The Anaheim Ducks have reached the point of no return with Hampus Lindholm. After general manager tried for weeks to get an extension done with the pending free agent defenseman, Lindholm is now expected to be traded by Monday’s deadline. A trade is likely enough to warrant holding him out of the lineup entirely, according to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, who tweets that Lindholm won’t play Friday night.
In terms of where he might be headed, Darren Dreger of TSN reports that a few teams “continue to digest” the asking price, which currently is a first-round pick, and third-round pick, and a top prospect. While that may seem like a big ask for a rental player, just a few days ago, Ben Chiarot landed a similar package for the Montreal Canadiens. Lindholm is much more well-rounded than the former Canadiens defenseman, though he doesn’t have the recent successful postseason run that Chiarot is lauded for.
LeBrun suggests that the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues would make sense for Lindholm, though the defenseman has been speculatively linked to nearly every contender in the league at some point.
There is an injury history that the Ducks have to consider when protecting him over the next few days. Lindholm played just 18 games last season after suffering various injuries including a broken wrist. Throughout his career, he’s been able to play 80 games in a single season just once, and that was in 2015-16. Logging nearly 23 minutes a night opens him up to plenty of risk, especially given how many shots he blocks. If his time with the Ducks is over, the 28-year-old leaves with 581 games played, fourth all-time for the franchise among defensemen.
With Lindholm taken out and Josh Manson traded, the Ducks will have a new look going forward on the blueline. Veteran Cam Fowler and young Jamie Drysdale lead the group, though suddenly plenty of playing time is up for grabs. Kevin Shattenkirk, the only other established veteran in the group, is signed for one more season at a $3.9M cap hit.