By Garrett Funk
Hampus Lindholm, like a lot of other Ducks, did not have the start to the season he wanted in 2015-16. Lindholm struggled on the ice from October through December. After finishing his first two seasons at a very good +29 and +25, he finished the 2015-2016 season at a +7 rating. While that is not bad, it is not where he would like it to be and a drop off compared to his first two stellar seasons. The kid is still young, however, at age 22. With each season that passes, he will only get better and has plenty of time to turn into the number one defenseman many expect him to be.
The Ducks have only seen glimpses of how good this Swedish defenseman will be. In a stretch of three games from February 2-5, 2016, he potted a goal in each one. Lindholm began to join the rush more and and it showed as he scored a personal best 10 goals last season. His ability to backcheck and play solid defense comes naturally because of the way that defensemen are taught to play the game in Sweden. He has the ability to make plays with his stick and his body.
Lindholm is a restricted free agent, so there is no guarantee he will remain a Duck, but most believe the team is hard at work trying to sign him. The Ducks need to get a deal done because he is the future of their blue line. In the playoffs, Lindholm was +6 against the Predators. He had three assists as well in that series.
The Ducks can count on Lindholm to play a responsible game every night and join the rush when the opportunity presents itself. For the season, I would give him a B+ overall. He could have been better, but he was still very good. Last year was a struggle for all players, especially early on, and I believe Lindholm will be much better in the 2016-17 campaign.
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