Though he was recently linked to the Vancouver Canucks, Par Lindholm has made a different decision on where his hockey career will take him next. Uffe Bodin of hockeysverige.se in Sweden is reporting that Lindholm will sign a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs for next season. The 26-year old undrafted forward will be held to the entry-level system for one year, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent.
Lindholm has come the long way to the NHL, slowly working his way through Sweden’s junior and professional leagues before scoring 47 points in 49 games this season and drawing interest from across North America. In Toronto, he’ll follow the footsteps of Calle Rosen and Andreas Borgman who signed out of Sweden last season. While neither of those two lasted the whole season with the Maple Leafs—instead making big contributions on a powerhouse Toronto Marlies team—Lindholm is expected to compete for a role right away.
The versatile forward looks to have a good shot at a fourth line center role should the depth chart remain how it sits today, after Tyler Bozak, Dominic Moore and Tomas Plekanec are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. Behind Auston Matthews and Nazem Kadri, the Maple Leafs don’t have a lot of center depth at the NHL or AHL levels. William Nylander or Patrick Marleau could potentially move to the middle, but Lindholm should give them another experienced (in professional hockey at least) option.
His signing, when made official, will mark another first-time Olympian who has earned a contract this spring. While the NHL avoided the tournament, perhaps it created a proving ground of sorts that will lead to several players getting a chance when they would have otherwise been overlooked. Lindholm will try to prove that he should be playing in the most competitive league in the world, and earn another contract in the summer of 2019.