Interested in your take on Lindholm. I for one think Vatanen is at least a year away.
I'm actually really excited about what I've seen from Lindholm so far. The way he plays the game, the poise, his skating, his hockey smarts, and just his overall presence on the ice reminds me a lot of OEL or Pietrangelo(I'm not sure he has quite their upside). I'm not certain yet where his offensive game fits, in that comparison, and it's important to remember the sample size we're talking about, but I see a lot of those two players in his game. It wouldn't even surprise me to see Lindholm get a call before Vatanen, because his game just seems better suited to the NHL right now, There is still plenty of room for growth, but the way he plays will probably allow him to make that jump more seamlessly. With Lindholm, it feels like the more I see him, the better he looks. I don't think stats do this kid justice.
I agree with you on Vatanen. I know our Finnish friends love him, but his game seems really one-dimensional right now. If he isn't a force on offense he's just not that impressive, and I think you need to get more from a defenseman in the NHL in this day and age. Also, he's already running into trouble at times in the AHL in the D zone. Not just with his decisions, but battling in the corners. I've seen a number of plays where he is actually bouncing off of opponents, because he's just not big enough, or strong enough to win the puck. This is something that would only get worse in the NHL, He's got serious talent on the offensive side of the game, and I could see him called up to play on the PP, but I think he needs a bit of time to round out his game. Right now he's defined by his offensive numbers, and I just don't think that is enough. If he were called up, I think he would be best used in a sheltered role, with lots of offensive starts. That might let him dip his toe in the water, but I really do think a year in the AHL would be better for him.
For the record, I've also been pretty happy with Holland and Palmieri too.