The Colorado Avalanche announced today that the team has signed defenseman Anton Lindholm to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Born in Skelleftea, Sweden, Lindholm recently finished his second full season in the Swedish Hockey League with his hometown club. Despite being limited to 30 games due to an injury, Lindholm still led Skelleftea AIK in hits with 85. He also added four points (all assists), 26 blocked shots, 18 penalty minutes and finished with a plus-3 rating while averaging 16:02 of ice time per contest.
The 21-year-old saw an increase of playing time during the postseason, averaging 18:11 in 16 games. He also led the team in both hits (43) and blocked shots (27) and had a plus-6 rating while helping Skelleftea to the SHL Finals for the second consecutive year.
After the season, Lindholm played in three contests for Sweden’s national team at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. It was the first time that Lindholm had represented his country on the international stage at an IIHF-sanctioned tournament.
With a defense-first mindset, Lindholm played his first full season of pro hockey with Skelleftea during the 2014-15 campaign, where he recorded seven assists and had a plus-12 rating in 35 outings. The Swede led the team with 87 hits while also contributing 25 blocked shots. He also appeared in five contests while on loan to the Malmo Redhawks of the Allsvenskan league in the middle of the season and registered three points (one goal, two assists). Lindholm finished out the year playing with Skelleftea and went on to record five points (one goal, four assists), eight penalty minutes, 43 hits and a plus-10 rating in 15 playoff contests.
The left shot D-man also helped Skelleftea advance to at least the quarterfinals in each of the first two years of the Champions Hockey League tournament in Europe. He had two goals and a minus-2 rating in 11 games during the team's run to semifinals in the CHL’s inaugural season in 2014-15, and he had an assist and a plus-4 rating in six contests in this past season's competition.
Prior to getting selected by Colorado in the fifth round (144th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft, Lindholm split his time between Skelleftea’s Under-16, Under-18, Under-20 junior and pro teams from 2009 to 2014. In 2011-12, the blueliner played the majority of his games with the Skelleftea U-18 squad, while also appearing in three outings for the junior team and making his pro debut in the SHL on Jan. 18 of that season at age 17. The following year, he was named an alternate captain for Skelleftea’s junior team and went on to appear in two contests for the professional club.
After playing seven more games with Skelleftea's pro team in 2013-14, Lindholm stuck with the club permanently for its playoff run. He went on to add one goal, two assists and averaged 16:37 of ice time in 14 postseason outings.