The Ducks have signed defenseman Hampus Lindholm to a six-year contract through the 2021-22 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Lindholm, 22 (1/20/94), has collected 23-69=92 points and a +61 rating in 236 career NHL games with the Ducks. Lindholm led Anaheim with a career-high 115 blocked shots last season, while also pacing team defensemen in goals and appearances, and ranking second in scoring. The 6-3, 205-pound defenseman also led Ducks defensemen with a +6 rating during the club's First Round series against Nashville. Since his debut season in 2013-14, Lindholm's +61 rating ranks third amongst all NHL defensemen (he's also the youngest in the top 10).
Selected by Anaheim in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, Lindholm became the first Ducks defenseman to be named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 2013-14. He also set a club record for the best plus/minus rating of any rookie defensemen (+29) that season.
A native of Helsingborg, Sweden, Lindholm recently represented Sweden at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. He has also participated in multiple international tournaments at the junior level, earning silver at the 2012 Under-18 World Junior Championship.
Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray discussed the contract shortly after. Below are his quotes.
How much did you lean on [Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations] David McNab throughout this process in relation to the salary cap, and fitting Lindholm under the cap without having to make a move?
David's one of the best in the business. He's been invaluable to the group throughout this process. I can call at all hours of the night asking questions, and he always has an answer. If he doesn't, he finds out very quickly.
Did you consider it imperative to get Hampus signed at a number you were comfortable with? How tough was it?
It's a business. Claude Lemieux had a job to do, and we had a job to do. We wanted to get it at a fair number for the organization so we could try to move forward with this group as best we can. I wanted to give this group another shot. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep it that way.
Do you know any more on the Despres situation? Was that a factor?
The Despres situation is a very sensitive issue. My goal is to hopefully make it that Simon, in the end of all this, lives a happy, healthy, normal life. It's going to take some time before we get to that point. That's all I want to say on that. It's sensitive and I feel really bad for Simon.
As it stands, are you in good shape cap-wise? Do you feel like you don't need to shed salary?
We're okay right now. We're like a bunch of other teams right now. It's funny that Anaheim is part of this group now. We're going to have to manage the cap. It's going to be an interesting experience, but I'm going to do the best I can to give this group one last shot at this. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep it that way.
How would you describe the feeling of getting this contract done?
Hampus is a really good, young hockey player. We all know that. He's part of the future of this franchise. We did everything we could to get him signed at a fair price. He's only going to get better. It solidifies this organization. It was tough negotiations, but that's the business part of it. I'm happy. We're going to try to get him here as quickly as we can.
How does that affect the team's internal budget?
Without the support of [owners] Henry and Susan Samueli, and [Chief Executive Officer] Mike [Schulman], this would've been impossible. They had my back the whole time. They've been wonderful to work with. We'll work on the budget as we work on the cap. This never would've happened without their support.
Was this the toughest contract negotiation you've had as a general manager?
It's right up there. Getzy [Ryan Getzlaf] and Corey [Perry] weren't easy, and Bobby Ryan's wasn't easy. They're never easy, but they're all different. You have to stay true to what you believe in. I believe strongly in some things and ownership had my back. That makes it a lot easier.