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Colorado Avalanche Top 25 Under 25, #24: Anton Lindholm

Anton Lindholm will be tasked with returning to form after broken jaw hampered his season

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers and 320 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2018 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.

Last season, Lindholm arrived in Colorado with nothing but opportunity. After developing in Sweden’s Skelleftea system, he hoped to become the next big defenseman to make it big in North America after skating for the European club.

Skelleftea is a pretty solid system to look for future NHLers. Sebastian Aho, Viktor Arvidsson, Adam Larsson, Melker Karlsson, and an almost comical number of depth contributors over the years (anyone remember David Rundblad? How about Tim Erixon?) have arrived in North America after developing for the SHL club.

Unfortunately, after looking promising in his rookie North American season, Lindholm fell out of the favor of the coaching staff last year.

All in all, he only appeared in 48 games, missing a chunk of time for a broken jaw and then getting rotated in and out in the bottom of the team’s defensive depth chart. He went on to average just over 13 minutes of ice time a night in all situations, and he failed to record a single goal—although he wasn’t exactly put in the easiest position to do so. He would finish the year having started just over 35 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, getting almost trapped in the defensive zone during his limited appearances.

Ultimately, it’s hard to tell what Lindholm’s true ceiling is; he’s just 23-years old, and he wasn’t exactly given a chance to shine last year.

Still, he was a negative relative shot differential compared to the rest of his team, and he failed to capitalize on opportunities when the plethora of injuries popped up over the season. With the added depth of Ian Cole and the return to health of Mark Barberio, it’s going to be hard for Lindholm to make the team out of training camp. He’ll likely be in a battle with Patrik Nemeth and Mark Alt for the seventh and eighth defense spots.

It’s possible he’ll start the year in the NHL, but he could very well find himself kicking things off in the AHL with the Eagles—and hoping to work his way back up from there.