Esa Lindell
Image: Jokerit

Esa Lindell

Hometown:

Helsinki Finland

Team:

Dallas Stars

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1994-05-23

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2012

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2012

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

3rd round (74th overall), 2012

Weight:

190 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • C

History

2009-10: Esa Lindell appeared in three games for Jokerit’s U18 team and was the leading scorer among defensemen for Jokerit’s U16 squad. In three U18 games he had 1 assist with 2 penalty minutes. Jokerit U16 finished third in the regular season and in 26 games Lindell scored 9 goals with 12 assists and had 16 penalty minutes. In 13 games in the U16 playoffs he had 1 goal with 2 assists and 8 penalty minutes as Jokeritn advanced to the finals against HIFK.

2010-11: Lindell was impressive in three playoff games for Jokerit’s U20 team after missing much of the season. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was plus-three with 2 penalty minutes in the U20 playoffs. He skated in 18 games for Jokerit’s U18 team (including four playoff games) and had 5 goals with 8 assists and had 14 penalty minutes.

2011-12: Lindell made his pro hockey debut, skating in two games with Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis (Finnish second league), and was the leading scorer for Jokerit’s U20 regular season champions. He represented Finland at the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship. Lindell was plus-one, averaging 18 minutes of ice time, in his two-game stint with Kiekko-Vantaa. In 48 games for Jokerit’s U20 team he scored 21 goals with 30 assists and was plus-24 with 16 penalty minutes. He scored 2 goals with 5 assists and was plus-one, averaging over 25 minutes of ice time per game, in 11 playoff games. Jokerit lost to Helsinki rival HIFK in the finals. Lindell had 6 assists and was plus-4 with 2 penalty minutes for fourth-place Finland at the U18 WJC. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 12th amongst European skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.

2012-13: Lindell made his SM-Liiga debut in September with Jokerit and skated in 19 games before being loaned to Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis at the end of November. He also play for the Jokerit U20 team and was a captain for Finland’s U19 team. After seeing consistent ice time early in the year, his ice time declined and Lindell finished -9 with no points and 4 penalty minutes for the SM-Liiga’s regular season champions. Lindell scored 4 goals with 6 assists and was -10 with 16 points in 22 games for Kiekko-Vantaa. He scored 5 goals with 4 assists in 11 games with the Jokerit junior team and was +2 with 6 penalty minutes and scored 3 goals in seven games for Finland’s U19 team.

2013-14: Lindell skated in 46 games for Jokerit, including two playoff contests, and played 11 games on loan to Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis. He was part of the defense corps for the Finland U20 team that won a gold medal in the 2014 World Juniors. Lindell scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was +8 with 10 penalty minutes, averaging 17 minutes of ice time, for Jokerit. The club finished sixth and was swept by HPK in a best-of-three preliminary round series. Lindell had no points nor penalties and was an even plus/minus in the series. In seven games for Finland at the WJC he scored 2 goals with 3 assists and was +6 with 6 penalty minutes. Finland defeated Sweden, 3-2 in overtime, in the gold medal game in Stockholm. Lindell signed a three-year entry-level contract with Dallas in May 2014. 

Talent Analysis

Lindell is a big defenseman who likes to join the rush.  He has an offensive-minded style that needs to be roped-in at times and refined. Despite his size he doesn’t engage too much physically. Lindell's skating is still a bit awkward and he’s not particularly agile.  The strength of his game is jumping into the play well and making offensive reads.  Lindelll sometimes appears lackadaisical in his own end and makes questionable decisions.  He has significant skills but must continue to coordinate them into a productive two-way game.

Future

Lindell skated for the Dallas entry in the 2014 Traverse City prospect tournament before being loaned to Assat Pori in Finland's Liiga for the 2014-15 season. Acquired by Assat from KHL-bound Jokerit after last season he is in his second Liiga season and is the leading scorer amongst Pori defensemen. Assat, after losing nine games during one ten-game stretch, has begun to turn things around. Lindell's attacking style fits in well with the philosophy of the Stars and the type of players coming into the system. The Stars' pipeline is well-stocked with defensemen though so he faces a challenge in eventually cracking the lineup in Dallas. In terms of his pro potential, he projects as an offensive defenseman but he will have to shore up the other areas of his game to reach the NHL level.

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