The Red Wings drafted Gustav Lindstrom in the second round, 38th overall, in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman is one of four Red Wings prospects writing a blog for our Taking Flight blog series, which chronicles the ups and downs of each player as they work their way to becoming Red Wings. During the 2018-19 season, Lindstrom played for Frolunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League (SweHL). He is currently in his first season as a pro, playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate. Here is his first blog entry of 'It's Lindstrom with an 'N'.'
It's Lindstrom with an 'N' - Entry 1
by Gustav Lindstrom
Hello everybody, this is my first blog entry and though I'm looking forward to blogging about my life as a professional hockey player, please remember I think in Swedish, but I'm writing in English, so I hope my thoughts make sense in translation.
When I decided to play pro hockey in North America this season, my main concern was playing every game on the smaller ice surface. But so far I think the transition … it's been good. Like, before I came here, I just played the Summer Showcase there in Plymouth and then the world juniors so that's it. Now I've played, what is it, almost 30 games now in the season? I've felt good so far, I think. I feel more comfortable every single game. It's a little bit different from back home in Europe but I like it so far.
The game here is more physical than it is back home in Sweden. That's probably because of the smaller ice, too. But I think I'm a player that likes to play physical or use my body so I think the smaller ice fits me well. Then in our own end, the D-zone, it's not easier but it's less space for their forwards to do something, so in our D-zone, it feels like sometimes it's easier here to defend on the smaller ice. But with the puck you have to be quicker and make the decisions quicker.
Since I have been coming over to North America to play hockey in the Summer Showcase or the world juniors, a lot of fans are surprised that I like to play physical. I guess they think all players from Sweden are more cerebral than physical or something, but I have always liked to hit. I don't know, maybe from when I was a kid, we played street hockey and on the street we had big snow, like snow walls. We liked to hit each other into the snow and stuff like that. I think it came from that. I liked to hit my friends into the snow and then when I started playing hockey, I took that from the street to the ice a little bit. Then I had my uncle, Marcus Ragnarsson, he played for San Jose. I had him as a coach, too, in Sweden. He's a guy that, he liked to play hard, too. Not hit people but use the body to get the puck and stuff like that. Maybe from the street and from him is why I enjoy the physical play.
Playing in Grand Rapids has been a good experience so far. For me, the biggest challenge is, I think, the language because when I came here my first development camp, my English was really bad or not so good. I think it's better now. I had to take English in Sweden until I was 15 or 16, but I still don't know some of the English words for certain things. Then Joe Hicketts helped me with the apartment and stuff so we're neighbors now. It's been good. He's been helping me a lot. I don't really have American TV here so I watch the Swedish channels. They're in my phone, I stream from my phone, do my Apple TV. So I always watch Swedish programs. My favorite is a comedy show, it's called Solsidan. It's like if you translate, it's the sun side, it's a place a little bit outside of Stockholm. It's a comedy from there every Sunday. Even as a kid the TV shows from America were always dubbed, I remember I watched Disney Channel. I liked Hannah Montana and a school program, I don't know the name. So, though I am familiar with American culture a bit, I am still adjusting to my life off the ice.
On the ice, I have felt good. I'm not really happy with my stats so far, the points and stuff like that. But I think I've played well. I'm really happy with how I started the season here so overall I think I've played good. The coaches have told me to focus on the small stuff. Maybe sometimes be quicker to join the rush instead of just looking where the puck is going and stuff like that. Box out and stuff. I don't think I've had a main partner so far. It's felt like I played with everybody here. But lately I've mostly played with Mo Seider. Before that, Joe (Hicketts) for a little bit before he was called up by the Red Wings. Playing with Mo has been good. We play a kind of similar game out there. Both of us want to play with the puck. I think that comes from the European style of hockey, take care of the puck and not just rim it around. Both of us like to play with the puck and get open for each other and help each other out there and make some plays. Mo is a really funny guy and likes to talk a lot. Sometimes I wish he would be quiet, but it's funny, too. He's sitting right beside me in the locker room, so sometimes it's too much and sometimes it's a good level. Me and Zadina tell him sometimes to shut up. But he's fun. He's a good guy to be around.
Playing in North America for the Red Wings organization has been great. I know it has been good for me as a person and a player, but I don't put goals on myself. I've always been like, take one day at a time, just do my best every day. Then let's see what happens. I've always been bad trying to set my own goals. As I've said, I just take one day at a time. I listen when I talk to (Niklas) Kronwall and the other guys here, especially Matt MacDonald, one of the assistants, when they have something to tell me about what I can do better out there, I listen to them and try to do it.
Being able to talk to Nik Kronwall has been really good. Maybe because we're Swedish and he had to go through what I'm going through now, he understands. I only hope that someday I can be the same kind of player he was for the Red Wings.
Well, that's my first blog, thanks for reading and have a good holiday season.
In 31 games for Grand Rapids, Lindstrom has four assists, is minus-8 and has been assessed 22 penalty minutes for the Griffins.