Hampus Lindholm had a fantastic year for the Boston Bruins registering career highs in assists (43) and points (53) and led the NHL with a +49. Lindholm finished fourth in Norris Trophy, voting behind Erik Karlsson, Adam Fox, and Cale Makar.
If the award truly represented “the greatest all-around defenseman in the NHL” instead of offensive production from a defenseman, Lindholm would be the clear winner for his terrific two-way play this season. In my opinion, he has the best hockey IQ on the Bruins. He typically does all the little things right and makes smart plays on defense.
Like most Bruins, Lindholm benefitted greatly from Jim Montgomery’s system. Montgomery allowed more freedom for the Bruins’ defenseman, which was perfect for a player like Lindholm, who was dominant for the Bruins this year.
Hampus Lindholm easily earns an A for everything he achieved this past season
Like most Bruins, Lindholm struggled in the playoffs. It has been reported that the Bruins’ star blue liner dealt with a broken foot throughout the playoff series with the Panthers. It hindered him as he was less sharp during that series, looked slower, and made costly mistakes against the Panthers.
However, Lindholm was one of four Bruins to finish the Panthers series with a positive +/-, and his underlying numbers were solid, but it was obvious to the fans who watched him all season that he was not the Hampus Lindholm who finished fourth in the Norris Trophy voting. That said, I think he was one of the better Bruins on the ice during game 7 at the garden. He showed up when it mattered.
Lindholm deserves the A grade, as he was one of the best Bruins all year long, only to be overshadowed by David Pastrnak and Linus Ullmark. His dominant two-way presence was vital to the Bruins’ historic season, and in my opinion, he deserved to be a more recognized Norris Trophy candidate.
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The 29-year-old defenseman will be a key member of the Bruins for years, with seven years remaining on his contract. Having a player of Lindhom’s talent on the back end locked up is an exciting notion for Bruins fans. With all the concerns of the organization’s future, defense sure is not one of them, with McAvoy and Lindholm under contract for the foreseeable future.