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Catching up with Lindholm

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
"Every player has the goal to be the best, and that’s why I try to work hard every summer to get better. Hopefully I can be one of the best someday."
By Kyle Shohara

Defenseman Hampus Lindholm enjoyed a stellar rookie campaign with the Ducks during the 2013-14 season. The 20-year-old from Helsingborg, Sweden, scored 30 points (6g/24a) with a plus-29 rating in 78 games, and set a club record for the best plus/minus rating of any rookie defenseman. In fact, his plus-29 was the fifth-highest plus/minus rating among rookie blueliners since 1989-90 and the highest of any such player in the Western Conference since 1991-92.

Lindholm was named to the 2013-14 NHL All-Rookie Team along with teammate Frederik Andersen, becoming the third and fourth Anaheim players to be named to an All-Rookie Team, joining Bobby Ryan (2008-09) and Paul Kariya (1994-95).

The easy-going Swede has spent the summer in his hometown enjoying the time spent with friends and family. But Lindholm is also on a mission to become the best player he can be for the team that selected him sixth overall in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Lindholm took a few minutes to share his thoughts on his offseason training, goals for next season, Andersen’s wardrobe and more.

First off, how has your offseason been?
It’s been good. I’m working out with my personal trainer Monday through Friday, two times a day. I’ll go play some badminton with my friends on the weekends. I’ve been working hard and really want to get stronger and improve my game for next year.

"I want to be a difference-maker for the team and play well in the playoffs. Playoff hockey is what you work for the entire season."

You take a lot of pride in your offseason training. What are some goals you’re looking to achieve next season?
I feel like I had a good first year, but I know the second year is a lot harder. I really want to come to Anaheim prepared and do my best to have an even better year. I want to help the team win games. I don’t want to not work out and feel like I didn’t give it a chance. I want to work my [rear end] off to really give it a chance this year.

How excited are you for the upcoming season?
I’m really excited. It’s a fun league to play in and I’m spoiled to be there. I’m not going to take that for granted. I’m just going to keep working. Every player has the goal to be the best, and that’s why I try to work hard every summer to get better. Hopefully I can be one of the best someday.

The Ducks made several offseason moves, including the acquisition of center Ryan Kesler from Vancouver. What can you say about Kesler coming to Anaheim?
I’ve heard good things about him. I’ve seen him play and I know he’s a heck of a player. I’m really looking forward to being on the same team as him. He’s a really good player and he’s been around for a while. He can really put up big numbers. He’ll be a good fit for us. I’m really glad to have him on my side.

You got to experience the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time. Does that serve as extra motivation heading into the upcoming season?
We had a lot of young players who got the taste of playoff hockey. At least for myself, I’m really looking forward to next season. I want to be a difference-maker for the team and play well in the playoffs. Playoff hockey is what you work for the entire season. That’s like the top of the cake. I’m really looking forward to having a good season heading into playoffs, and then having a good run in those playoffs.

With 2013-14 marking your rookie season as well as Teemu Selanne’s final season, what kind of influence was he on you?
He talked to you a little bit, but he doesn’t need to talk to you. You look to see what he does on- and off the ice, and how professional he is and how nice he is to the people around him. I was a part of his last year in the NHL. To see him play and how he is off the ice made me understand what it takes to be in the league for a long time.

Besides training, what are you finding time to do in Sweden?
I go to the beach. We have a couple nice spots here where you can jump from cliffs. It’s nice to lie down and get a tan going. I also play a sport called paddle. It’s like squash. I play it with my friends here. We have all kinds of activities. I’m just relaxing and having a good time.

What were your thoughts on Frederik Andersen and his guest, Hilary Knight, at the ESPYS? He definitely had ‘the look’ going for him.
They looked good together. [Laughs]. He likes to dress up and he’s a very nice guy. He really looked sharp. All he needed was an Aston Martin and he’d be James Bond. [See photo]

I noticed you posted a photo of your “new car” on Instagram. How’s that car treating you?
That car is treating me very well. It’s a Volvo, so you can’t break it. You can drive it in the sand and put it in water, and it’ll still run. We test drive that car on a racetrack.

What is the meaning behind “Hampe” as part of your Twitter handle? (@HampeLindholm)
That’s what my friends back home call me. Hampe hasn’t really crossed over to the States yet, but it’s quicker to say Hampe instead of Hampus. It’s a common nickname if your name is Hampus. I don’t really have a nickname in the States.

You’re a big soccer fan. What did you think of the World Cup championship game?
It was a lot of fun. I was cheering for Germany and Holland. I thought Germany played really well and I’m happy they won. I like soccer a lot. I might go watch a Premier League game before I come back to Anaheim. I like the environment. It’s fun how all the fans go to work during the day and they all leave their houses when it’s soccer time.

Do you miss living in Orange County?
I miss it, especially the hockey, but I haven’t been home in nine months. Being home for three months with your family and friends is much appreciated. The summers in Sweden are pretty nice, so it’s kind of similar to Anaheim. I’m a fortunate guy because I don’t see all the rainy days and bad days we have in Sweden because I’m in California. I have a perfect fit.

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