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NHL Draft Prospect Preview - Cayden Lindstrom

by J.T. Toth


Photo courtesy of Canadian Hockey League.


The 2024 NHL Draft will be here before you know it, and Draft 412 will preview some of the prospects who will be probable first round picks. Draft 412 will review the strengths and weaknesses of each prospect, and where they should land in the NHL Draft.

           

Name- Cayden Lindstrom

Pos- Center

Team- Medicine Hat (WHL)

HT/WT- 6’4” 215 lbs.

Born- 2/3/2006

Home – Chetwynd, BC

 

Cayden Lindstrom was the 54th overall selection of the 2021 WHL Draft by the Medicine Hat Tigers. After only playing in 6 games in the 2021-2022 season, Lindstrom became a big part of the Tigers' lineup in the 22-23 campaign. He played in 61 games and totaled 19 goals and 23 assists for Medicine Hat. After the season, teammates, coaches and opponents were raving about the skillset of Lindstrom and many scouting services started moving him up the board for the 2024 NHL Draft.


This season, Lindstrom has taken the momentum from last year and has become the star center for Medicine Hat. In only 29 games, he has already scored 24 goals and added 16 assists. He has almost reached his last season’s production in 32 less games. 


Cayden Lindstrom is an elite skater which is rarely seen by players of his height. At 6’4”, he has the speed and playmaking abilities to be a scary center and hard to defend in a 1-on-1 situation. He uses his frame effectively to protect the puck and excels at driving to the net and stirring things up in front of the goaltender. He’s above average on faceoffs and is used in key situations to win big draws for Medicine Hat. 


While skating, his strides are long and smooth and he can get to breakaway speed in a hurry. Smaller defensemen will struggle to guard him. His stick handling helps him to navigate in tight quarters efficiently and his long reach will help him in puck battles and forechecking. He is cognizant of where he needs to be in his own end and doesn’t mind backchecking and playing responsibly. 


On the downside, many scouts think he lacks the hockey IQ of a top 6 center and may project as a bottom 6 player. He feeds off of playmaking wingers and is not a center who drives the play in the offensive end. He has a quick strong shot but the accuracy at times is not what teams may want to see. He loves going to the net, but has trouble finding the soft spot on the ice to set up for one-timers and wrist shots. 


When watching film on Cayden Lindstrom, his overall play reminded Draft 412 of Brock Nelson of the New York Islanders. The speedy Nelson has scored over 30 goals twice and can separate from defensemen with his long strides. Nelson was a late first round pick in 2010 and has made a nice career in the NHL. Lindstrom has a higher ceiling, though reaching 30 goals a season won’t come easy for him either. 


Final Analysis


Lindstrom is having a huge season in the WHL and has put scouts on notice. His size and speed alone are worth taking a flier on even though his overall offensive ceiling is not on par with the other top forwards entering the 2024 draft.

                 

Draft 412 Draft Prediction - Round 1- Top 20.

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