Carolina Hurricanes forward Elias Lindholm got to spend the holiday with his family in Sweden — which would be awesome if it was just the holiday.
Earlier in the month, Lindholm was cleared by Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford to participate in the World Juniors Championships to represent his native Sweden. Geography being what it is, it’s somewhat tough for Lindholm to make it to PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC when he is in Sweden, so he is obviously unavailable to the Hurricanes.
This is a horrendous time to ship a producing forward off to a Juniors tournament that showcases future prospects. Lindholm is not a prospect, he is a professional hockey player signed to an NHL contract. What do he or the Hurricanes have to gain from skating in the World Juniors? Don’t search for an answer, it’s ‘nothing.’
With Carolina’s recent woes on the scoreboard and their house in disarray, why is Rutherford sending anyone who is producing to play anywhere other than for the Hurricanes? While Lindholm runs the same risk of injury in the NHL as he does at the World Juniors, at least here it’d be in service to the team. Even if he isn’t injured, if he does well at the tournament what does the team get out of that? Again, nothing.
Truth be told, he’s in Sweden in front of a lot of pro scouts. When one gets right down to it, Rutherford is dangling Lindholm out as trade bait for who knows what team. Is this really a good call? Maybe by Rutherford standards it is, but everyone knows those standards are lower than a flea in your basement.
It’s hard to believe that owner Peter Karmanos Jr., head coach Kirk Muller, or anyone else in the Hurricanes organization green-lighted this cockamamie idea with no protest. One simply cannot let an 18 year-old kid call his own shots versus the front office of a professional hockey team. No matter how badly he wants to skate for Sweden, see his friends, or eat at Max Burger again — there is work to be done.
Carolina is sagging in the Metropolitan Division standings once again, and shipping a perfectly good forward off to a Juniors tournament — no matter his eligibility — is dumber than the Fox Sports puck-tracking idea.