Lindholm Enters Norris Trophy Conversation

When thinking about Norris Trophy candidates on the Boston Bruins, one name comes to mind, and that’s Charlie McAvoy. He has established himself as a top-five defenseman in the league and only continues to improve each season. To start the season, though, McAvoy has been sidelined as he rehabs back from offseason shoulder surgery and has left a massive void on the blueline for the Bruins.

Luckily for the organization, their second-best defenseman, Hampus Lindholm, has stepped up significantly. Acquired at the trade deadline last season to address a need on the left side of the defense, the Bruins had high hopes of what Lindholm could bring to this team, and he hasn’t disappointed.

Lindholm has anchored the blue line as he has been a constant on the top pairing through 13 games. He has delivered not just on the defensive side, as he has been a key contributor in the offensive zone. Lindholm is off to what looks to be a career year for the 28-year-old Swedish native. Lindholm holds career highs of 13 goals, 27 assists, and 34 points and is on pace to crush them.

Through 13 games, Lindholm has recorded four goals and nine assists for 13 points. Amongst NHL defensemen Lindholm finds himself ranking third in goals, tied 6th in assists, and tied 3rd in points. What stands out the most is Lindholm’s +/- as his +12 is tied for the NHL best, showing the impact he has for the Bruins when on the ice.

It will be interesting to see where Lindholm will play once McAvoy makes his return. The two played alongside each other on the top pairing last season but were also split up at times to create depth amongst the top four. Head coach Jim Montgomery will have to make a big decision on what direction he will go when creating his lineup, as each choice has its pros and cons.

Lindholm has tough competition when it comes to the Norris Trophy, as Erik Karlsson is having a resurgent year with ten goals and 19 points through 14 games. One can never count out last year’s winner Cale Makar who has the talent to run away with it at any point in the season.

Lindholm will need to continue his dominant play throughout the entire 82-game season, as 13 games is a small sample size but also just a glimpse at what he is capable of achieving. With Jim Montgomery’s new defensive philosophy of his defensemen being heavily involved on offense, Lindholm has the potential to sustain this pace and establish himself as a legitimate Norris Trophy candidate for the 2022-2023 season.

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Kevin Santangelo

Co Host of Cue' the Duck Boats Podcast Writer for Inside the Rink

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