, school was out on Lindstrom’s future with the team for quite some time.
There were reports in the Swedish media shortly after the conclusion of the 2022-23 NHL season that Lindstrom was kicking the tires with SHL clubs, seeing if there might interest in him returning to play in the top league in his homeland. That Detroit was willing to keep him for another season on a one-year pact for $950,000 probably had much to do with Lindstrom being a right-shot blueliner.
Lindstrom Promise Quickly Faded
Though he was never going to be an NHL star, there was a sense that Lindstrom could develop into a servicable NHL rearguard when he was first given the call to Detroit during the 2019-20 season. He competed, played within his abilities and seldom was caught out of position.
“(I) just try to play a simple game, move the puck quick to the forwards and make it easy for them,” Lindstrom said. “I’ve been that same player my whole career.”
— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) August 15, 2023
However, it didn’t take long for NHL opponents to unearth the weakness in Lindstrom’s game, mainly his below-average footwork on his skates. Soon, they were exploiting his shortcomings.
Last season, it all came to a head. The wheels completely came off Lindstrom’s game.
After playing 63 games for Detroit in 2021-22, he played only 36 last season. He was -16 in those games. His average playing time fell from 16:07 in 2021-22 to 14:10.
Lindstrom (Drafted 38th overall in 2017) played 22 games with Robert Hagg as his defensive partner. That third pairing had some difficult games. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, that tandem was on the ice for nine goals for and 17 against. Lindstrom wasn’t a plus with any partner he had in 2022-23. He was -4 in 13 games with Jordan Oesterle. He was -3 with 83 minutes with Olli Maatta. Lindstrom was even -1 playing 16+ minutes with Moritz Seider.
He’s hopeful of rediscovering his mojo thanks to a fresh start with Montreal.
“I’m really excited about the new opportunity in @canadiensmtl,” Lindstrom posted. “Can’t wait for October.”