The offseason is still young for the Blues, but already the club has made a plethora of moves both on and off the ice. One day after announcing the hiring of Jim Corsi as their new goaltending coach, the club added a piece for their on-ice team, signing forward Joakim Lindstrom to a one-year contract.
Lindstrom’s contract with the Blues is a one-way deal worth $700,000. In the 2011-12 season, which was Lindstrom’s most recent stint in the NHL, the forward was making $600,000 with the Colorado Avalanche. Aside from Colorado, Lindstrom has played with two other NHL teams, including the Phoenix Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets.
A former Columbus prospect, Lindstrom has spent the past two seasons in the Swedish Hockey League. The left-winger amassed 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) with team Skelleftea last season. As a part of Skelleftea, Lindstrom has won back-to-back championships and was named the Swedish Player of the Year last season.
”The winner of the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation Price Gold Puck 2013-2014 is a hockey player who throughout the season proved top class in both the SHL, as SM-finals and the Tre Kronor,” the Swedish League wrote in a statement regarding the awarding of the Golden Puck for Player of the Year in Swedish Hockey. “He has been a great player for many years, but still managed to raise his level another step this season, as he has been as important to his club team as for the Swedish national team. A scorer, a forward player and a loyal team player – he has all the qualities one could wish of a true match winner.”
While Lindstrom has had success overseas, he has undoubtedly struggled to find consistent offensive success in the NHL. His career-high in goals is nine, which he tallied in 2008-09 with the Coyotes. However, with a financially-friendly, low-risk contract, his addition can only help the Blues.
Since being drafted by Columbus in 2002, Lindstrom has played in just 97 NHL games, and has tallied 15 goals, 33 points. His offensive production will have to improve if he wants a consistent spot in the Blues’ lineup, but the club is willing to wait and see where the forward fits.
"He's a player that's been to North America, gone back and really reinvented his game," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He came over probably too young and went back (to Sweden). He wants to come back (to the NHL). I know there were a few teams that were trying to get him to come back to North America."
The Swedish forward is projected to fit in a third or fourth line role in St. Louis. He will help to fill part of the void left by forwards Derek Roy and Brenden Morrow, both of whom are unlikely to be re-signed by the Blues.
Lindstrom also has a connection with several members of the Blues’ squad, including head coach Ken Hitchcock who he played for in Columbus, and fellow Swedish forward Alexander Steen. Steen was one of a couple of Blues player who took to Twitter to welcome Lindstrom to the team and called Lindstrom one of his “best friends”.
With a wealth of forwards in their system and on roster, the move is an intriguing one by the Blues. However, it is not surprising as they look to re-tool their roster. Currently, the club has six forwards who are free agents. Several of those players are expected to be re-signed.