Lindgrens opens up about family, skating, Kamloops Blazers and NHL Draft ahead of WHL campaign

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Lindgren’s dad, also named Mats Lindgren, stepped in via Zoom to give readers information about his son, daughter Gabriella, an aspiring tennis player, and his wife, Vannessa.

The elusive and devious Mats Lindgren will have his eyes on him all season long, with pro scouts working overtime to figure out the 2022 NHL Draft prospect in silky skating.

KTW managed to corner Lindgren with a few questions ahead of his 17-year campaign with the Kamloops Blazers, whose head coach Shaun Clouston gave insight into the blue liner’s development.

Lindgren’s dad, also named Mats Lindgren, stepped in via Zoom to give readers information about his son, daughter Gabriella, an aspiring tennis player, and his wife, Vannessa.

FAMILY

A temporary family fracture is needed for the Lindgren’s.

Father Mats, who played seven seasons in the NHL, including one with the Vancouver Canucks (2002-03), resides in the Lower Mainland and works as a skills and skating coach.

With competitive tennis in Canada essentially closed amid the pandemic, Gabriella and Vannessa moved to Spain, where Lindgren’s 15-year-old brother is enrolled at a tennis academy near Barcelona.

“When it comes to the kids, we try to give them the opportunity to make their dreams come true,” said Mats, who was 30 when he retired from professional hockey as his career was hampered and cut short by injuries. . “They have a huge passion for their sport. It’s a few years where I think it’s important that you have this opportunity. That being said, it’s lonely. You know what I mean? It’s lonely for me. All of a sudden it’s just me and the dog, which I’m not at all used to.

The family moved from Vancouver to Sweden a few months after the birth of Lindgren, who spent the first 11 years of his life in the Scandinavian country.

Vannessa was born in Honduras, but moved to British Columbia at the age of three.

“It’s a pretty big mix,” said Lindgren, who turned 17 in August. “It’s really cool.

“I love it there [Sweden]. I like the culture. I still love it here, however. It was a good thing for me, along with my hockey and my sister’s tennis, to come. It is much more of a high level.

The Blazers’ rearguard has been forced to decide which country they will represent when called up to international service – Canada or Sweden.

“It might sound a bit silly, but when this decision was made a few years ago he was obviously thinking about it,” said Father Mats, who represented Sweden at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, USA. Japan.

“Do we refuse this? How do you feel, Matsy? He was very proud to represent Canada. Her mother is Canadian. He lives in Canada. Each year he will feel more like a Canadian.

Lindgren and Blazers goaltender Dylan Ernst donned the maple leaf and won bronze at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

ICE SKATING

The edge work has been refined in Sweden, cut in its clearance by the repetition of shear.

The family moved to Stockholm when Lindgren was five and found coach Roger Dahlström.

“It was hour after hour working on your edges,” said Father Mats. “I think those five years he spent with him laid the foundation for his strengths. As you get older, you don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of time doing this.

Power skating instructor Victor Kraatz took over from Dahlström when the Lindgren’s returned to Vancouver, but the son credits his father above all else.

“He taught me so much,” Lindgren said. “He’s the person I admire and I kind of try to be like him. I wouldn’t be here without him.

Clouston was asked about his D-man’s formidable feet.

“He’s a great skater, a world class skater,” said the Blazers head coach.

“This is his cutting edge work. It can open its hips, be on its inner and outer edges. He has good balance, which allows him to make tight turns. He is very mobile. The last part of this is just the power. As he gets older and gets stronger, with that added power, it’s going to add that element of speed.

The six-foot, 170-pound left shooter is doing his part to build strength.

“It was one of the big things I wanted to improve [in the off-season] was my shot and was just getting a little bigger so I could compete with the bigger guys in the league, ”said Lindgren.

“Last year I was a bit rushed so this is something I really wanted to work on. I think I did a really good job and I feel good.

EXPECTATIONS

Most 17-year-old high school students aren’t approached by NHL scouts, the media, adoring fans, and others who can boost their egos, put pressure on, or affect the mindset in a number of ways.

Steve Ewen of The Province recently wrote an article citing an anonymous NHL scout who said he was “astronomically high” on Lindgren because his game has “special elements.”

“For me, it’s pretty funny to see these things,” said Lindgren, noting that he tries to emulate Quinn Hughes and Cale Makar, star defensemen and top skaters for the Canucks and the Avalanche. Colorado, respectively. “I feel good because it kind of shows that the work I have done has paid off. I think the work doesn’t end there, however. I’ll just try to work as hard as possible and hopefully get drafted in June.

His father, selected 15th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1993 NHL Draft, is well positioned to help his son manage expectations.

“I think it helps to have been through this myself,” said Mats, who recorded NHL minutes with the Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders. “He has a good head on his shoulders. Don’t listen too much to things that are good or bad. You dream of going as far as possible. Don’t climb too high. Don’t sink too low. Keep working. “

DECISION

Snaring Lindgren was a blow to the Blazers, who took a risk by drafting the coveted defenseman seventh overall in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.

The Burnaby Winter Club product had verbally committed to playing for the NCAA Division 1 Michigan Wolverines, but changed course and inked with Kamloops in June 2019.

“For him, it became a pretty easy decision once Kamloops came on the scene,” Mats said. “When you go down the road to college, you’ll have to wait a few years later. The WHL is the best junior league in the world and I think you have to play with the best to try to achieve your goals. Mats felt it too.


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