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Lindholm Lands in Vancouver, Canucks’ Stanley Cup Ambitions Soar

Credit: Vancouver Canucks/CityNews Vancouver


As the Vancouver Canucks continue to dominate the 2023-2024 season, they make a bold move in trading for two-way forward Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames in an attempt to further strengthen their core and seek out a run at this year's Stanley Cup. 


The blockbuster trade took the hockey world by storm, initially coming across as a big gamble for the Canucks, but one that just might work out. Lindholm joins the Canucks in exchange for Andrei Kuzmenko, who had fallen out of favour in Vancouver, prospects Joni Jurmo and Hunter Brzustewicz, a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. 


Lindholm joined the Canucks shortly after being selected as the Flames’ All-Star representative for his stellar performance so far this season. He joins five other Canucks All-Stars in captain Quinn Hughes, leading goal-scorer Brock Boeser, points leader J.T. Miller, as well as Elias Pettersson and goaltender Thatcher Demko. 


Following Lindholm’s first practice with his new team, he chimed in with his thoughts about his relocation to the playoff-bound Canucks.


“I’m sure happy to be here and excited. The rest of the stuff will figure out itself with all my stuff back in Calgary, but I'm just happy to be here and get the first skate out of the way.” 


Lindholm also touched on the team chemistry, as well as getting to be an All-Star with some of his new teammates as well.


“It feels like this group is really tight, and they have a good connection, and so for me to just come in and get to know everyone and maybe have dinner too with a couple of boys. Honestly, I was lucky enough to be an All-Star with a bunch of the guys as well, so it’s been a good start so far.”


Elias Lindholm All-Star Weekend


Credit: Vancouver Canucks/NHL.com


For the Flames this season, Lindholm had nine goals and 23 assists, for a total of 32 points on a plus/minus of -8. However, despite his average offensive output this season, his defensive assets and versatility as a player is where the Canucks believe they will benefit the most. 


Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet touched on Lindholm’s versatility as well as what excites him about the addition to an already deep Canucks roster.


“I love 200-foot players, he can play all different positions, hybrid at centre or wing, obviously a PK guy, a really good PK guy, he’s over 55% on his draws, he can power play, so we’re just getting a guy who can do a lot of different things for us, and it gives us a lot of options as coaches.” 


In 2022, Lindholm finished second behind Boston Bruins legend Patrice Bergeron in the race for the NHL’s Selke trophy, awarded to the league’s best defensive forward. His two-way abilities as a scorer and stellar defenceman complement both the Canucks’ relentless offence as well as their league-leading defence. 


Lindholm is expected to be on the second line next to fellow Swede Elias Pettersson. Pettersson has lacked regular linemates all season long, making Lindholm a great fit to play on the wing next to one of the league's best goal-scorers. Pettersson will be the best linemate Lindholm has played with this season, giving him the chance to redeem his average offensive output this season back to the calibre of his 40-goal season just two years ago.  


Pettersson and Lindholm were linemates five years ago for Team Sweden at the 2019 World Championships in Slovakia, so Lindholm presumably will slot in perfectly next to his former teammate.


Vancouver Canucks


Credit: Bob Frid/USA Today Sports


The addition of the crafty two-way player in Elias Lindholm only increases the Canucks’ Stanley Cup ambitions this season, as they continue to make a case for being the strongest team in the league. 


The Canucks as a franchise have never won a Stanley Cup, making them one of the 11 franchises out of a current 32 to never reach the pinnacle of hockey and take home the cup. 


The Canucks have reached the Stanley Cup Finals a total of three times, losing to the New York Islanders in 1982, the New York Rangers in 1994, and of course, the infamous game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins in 2011, resulting in a massive riot in the city of Vancouver.  


The Canucks seem to have built their strongest roster since the Sedin era, as they currently sit first in the Western Conference and tied first across the entire league. The Canucks are tied second for the most goals in the league, while being tied third for goals conceded, giving them a league-leading goal differential of 59.  


This sudden turnaround for the Canucks stems from a visible uptick in player performance, as their core players such as Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Elias Pettersson are finally living up to their offensive capabilities. Boeser is on track for a career season with a career-high 30 goals in just 49 games, while Pettersson has 64 points on the season, just four behind his career-high 68.  


Their depth players such as Conor Garland and newcomer Dakota Joshua are also stepping up this season, giving head coach Rick Tocchet a lot of flexibility to work with.


Elias Lindholm Interview


Credit: Vancouver Canucks/NHL.com


Not only does Lindholm further contribute to this newfound flexibility and depth that the Canucks have been flaunting around this season, he further re-vamps not only the Canucks, but Vancouver as a city’s Stanley Cup hopes and dreams that have been crushed one too many times. 


The Canucks will look to continue their dominance this season in the final stretch with a total of 33 games remaining for the team. 


The last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup was the 1992-93 season. The Canucks have the strongest chance to end this 31-year drought this year, and with the addition of Elias Lindholm, they will be extremely strong contenders and a tough team to beat in a 7-game series come playoff time. 


 


Edited By: Josh Reidelbach


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Tags: #Champions #StanleyCup #NHL #All-Star #Canucks #EliasLindholm



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