Olof Lindbom was called up to the Swedish national team for the two World Championship warm-up games against Slovakia in April. While he didn‘t get to play, it was a big vote of confidence by Richard Grönborg to include such a young goaltender.
Lindbom led his U18 team, Djurgården, to the championship title and was voted playoff MVP for the tournament. On top of that Lindbom, was voted the 2018 U18 WJC Best Goaltender when Sweden got bronze in the Under-18 World Championship. The accolades will have NHL GMs wondering about the Swede’s talent and where he can be in a few years’ time.
The Montreal Canadiens’ own Lukas Vejdemo offered up his thoughts about his Djurgården teammate in a recent conversation with Eyes On The Prize. “He is a serious guy. He will always stay after a practice to enhance something. He played as an underage goalie with the U20’s and I am sure he will be a top goalie when the time comes. I am certain that he can reach the level of Linus Söderström [who was drafted 94th in the 2014 draft by New York Islanders]”.
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Date of birth: July 23, 2000
Weight: 185 lbs.
Youth Team: Ekerö IK
Team: Djurgården IF
Lindbom shows a solid positioning that got him through the U18 level without a lot of stress. He has technically solid RVH post-integration technique, as expected for a Swedish prospect. He appears pretty solid working behind screens, likely because his anticipation is very good, and he moves quite cleanly and precisely into his spots. He absorbs most rebounds and his puck control is solid, and while his reflexes are good they are not elite. Lindbom moves fluidly and well for his big size.
There are a few concerns about Lindbom’s play, however, the main one being that you don’t see a lot of explosive speed. For example; even the awesome save he made against Canada in the U18s is based on an excellent read of the shooter’s move and his ability to control his positioning, rather than a powerful reaction.
Lindbom also moves his shoulders back and lets his hands move back with them when he drops into butterfly, straightening his upper body into a more vertical position than he has in his stance. This tendency makes him vulnerable past the shoulders, which will have to be addressed as he moves up the levels.
The backwards upper body weight shift also works against him when he needs to recover. On the game-winner versus Canada, for example, he makes an initial save, but he’s falling backward, so he doesn’t get a powerful kick-out on the first jam attempt, and he’s out of the play after that. He seems pretty precise with his edges, so he should have better balance on a stress recovery like that.
Future Considerations: #259
Hockey Prospect: #137
ISS: #9th (Goalies)
NHL Central Scouting: #5 (EU Goalies)
Lindbom is an interesting prospect. It seems to me that he is read-reliant now, but it will serve him well in adapting to higher levels of competition, as will his fairly precise positional adjustments and his comfort behind screens.
He will have to work on his upper-body positioning to avoid being vulnerable to shooters that will beat him with quicker releases and sharper vertical angles on their shots than what Lindbom has experienced up until now. As mentioned earlier, the biggest question about him is whether he has the top-end speed potential to make his strengths work at the highest professional levels.
The standout takeaway about Lindbom is that he lacks deficiencies in his development. There are quite a few things that are already built into his game at this young age. But there are not really any standout, or elite, abilities in the game either.
That makes it hard to predict exactly where his development can take him in the future. The foundation is there, but the question that lingers is where Lindbom’s ceiling is. He is, at the moment, a jack of all trades, but can he turn into a king along the way?