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He was the unexpected pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. With the 6th overall pick, the Ducks picked defenseman Hampus Lindholm of Sweden. We were confused at first and now we're excited.
Name: Hampus Lindholm
Hometown: Helsingborg, Sweden
Draft Story: Lindholm was drafted 6th overall this year, in a position that shocked many in the AC community. Lindholm was projected to be a mid-to-late first rounder, and was selected over players like offensive defenseman Mathew Dumba, pugnacious defensive defenseman Jacob Trouba, and centers Mikhail Grigorenko, Radek Faksa and Zemgus Girgensons (in addition to AC favorite, defenseman Olli Maatta).
Where did the Ducks send him for the lockout? Lindholm was assigned to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
2011-2012 League and Team: Hampus spent time on three different teams (all affiliated with parent club Rogle BK). He only played one game with Rogle's J18 team before being promoted to the club's J20 team, where he spent the next 28 games. He spent the following 20 games with the parent club, which, at the time, was affiliated with HockeyAllsvenskan (Sweden's second-tier league). The club has since been promoted to the Elitserien.
Other Hockey Ventures: Lindholm won a silver medal as a member of the Swedish team at the 2012 U18 Championships. He was also selected as one of the Swedish team's best three players.
Key Stats Last Season: 4 assists in 6 games during the U18 Championships.
Scout's take: From The Scouting Report:
Lindholm is a solid two-way defenseman who still has room to improve moving forward. The 6-foot-2 Swede displays above average offensive instincts and does a good job of anticipating when to jump into the offensive side of the game. He is a very strong skater and displays good lateral movement and an ability to skate transitionally which will be major assets moving forward. Defensively, Lindholm is solid albeit unspectacular. He can be prone to mental lapses and needs to do a better job of letting the play come to him rather than force it. Lindholm has come on of late and did have a solid showing at the U18's which has been the major catalyst behind his ascension in our final rankings.
Is he a work-in-progress, future trade bait, or a keeper? Keeper. If Lindholm continues to develop as expected, hemwill be a significant part of the Ducks' top four. His offensive instincts are already well developed, and his strong skating will prevent him from being caught flat-footed on the ice. I am most concerned about the Scouting Report's assessment that Lindholm is "sold albeit unspectacular" defensively. Yet, his defensive lapses seem to be related to youth and inexperience, and should not be an issue over time.
Should we be excited?: Yes! Even though many of us in the AC community will continue to debate whether Hampus should have been drafted 6th overall, I would encourage us to get past that question and think about how he will be useful to the Ducks in the long run. He may have not had the hype of prospects like Dumba, Trouba, and Grigorenko, but he is developing well, and we should see how he performs in Norfolk - and in comparison to his peers - before determining whether the organization made a mistake or not.
[Ed. Note: I was slightly obsessed with him at Conditioning Camp.]