Mans Karlsson of Hockey Sverige is reporting that Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm spoke regarding his pending unrestricted free-agent status. Lindholm is less than six months away from hitting the open market and is currently sitting at number one on most hockey pundits’ trade target boards.
Lindholm conceded that he has had a hard time shutting out the noise around his contract status and the trade talk and it may have impacted his performance on the ice. The 29-year-old has just eight goals this season after posting 64 goals combined over the last two years. His assist numbers are in line with his average over the last two seasons (he has 22 helpers so far this season in 45 games) but he has been plagued by a shooting percentage of just 6.6%, which is far off from his career average of 12.1%.
There was talk earlier in the year that Lindholm was seeking a long-term deal with an average annual value of around $9MM, but that number might be a bit ambitious if the former fifth-overall pick continues to struggle to put the puck in the net.
Lindholm told reporters that he and the Flames have not discussed an extension since last summer, and while extensions can be worked out in a matter of days, it seems probable that the Flames and Lindholm could be headed in separate directions sooner rather than later.
In other morning notes:
- Ethan Sears of The New York Post is reporting that New York Islanders’ injured goaltender Semyon Varlamov is back skating daily as he tries to work his way back into the lineup. Varlamov has been out of action since January 2nd with a lower-body injury and is progressing slowly. Ken Appleby has been replacing Varlamov in his absence but has seen just one period of action so far. Varlamov has been good this season posting a 6-4-2 record with a 2.78 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
- Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports is reporting that Montreal Canadiens forward Josh Anderson is practicing this morning with the team and could return to the lineup tonight against the Boston Bruins after a four-game absence. Anderson has been out with a lower-body injury and practiced today on a line with Brendan Gallagher and Jake Evans. The 29-year-old has struggled this season with just seven goals and five assists in 41 games as his shooting percentage has fallen to just 7.5%, far off his career average of 11.2%. Anderson will reportedly be a game-time decision for the Canadiens today.