Although a relative unknown to some at the start of the 2011-12 season, Swedish defenseman Hampus Lindholm has made a slow, steady climb up the 2012 draft ranks, to the point where he is a viable candidate to be chosen somewhere in the first round.
Pinpointing where Lindholm might ultimately land in the pecking order at next week's NHL Draft is difficult simply based on information from the scouting services. Central Scotuing, the NHL's scouting arm, has had the Helsingborg, Sweden native on their radar from the beginning of the season, placing him seventh among Swedish players in their preliminary rankings and fourth among European skaters in their final rankings. ISS, on the other hand, didn't have Lindholm in their initial rankings back in October, but had the defender steadily rising to the point where he is ranked 25th overall in their May rankings.
Lindholm, who played for Rogle in the junior and Allsvenskan leagues, turned in a solid though not spectacular performance at the 2012 Under-18 World Junior Championship. This may have dropped his draft stock very slightly at the end of the season. Then again, a strong showing on the VO2 bike test at the 2012 NHL Combine might bump Lindholm's draft stock back up a bit heading into the draft.
There is aspects of Lindholm's game to like, such as his puck-moving ability, but he also has his negatives which include his sometimes shaky defensive coverage. Compared to some of the top defensemen in a draft heavily weighted towards that position in the early going, Lindholm probably falls into the second tier grouping at this position.
Lindholm spoke with the media at the NHL Combine, some of which is captured in this video.