CHICAGO - Four hundred, ninety-nine games, it feels, have flown by for Elias Lindholm.
Hours before he's set to suit up for his 500th NHL outing, the Swede can clearly remember his league debut, back as an 18-year-old in the 2013-14 season.
Then a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, who drafted him fifth overall in 2013, he took his first NHL shift in a home game against the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 4. He put in 9:16 of work and was held off the scoresheet, but going up against players like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who he grew up watching, is something that remains clear as day in Lindholm's mind.
Video: Elias Lindholm on playing his 500th career game
"It goes by fast," Lindholm said. "They always say you've got to enjoy it because it goes by so fast and it actually does. The first game, it doesn't feel like seven years ago - probably more like three or two.
"It's a good number," he added. "But you probably look more towards 1000 than 500. But it's a lot of games, a lot of preparation, a lot of hard work. It's been a long way to get here but obviously I've enjoyed it."
Adding to the excitment surrounding this evening's milestone game is the fact his father, Mikael, will be in attendance as he's with the team on their fathers/mentors trip.
"It's cool," Lindholm said. "Obviously every time he's watching, it's a special time. He's been a good mentor and helped me along the way, to get here. I don't think I'd be here without him. It's cool to have him here."
Since being acquired by the Flames in the summer of 2018, Lindholm's career has blossomed and he's become one of the team's most consistent offensive producers.
Video: Lindholm led all Swedish players in scoring
In his first season in Calgary, he set new career highs with 27 goals and 78 points. This year, he's leading the club with 16 goals and sits fourth in team scoring with 32 points.
In total, he's played 125 games in Flames silks, scoring 43 goals and 110 points - an average of 0.88 points-per-game.
"I think I've been taking steps now, lately, the last couple of years and just the hard work ... I think that's something you can be proud of," was his modest reply when asked about his time in Calgary.
"More consistency last year with playing with the same players. That obviously helps too."
Video: CGY@EDM: Lindholm sends wrist shot into the twine
Even with more of a spotlight on Lindholm and his successes in Calgary, his captain feels he's still a very underrated player.
"He doesn't cheat for offence. He's a reliable guy. People don't realize how strong he is on the puck," Mark Giordano said. "He's a tough guy to knock off the puck. He's really physical when he has to be. He plays the game the right and it's nice to see guys like him get rewarded, have another great year and put up some goals. But more importantly for us, on the defensive side of the puck, he's always reliable."