Traverse City, Mich. — The names sure sound alike, but right now, the careers are eons from each other.
Yes, defenseman Gustav Lindstrom has heard the occasional joke about his name sounding so much like Nicklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings’ former Hall of Fame defenseman.
“A little bit,” said Lindstrom, who is participating at the Red Wings’ development camp this weekend at Centre Ice Arena. “When I got drafted, some people (back in Sweden) said it.”
The Red Wings only hope this Lindstrom has a quarter of the career that Lidstrom had.
Lindstrom was a second-round draft pick two weeks ago in Chicago at the Entry Draft, the 38th overall pick, which was a surprise to some scouts and analysts who felt he’d be selected somewhere around the fourth round.
But the Red Wings liked the size (6-foot-2, 187-pounds) and skating ability of Lindstrom, his coachability, and sound defensive ability.
Hakan Andersson, the Red Wings’ Swedish scout, liked the potential and upside of Lindstrom.
“He competes well, has a good first pass, good shot,” Andersson said. “I can’t tell you he has the upside of (Ottawa star defenseman) Erik Karlsson, but one game that comes to mind is the guy in Anaheim, (highly regarded) Jacob Larsson.
“Just a good, all-around player. A lot of teams thought they would get him in the later rounds.”
There was one other item, from talking to Lindstrom’s coaches, that stuck with Andersson about the young defenseman.
“You tell him something one time and he learns,” Andersson said. “A quick learner.”
Lindstrom played for Almtuma in Sweden’s second-tier junior league, with two goals and seven assists in 48 games.
Although known for his offensive ability, Lindstrom prides himself on being effective at both ends of the rink.
Red Wings second-round draft pick Gustav Lindstrom on what fans can expect to see from him. Ted Kulfan, Detroit News
“I’m a two-way defenseman,” said Lindstrom, who will be returning to Almtuma this season. “I’m a two-way defenseman who likes to move the puck and (make) a great first pass. I like to set up my teammates and I’m strong one-on-one along the boards.”
As for playing with Almtuma another year Lindstrom said: “It’s good for me to play there and play as much as possible, and keep going that way.”
Lindstrom’s growth during the season impressed Andersson.
“The coaches told him in the fall ‘If you want to get more ice time on this team, you’ve got to be better one-on-one and be quicker with the puck,’ ” Andersson said. “(And) that’s what I saw in January, February. He was much more stronger in the one-on-one game and this was while he was playing against men (in the league).
“He was moving the puck faster and doing things in less time. The coach said you tell him something and he’ll learn.”
Lindstrom wasn’t in Chicago for the Entry Draft, preferring to stay in Sweden.
“The day of the draft I was with my friends watching on television,” said Lindstrom, who met with Andersson in the days leading to the draft. “I was happy to share it (the excitement of the draft) with them.
“It was very nice to be drafted by the Red Wings. They have such a great history and a lot of Swedes (have played) there.
“I was very happy to be drafted by the Red Wings.”
There are several Swedes to spend time with this weekend in Traverse City to get acquainted with them along with a lot of other new and future teammates.
Lindstrom is excited to begin the process of hopefully someday reaching the NHL.
“It’s fun to meet new friends, and news guys from all over the world,” Lindstrom said. “I’m happy to be here.”