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Casual Lindholm among elite company

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

To be named with them is an amazing feeling and something I’m really happy about.Elias Lindholm

CALGARY, AB -- Few have impressed like Elias Lindholm.

A select few.

Only Peter Forsberg and brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin have put up more points-per-game as a draft eligible player in the Swedish Hockey League than Central Scouting's top Swede.

But that doesn't put any extra pressure on the Scandinavian standout.

Third among European skaters in Central Scouting's final ranking for the 2013 NHL Draft, Lindholm called it an honour, not a stress, to be compared with some of Sweden's top hockey exports.

"To be named with them is an amazing feeling and something I’m really happy about," Lindholm said.

Lindholm made his Svenska hockeyligan debut as a 17-year-old last year, playing 11 regular season and two playoff games after notching 14 goals and 49 points as a member of Brynäs' under-20 squad.

Jumping to the big team this year, Lindholm recorded 11 goals and 30 points in 49 games as a rookie -- third on his team and 29th in league scoring. His performance as an 18-year-old playing against men 10 and 15 years his senior have many pegging Lindholm as the next big thing from Sweden.

Not that he buys into the hype.

"I’m just a normal guy and don’t put any focus on that, I leave that to the media to talk about," said Lindholm, whose cousin is Detroit Red Wings prospect Calle Järnkrok.

His estimated time of arrival to the National Hockey League is another aspect of Lindholm's game that has been hotly debated.

Though many feel Lindholm is ready for the challenge of North American hockey, his contract with Brynäs extends another season and is something the 6-foot, 181-pound pivot plans on seeing through.

"My plan is to stay one more year in Sweden, I think it would be the best for me," Lindholm admitted. "It’s tough to say when I’m ready for the NHL, maybe it’s the next season or maybe the one after that. We’ll see."

Meaning if the Flames are stressing the importance for an immediate impact with their sixth overall selection, Lindholm might not be that option.

Still, that doesn't mean that the Gävle native hasn't thought of pulling on a Flames jersey on draft day.

"It would be a lot of fun," said Lindholm, who interviewed with the Flames as one of his 23 meetings at the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto in late May. "Based on what I’ve heard it’s a great hockey town and also a nice place to live in."

Lindholm will have to wait until draft day to find out if he'll get the opportunity to call Calgary home. In the meantime, the silver medalist at the 2012 World Junior Championship is just hanging in Gävle waiting to make the trek to New Jersey.

Once he's there, Lindholm said he's ready to just take everything as it is.

"I’m just going to come over and have fun an enjoy it," he said.

Until he joins another select few Swedes as a potential top pick on draft day.

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