Where will Elias Lindholm fit best in the Bruins lineup?

The Bruins added a good center by signing Elias Lindholm. Where will he play in the Bruins lineup?
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game One
Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game One / Derek Cain/GettyImages

Day one of free agency is always a chaotic day for not only the Bruins, but the entire league as money gets thrown around like no one's business as teams look to get better for the coming year. There was certainly some moving and shaking for the Bruins, bringing in a pair of big names in center Elias Lindholm and defenseman Nikita Zadorov.

The contract for Lindholm is certainly a hefty one, with the Bruins giving him a seven year contract worth $54.25 million. That translates to $7.75 million annually through the end of the 2030-2031 campaign.

There was absolutely zero question that the Bruins needed a center this offseason, and the signing of Lindholm certainly accomplishes that. Now that pen has been put to paper, where does Lindholm fit best in Boston?

With Elias Lindholm joining the Bruins, where does he fit best in the lineup?

Lindholm is clearly the top six center the Bruins needed, but he is coming off a struggle of a season. Between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks, Lindholm had 15 goals and 29 assists in the regular season in 75 games, though he did raise his stock with five goals and five assists in 13 playoff games.

He's a few years removed from a 42 goal, 40 assist season, but I think he probably is more the 2022-2023 Lindholm that had 22 goals and 42 assists while finishing in the top 10 of voting for the Selke Trophy. With the Bruins, the question becomes if he slots in as the center of the first line, or if they keep him on line two.

If Lindholm is to center line one, he'd be playing alongside most likely Pavel Zacha on his left side and David Pastrnak on his right. Zacha, fresh off a 20 goal season, and Pastrnak just scoring 47 and getting 110 points would certainly boost Lindholm's offensive production, while Lindholm himself would bring strong two-way center play to a line that needs it.

However, there's a chance Jim Montgomery puts Charlie Coyle with Zacha and Pastrnak to allow Coyle to continue to build off the strong season he had as a top line center last year. That would leave Lindholm to center the second line, with Brad Marchand on his left. Who would be on the right is unknown right now, especially with Jake DeBrusk on his way to Vancouver.

Centering a line of Marchand and TBD would allow Lindholm and Marchand to become another solid two-way duo, with both guys contributing on the penalty kill and power play while also potentially partnering during OT games. While he's nowhere near the dominant center Patrice Bergeron is, bringing back a clear 1-2 combo with Marchand and a top center would do wonders at 5-on-5 in addition to the special teams for the Bruins.

Things could go either way, and we'll certainly get the answer as training camp gets underway in a few months' time. I think the most likely situation right now would have Lindholm centering Zacha and Pastrnak on Boston's top line, as that figures to bring the best out of all three players. Whether he's on the first or second line, the addition of Lindholm was a necessary and good move for Don Sweeney and company, cap hit aside.