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 second blog entry of 'It's Lindstrom with an 'N'.'
It's Lindstrom with an 'N' - Entry 2
by Gustav Lindstrom
Hello again, I know the holidays have been over for a while, but I still wanted to wish everybody a happy and healthy New Year!
Many people think since this was my first time being away from Sweden at Christmastime. That's not true. In 2017 we had the world juniors in Buffalo, that was the first time I didn't celebrate Christmas at home, so this was the second year. My family was here and we had a good time.
My mom and Dad are divorced so my mom, my two brothers and my grandma and grandpa were here for eight days between Christmas and New Year's and my dad was here a week after that.
Last year playing for Frolunda was the first time I lived alone and it was a five to six-hour drive from home, but when you're in Sweden you feel like you can go home whenever you want. This year was the first year I was so far from home. So, it was good to see my family again since it had been four months since I left Sweden at the end of August before training camp.
Just because I'm not North American doesn't mean my Christmas celebration is way different than how it's celebrated here in the United States or Canada. We have the same food as most of you would have like turkey, meatballs, potatoes, and I think you call them deviled eggs. Some Swedes eat Sorstromming, it is a foul-smelling, lightly salted Baltic Sea herring. I would not recommend it. But in Sweden we always have the same food for Christmas, Easter and Midsummer.
Midsummer is big in Sweden; it's celebrating the longest day of the year (summer solstice). It happens right before the NHL draft and development camp. The year I got drafted in 2017, usually we celebrate it on a Friday and the first round of the draft was that Friday and I was hanging out with my friends and then the next day Saturday (June 24) was the second to the seventh rounds. I was drafted by the Red Wings in the second round, so Midsummer 2017 is really a good memory for me.
In my first blog I wrote about my apprehension about playing all my games on the smaller ice surface and how I thought the transition was going pretty well. There is something I am still trying to get used to, the number of games we play. There are so many more games, in Sweden there's two games a week, maybe three sometimes, here it can be three to four games. Adjusting to the amount of games we play and playing when I was I sick is why I had a bit of a dip in my play there about two weeks around Christmas, but now I am feeling better again, so the last two or three weeks have been good.
I just had to get used to the North American style with travel. I've talked about it with some guys, if you were playing in Sweden, there would be like 10 games left in the season, but over here there's 30 or something and it's a big difference. It really doesn't give you much time to practice and work on stuff. Mondays, maybe Tuesdays, that you can actually work on stuff because every week it's Wednesday - game, easy practice Thursday and then you play on Friday and Saturday. It's Mondays when you can actually do something.
But as I said, it is going better now. My skating had been better this year, of course I need to work on it more, but my skating is better. I need to get used to playing the North American style. Sometimes you can't put it on the tape for someone, you have to play it glass out and that's something I've improved on. In Sweden it's so different. If you bring the puck up and you don't have anything you just turn back and go D-to-D, because you have so much time. I grew up making tape-to-tape passes so at the beginning of the season I wasn't comfortable making glass-out plays so even if I didn't have anything I tried to make plays and now I'm more likely to use the glass.
I am still learning. I talk a lot to Nik Kronwall; he sends me clips to study. I talk to him once or twice a week and sometimes he's in Grand Rapids. We watch clips together, it's good to have him as a mentor. Actually, the Red Wings stay in contact with me. It's been a month and a half since I talked to Stevie (Steve Yzerman) and I met with Horc (Shawn Horcoff) after our game against Iowa (Jan. 22). Once a month we have a meeting with (Dan) Cleary, Horc, Kronner and Brodie Tutton, our skating coach, and we go over clips they have taken out to show me. It lasts about 30-40 minutes. We sit down and watch and they tell me what I can do differently or what they like in my game.
We have had a lot of turnaround in Grand Rapids this year. With all the injuries in Detroit and on our team I've played with a lot of different D's here, which is different for me. In Sweden, we have the same roster from the start of the year until the end of year, it doesn't change very much. With Joe (Hicketts) being up and down. (Dylan) McIlrath has been up there, Lash (Brian Lashoff) has been up to the Red Wings, so I've played with a lot of different guys. I've played with Mo (Moritz Seider) the most and then probably Lash, really I've played with everyone. We have a system we play so you kind of know what to expect from your D partner and everyone on the ice, but of course you need to talk. If you play with the same D all the time, you know what he's going to do with puck. Sometimes it is difficult to play with different guys all the time, but it's a good learning point, too.
Our division is really tight, but we're starting to play better now. In our last dozen games we've gotten points so we have a good feeling right now as a team. We have a really good chance to make the playoffs, especially if our roster stays the same.
For me, I just have to keep doing what I'm doing right now. I'm not the kind of person that thinks too far into the future, I'm just taking it day-to-day, so I just come in every day and do my best and after that I can see how it's going. Right now I feel pretty good out there, my confidence is high and I've played good hockey for at least a couple of weeks now and I'm hoping that continues. With the people around me like Kronner and the other guys, they help me a lot. Now I need to work on improving my overall game because I want to help the Griffins make the playoffs and hopefully prove I am close to helping the Red Wings get back to where they belong - among the best teams in the NHL.