Re-Assigning Elias Lindholm Opens New Opportunities For Carolina Hurricanes

By Michael Peckerar
James Guillory – USA Today Sports

There’s not a thing wrong with a player who might need a little more time to develop to go get that time.

Carolina Hurricanes rookie Elias Lindholm has had a pretty good season, so far. Nothing really spectacular, however, quite remarkable for an 18-year-old kid from Sweden. Having the opportunity not only to skate with players like Jeff Skinner, Eric Staal and Alexander Semin and soak up their influence, Lindholm has also been able to acclimate himself to living as a professional hockey player in the NHL.

One of the more engaging off-the-ice stories early in the season has been the ongoing adventures of Lindholm and his roommate, young defenseman Ryan Murphy. The two created a following on social media, beginning with Lindholm’s inability to pass the North Carolina driver’s license test. As silly as it sounds, it stood testament to one of the few things the Hurricanes organization is getting right these days. They know how to get young players acclimated and engaged. Whether it’s the city of Raleigh being well suited to people in that age group, or some other factor — it’s a forte of the organization.

However, Lindholm hasn’t exactly been giving the output he needs to. While  Murphy has been lighting up the rink, except for the occasional scrape with trouble, it just hasn’t happened for Lindholm in the same way. He’s spent some time on injured reserve and not really as much time on the ice as he needed.

Wednesday afternoon, the Hurricanes announced that Lindholm would be assigned to the team’s AHL affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. In the same announcement, the team confirmed they would be recalling Chris Terry, as well. This actually works out nicely for everyone involved.

To be perfectly frank, Lindholm isn’t going anywhere. He’s enjoying himself playing at the professional level, is enjoying Carolina — and again, is playing pretty well. However, at the moment, he needs a little time at the lower level to come back 100 percent from his injuries and learn professional hockey just a bit more.

Terry is a great idea to bring up in this exchange. With the arrival of Manny Malhotra and the unexpected offense he brings, there’s just no room for a young and freshly-injured center on the depth chart. Carolina is all set at center for the time being. Recalling Terry strengthens the left wing, where the team is lacking — save for the not-human Nathan Gerbe.

Another wrinkle to Terry being called up is that it forces head coach Kirk Muller to consider healthy scratches from the left wings. He has a choice now of scratching either Drayson Bowman or defenseman Mike Komisarek. The latter has been the scratch du jour of late, and rightfully so. There’s no place for him, as there’s no place for Bowman. If GM Jim Rutherford has awoken from his stupor, it’s possible he’s positioning the team to trade Bowman, Komisarek or hopefully both.

Lindholm is a great hockey player and a few months of playing out of his mind down in Charlotte may be just the stuff to bump him up to where he needs to play at the NHL level. Hopefully this is just “a stint” and Raleigh hasn’t seen the last of Lindholm.

More depth at left wing and a little Tetris with the lineup is a fantastic start. Follow it up with some smart trades, and Carolina may just become a contender again.

Michael Peckerar is a Hurricanes writer for Follow him on Twitter @peckrants, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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