Fresh off an international flight from Stockholm, Hampus Lindholm wasted no time getting back to work this afternoon with his teammates. The 22-year-old arrived in Columbus yesterday and took part in the team's full practice at Nationwide Arena. Lindholm, who had been practicing with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League during his lengthy contract stalemate, says he's ready to play.
"I feel comfortable, so whenever they want to put me in, I'm ready," Lindholm said after practice. "I want to be back as soon as possible."
That decision will ultimately come down to Lindholm, according to head coach Randy Carlyle, who today said he didn't "spare any shifts" when it came to handling Lindholm's on-ice work. "We've got to get him up to game speed as quickly as possible," said Carlyle. "The things we did today were pushing, shoving, defending and shooting. Probably the things he did the least of during his practice time [with Rogle]."
The Ducks open a stretch of three games in four nights beginning with a back-to-back set tomorrow in Columbus and Thursday in Carolina. From there, the Ducks will travel to Nashville to take on the Predators on Saturday. Carlyle says the option of rolling seven defensemen isn't out of the realm of possibility, but a reassessment will be done tomorrow.
"We'll see what tomorrow brings and make a decision based upon how he feels and what he says," said Carlyle. "He says he's ready to play. Ultimately, he'll be the one who decides if he's ready to play or not."
Lindholm says he managed to catch some shuteye last night despite the lengthy flight. "Travel is travel," he said. "You get some sleep, watch some movies and that's about it. The flight is always kind of tough, but I got decent sleep last night."
The easy-going Swede said there wasn't any animosity when he stepped into the locker room to reacquaint himself with old friends and introduce himself to new teammates. Lindholm, of course, was one of the last remaining restricted free agents without a contract. Jacob Trouba was the last domino to fall, signing a two-year bridge deal with the Winnipeg Jets yesterday. But the past is the past, and Lindholm says he's eager to begin a new chapter in Anaheim.
"It's nice to finally get it resolved and be out there," he said. "It's going to be fun. I'm going to try to focus on what I can do out there. I'm the kind of guy who likes to play games. That's when you develop and that's what matters. It's going to be fun to finally get out there."
The Ducks are scheduled to take part in a pregame skate tomorrow morning at Nationwide Arena. As always, AnaheimDucks.com will provide notes, quotes and potential line combinations leading into the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.