Player Profile: Esa Lindell

Photo: Getty Images

Esa Lindell is a defenseman and an alternate captain for the Dallas Stars. Lindell had to adjust to the Stars’ defensive line changes throughout the past two seasons. Here’s what else you need to know about the Finnish blueliner.

From Finland With Love
Esa Lindell, 29, was born in Helsinki, Finland, on May 23, 1994. Esa’s parents are Liisa and Ari-Pekka. Also, Esa has a girlfriend, Anna Virta, and the couple reportedly has a “god-puppy” together.

Lindell made his SM-Liiga debut with Jokerit in the 2012-13 season, where he recorded nine points (five goals and four assists) in 11 regular season games and seven points (two goals and five assists) in 11 postseason games.

Dallas Time
The Dallas Stars selected Esa Lindell with the 74th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft. Lindell signed a three-year, entry-level contract worth $2.775 million on May 7, 2014. He played for Jokerit and then Ässät, where he recorded 35 points (14 goals and 11 assists) in 57 regular-season games before being assisted to the Stars’ AHL affiliate, Texas Stars, on March 16, 2015.

Lindell received his first NHL call-up on January 18, 2016. He made his NHL debut the next day but didn’t score his first NHL goal until November 25, 2016, in the Stars’ 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. He signed a two-year, $4.4 million contract extension on June 26, 2017, and then a six-year, $34.8 million contract extension on May 16, 2019. He became an alternate captain in February 2020.

Finnish Connection
Aside from being a part of the Dallas Stars’ “Finnish Mafia” alongside Roope Hintz, Miro Heiskanen, and Jani Hakanpää, Esa Lindell joined the ownership group of Jokerit in 2023 after the Helsinki-based hockey club departed from the KHL in 2022 and subsequently restructured its operating company.

The ownership group includes but isn’t limited to, Jokerit ry and other Finnish NHL players with ties to Jokerit, such as Teuvo Teräväinen, Ossi Väänänen, etc.

Medal Collection
Esa Lindell represents Finland as a part of the Finnish men’s national ice hockey team.

Lindell has won three medals so far in his professional hockey career. The Helsinki, Finland, native won a gold medal in 2014 Sweden for the IIHF World Junior Championship before winning a silver medal in 2016 Russia and a gold medal in 2022 Finland, both for the Ice Hockey World Championships.

Fun Facts
Esa Lindell is a big fan of Asian food. In 2020, Lindell told The Athletic that his favorite place to eat in Dallas is Nobu, a Japanese-Peruvian restaurant in the Hotel Crescent Court.

Lindell is also a big fan of the Finnish version of Survivor. In 2019, the Finnish defenseman told The Dallas Morning News that he thinks that it’s better than the American version.

Final Thoughts
Esa Lindell signed a six-year contract extension in 2019 for a reason. Lindell used strong defensive play in 2018-19 to ink himself a contract extension. He not only impressed the Dallas Stars organization, but he also showed them his importance in the team’s future moving forward. He and the rest of the “Finnish Mafia” are a significant part of the team’s success.

Ana Kieu

Ana Kieu is a journalist by trade. Her love for sports shows in her writing, editing, and podcasting work. She writes about the NHL for Inside The Rink.

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