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Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm has tools, opportunity to join NHL’s elite defensemen

By in Press Enterprise on November 7, 2017

By Eric Stephens

ANAHEIM — Through all the talk of the Ducks possessing a wealth of riches when it comes to the quality defensemen flowing within the organization, there is the bauble that’s been perceived to be missing from the collection.

Elite top-pairing defenders are hard to find and in short supply. The very best, the clear No. 1s, not only run the blue line but can often direct the pace of play and impact the game in any, and potentially, every situation.

Look up the freeway and there is Drew Doughty with the Kings, whom the Ducks will host Tuesday night. Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson immediately comes to mind, as do Chicago’s Duncan Keith, Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang, San Jose’s Brent Burns and Minnesota’s Ryan Suter.

Others are peppered throughout the league, with some closing on that elite group and others who are very good and the best on their teams but not quite in that exalted class. The Ducks have Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm leading their pack. But is either a bonafide No. 1?

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As Fowler recovers from a knee injury that will keep him out for a month or more, Lindholm has his best opportunity to show he is that. Or, at least, can be. The 23-year-old Swede has certainly been entrusted with the responsibility of one.

It is something that he has coveted since coming up with the Ducks after being the sixth pick of the 2012 draft.

“I think I’ve been that every year,” Lindholm said. “Obviously now you get a couple extra minutes because Cam is out. Even when he’s in the lineup, we usually get to play up to or close to 24, 25 (minutes). I think we […]    

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