The Colorado Avalanche have started their offseason early this year, signing top European free agent Joakim Lindstrom to a contract according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post. Dater reports the contract is a one-way deal for $600,000 guaranteeing Lindstrom a roster spot on the 2011-2012 Avalanche team.
Lindstrom, a second round selection in the 2002 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets, last played in the NHL in 2008-2009 for the Phoenix Coyotes. He scored 20 points in 44 games with the Coyotes. The 27-year-old left winger has decided to return to the NHL this season after playing two years in the Swedish Elite League, where he was the leading scorer for his Skelleftea team. Lindstrom scored 11 points in 18 playoff games for Skelleftea last season.
Lindström has great offensive skills. He doesn’t mind playing physical, he has a nose of the net and can deliver fine passes as well. Lindström has also good on-ice vision and hockey sense.
Widely considered the top free agent available out of Europe this offseason, this is a major signing for an Avalanche team that had its forward depth tested due to injury last season. Colorado has found great success in second chance projects such as Peter Mueller and Daniel Winnik in recent years, and Lindstrom profiles as a similar upside talent.