Top five at 5th - #2 Cayden Lindstrom

There are question marks about Cayden Lindstrom because of his herniated discs, but there is no question about what he brings to the table.
Medicine Hat Tigers v Winnipeg Ice
Medicine Hat Tigers v Winnipeg Ice / Jonathan Kozub/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

Just like the third ranked player on my top five best options at fifth for the Montreal Canadiens, number two is also a centre.

A big centre, Cayden Lindstrom, is a monster of a kid, who loves to use his size both to shield the puck and challenge the opposition with big body checks. Lindstrom missed significant time this season, but when healthy he is a difference-maker, that would make any team better. His package of size, speed, skill and strength is tops in the draft and he would make the Canadiens top six quite the challenge to play against.

Lindstrom is a prototypical power forward, in the mould of Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Barkov and Anze Kopitar. I'm not suggesting that he will ever reach their level, but his frame and the way he controls the puck are similar. I think behind Macklin Celebrini, Lindstrom has the highest potential to become a number one centre.

He can rush the puck to the net and dance around defenders with his puck skills, though he often uses his natural gifts to move around defenders and put them on his back while he moves in to challenge goalies. Lindstrom also has the hockey IQ and patience to look off defenders and burn them with a slick pass or stop and circle back along the boards to create space for his linemates. In the offensive zone, he has the power to beat goalies with one touch shot or he challenges them with an accurate snapshot.

Montreal didn't hesitate to draft Juraj Slafkovsky, a power forward with the first overall selection and that has worked out quite well. I think that drafting Lindstrom a guy who welcomes the physical play and loves to compete against the top players each would be an ideal selection. If he is available when Montreal's pick rolls around, I think Kent Hughes will heavily consider him.

In an article written by The Athletic' Scott Wheeler, one scout compared Lindstrom to Roope Hintz. Another said he is drawing comparisons to prime Chris Kreider. Habs fans are supposed to hate Kreider and understandably so, but the guy is a talent that most teams would love to have. It could be a big mistake to pass on a guy that has the tools and potential to become a very good power number one centre.

manual