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When Martin 'The Eliminator' Gelinas was asked to describe Elias Lindholm, he called him a multiplier: "The type of guy who makes everyone you put him with better."

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

The offensive ship Elias Lindholm set sail on last year could be called a voyage of self-discovery.

And it's been a heckuva cruise.

"At first, when he came over," says Flames' assistant coach Martin Gelinas. "I had no idea what to expect. 

"I mean, we understood we were getting a really good, responsible defensive player. That was his reputation in Carolina.

"But then I phoned Rod Brind'Amour and Roddy was really upset that they'd lost him. Just so upset. A quality guy, he told me.

"That's when you kind of went: 'Hmmmmm …'

"We obviously liked his two-way game immediately. And by watching that, seeing that he had decent offensive numbers before, you knew he could create chances to score.

"But how much could he score?

"Well, he's been absolutely phenomenal in that department, too.

"When a game's on the line, he has that mindset now that he wants to be the one to make it happen."

Inserted on the top line a year ago to provide a defensive counterbalance to Johnny Gaudreau's spin-dazzle flash and Sean Monahan's lethal finishing panache in, as well as a Quick-Draw McGraw at the face-off dot, Lindholm helped the trio produce more three-part harmony hits than the Bee Gees.

Both Gaudreau and Monahan, as everyone hereabouts recalls, posted career highs in points, 99 and 82, respectively, operating alongside him.

Lindholm, too, was off-the-charts delirious over the fortuitous collaboration, increasing his best-ever goal total by 11, to 27, and point aggregate by 33, to 78.

"You could see him building confidence," says Gelinas.

Once can sometimes be considered a tad lucky.

But twice, now that's a bonafide charm.



And right at the moment, Lindholm finds himself Top of the Pops among Flames in goals (14), powerplay snipes (5) and game-winners (4), second in both points (21) and powerplay points (7).

"Obviously, 78 points last year … is a lot," admits Lindholm. "I always thought with my style game that anything over 60 would be good.
"But saying that, I always saw myself as someone who could produce more than I did in Carolina."

In his second season donning the Flaming C, he's branched out, spending more time with various other Calgary cast members - Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane, currently, as the Flames made final preparation for a visit by the Buffalo Sabres - and at the centre spot.

"Playing with Johnny and Monny helped put a little kick in my game,'' acknowledges Lindholm. "We just hit it off. I got rolling there, right away, and kept it going the whole season.

"But I've always thought I could play with lots of types of players.

"I take a lot of pride in putting on the jersey and working hard every day. And I take a lot of pride in doing it right. That's been a thing for me my whole career - do things right defensively and you're going to get your chances.

"Last year was a lot of fun. The first time in my career, I think, that I had the opportunity to play with the same two guys for that length of time. You get to know what they're going to do in certain situations. Things become second nature.

"When you play with different guys, you need to think a little bit differently. You don't do as much strictly on reaction. But, really, nothing changes in my game. I did it a lot in Carolina.

"I try to the same, to be consistent, wherever I play and whoever I play with."

The results, then and now, are there for all to see.

"We knew what we had in Johnny-Monny when Lindy got here,'' says Gelinas. "We just figured whoever we put with them, it was gonna work. Well, that not always the case.

"Lindy, though, the way he thinks the game, it just clicked with those two. Now he's showing he clicks with everyone.

"He seems so comfortable in the role now. And he got that by playing so much with those two guys last year.

"He's what I call a multiplier.

"The type of guy who makes everyone you put him with better."

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