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Cayden Lindstrom: lower your expectations to Chris Kreider with back pain
Credit: Getty Images

One week to go before the draft. It’s just around the corner!

To sum up, Canadiens fans would be relatively happy if Cayden Lindstrom or Ivan Demidov were available at #5 next Friday.

Will it happen? Maybe, but nothing’s guaranteed.

If Demidov is available, I don’t think the red flags surrounding his candidacy are disastrous. Yes, he’ll be playing at too low a level in 2024-2025 because of his contractual situation in Russia, and yes, he’s injured, but it’s not the end of the world.

His red flags are possibly the result of an NHL team lying, right now.

But Cayden Lindstrom has other red flags. His back pain is the talk of the town, but so is his potential to really become the player he can be in the National League.

On The Athletic, Corey Pronman answered a reader’s question about Lindstrom’s potential. Here’s what he had to say about the prospect.

Chris Kreider is a name I hear a lot from scouts comparing Cayden Lindstrom to.

We’re probably talking 70 points for his best years, but around 50-60 points on average. – Corey Pronman on Cayden Lindstrom.

It’s an interesting comparison, since Kreider is a really important player for the New York Rangers, but he’s not necessarily the fifth-best forward of his generation.

Would it have been a total mistake to see him in fifth place in 2009? Not necessarily. But statistically speaking, there were better options on the table.

(Credit: Hockey DB)
Kreider is the eighth-highest scorer of his generation at the moment. Six forwards and Victor Hedman are ahead of him.

Note also that Kreider has had two seasons of at least 70 points (both in the last three years) and three seasons between 50 and 60 points. One of these took place in 2022-2023.

(Credit: Hockey DB)
Basically, before the age of 30, Kreider had just two 50-point seasons.

He’s taken a notch in the last three years (he’s been 33 for two months) and it looks… but he’s still bothered opponents in their twenties, which counts too. Would the Habs be happy with Lindstrom’s profile in the short, medium and long term?

Considering all this and his back problems, it’s easy to see why the likes of Simon Boisvert and Craig Button have Lindstrom ninth in their respective rankings.

The Snake, as told to Tony Marinaro’s Sick Podcast last night, said not to get too carried away: Lindstrom won’t be an 80-point guy. He’s talking about the same waters as Pronman, then.

He also reiterated that his skills might not necessarily translate to the NHL because he doesn’t have the biggest hockey sense in the world. So he’s hard to evaluate.

He may be a complement on the wing if he doesn’t reach his full potential.

Am I saying that Lindstrom isn’t good? No. After all, a club that isn’t afraid of his back could take a chance on him, and with his size and skills, he could become quite an NHL player.

Seeing him dominate the NHL is a likely scenario.

But just keep in mind that even if a Chris Kreider-type guy is available at #5, he doesn’t have Demidov’s talent and he doesn’t have the potential of a #1 defenseman (whose contribution isn’t calculated solely in terms of points) either. That’s all I’m saying.

If the Habs have done their homework and draft him, he’ll no doubt be a crowd favorite and help the Habs. But the question on the table is whether another player might be more suitable at #5. The answer in a week’s time…


– Enjoy.

– Why does Corey Perry keep going? [TVAS]

– The two of them together would be crazy.

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