It’s been an interesting season to say the least for forward Par Lindholm. The veteran sought his release from the Boston Bruins back in February and was granted a contract termination, citing his desire to play a more meaningful role than the 15th or 16th forward on the Bruins’ depth chart. His wish for more commitment and standing was granted almost immediately after he left Boston, returning to his former SHL club Skelleftea AIK on a whopping five-year deal. Lindholm played in 11 games down the stretch for Skelleftea, recording nine points, and then added six points in a dozen playoff games for the semifinalist. Lindholm quickly proved to be an invaluable piece for Skelleftea and with a long-term deal in place, it seemed that it would stay that way for some time. Well, that may not be the case. Skelleftea has announced today that Lindholm has exercised a previously unreported “out clause” in his contract to leave the team for the 2021-22 season. The team notes that the remaining four years on his deal do remain valid and they hope he returns to play out his contract. Where Lindholm is off to next that he considers an upgrade to Skelleftea remains unknown; his time in the NHL showed that the league’s teams do not see him as any more than a bottom-six depth player, so remaining in Europe seems likely. A better offer in Sweden or an opportunity in the KHL could have prompted this decision by Lindholm, but only time will tell.
- So much for the Igor Bobkov NHL comeback speculation. Fresh off of a Gagarin Cup title, Bobkov was granted a release from the newly-crowned champs Avangard Omsk on Monday, with the expectation being that he would be looking to test the NHL free agent market this summer. The former Anaheim Ducks top prospect has dominated the KHL for six years running and at 30 years old could still have had appeal in a second try in North America. Instead, another KHL club, Ak Bars Kazan, has inked Bobkov to a one-year deal, putting an end to any NHL possibilities for next season. Why Omsk, who still had Bobkov under contract for one more year, opted to terminate him instead of trade him to Kazan remains a mystery, but regardless the KHL retains one of its very best netminders for at least the 2021-22 campaign.
- Another KHL club has made an interesting move in net, although they may never reap the benefits. Automobilist Yekaterinburg announced today that they have acquired the KHL rights of Boston Bruins goaltender Dan Vladar in exchange for minor league forward Kirill Pilipenko. Vladar would of course be an excellent addition for Yekaterinburg, that is if he ever leaves North America in his pro career. While Jeremy Swayman has overshadowed Vladar in Boston this season, the latter has quietly been one of the very best goalies in the AHL both this season and last. In fact, he held the best save percentage and GAA mark in the AHL in 2019-20. The 23-year-old was a third-round pick by the Bruins back in 2015 and already has five pro seasons under his belt, including three AHL seasons with a .923 save percentage or better. While Vladar’s early NHL results have not been spectacular, that shouldn’t hurt his value as a prospect as compared to his size, composure, and minor league track record. Heading into next season, other teams may even get a chance to show just how much upside they see in Vladar. The young goaltender will lose his waiver exemption in 2021-22 and if, as many expect, the Bruins go with a tandem of re-signed Tuukka Rask and Swayman next year, the team may try to trade Vladar if they don’t think they can sneak him through waivers. Via trade or waiver claim, Vladar could find himself on an NHL roster on a permanent basis beginning next season. If it goes well, Vladar could be on an NHL roster for much of the rest of his career, as opposed to joining Automobilist in the KHL. Things would have to go south in a major way for the young keeper in order for Yekaterinburg to see any returns on this trade in the near future.