Senators Prospect Profile: Tobias Lindberg


Tobias Lindberg (LW/RW, 6’3, 1995, 4-102/13)
2012-13 SuperElit Djurgarden 43-9-13-22 -2 30pim (0.51 ppg) 7th pts
2013-14 SuperElit Djurgarden 38-7-15-22 -3 93pin (0.57 ppg) 6th pts
2014-15 OHL Oshawa 56-26-39-65 +27 10pim (1.16 ppg) 3rd pts (11 games remain in the season)

Drafted by the Sens with the pick they got in the Ben Bishop trade, I’ve seen him listed on both wings, but since he’s playing on the left side with Oshawa I expect that’s how he’ll line up as a pro.  Here are his points by month so far this season: Sept-Oct 14-17, Nov 10-12, Dec 9-14, Jan 15-14, Feb 8-8.  When the Sens drafted the Swede Tim Murray called him a hit or miss pick, but the team’s European scouts liked his potential.  Pierre Dorion said he was a big winger who has speed and skill; a good project.  Vaclav Burda added:

He’s a kid who was not selected or ranked very high — he was pretty low — but we feel pretty good about his potential, like Colin Greening in our organization. He’s a big guy who can skate, he drives the net, he’s not high end intelligent with the puck but he drives the net with speed and strength and we see these tools that down the road he could play on the big team. He has already played a few games for the big Djurgarden team which is the second highest Swedish league — the Allsvenskan, but mostly he played in the junior league. Next year he’ll be playing either with the men’s team or a junior team. He’s not (physically) mature, he’s got lots of room to build up and we believe that big body might be hard to play against some day.

I’m sure some fans will wince at the Greening comparison, but I wouldn’t take it to heart as saying one is the clone of the other.  Burda referenced that Lindberg wasn’t ranked very highly and the only scouting organisation that put him in the draft was Central Scouting (listing him as the 99th best European).  Brendan Ross of McKeen’s adds the following (prior to the start of this season):

Skating at 6-foot-2, the Stockholm native is a powerful winger who shows good physicality. He won’t dangle through defenders but his speed and ability to drive wide and to the net are difficult to contain. Lindberg projects as a complementary forward for the Generals and will be looking to impress the Senators to earn an entry-level contract.

It was my impression that the new CBA gave the Sens three years to decide on Swedes, but putting that aside, after a middling season in Sweden the year after he was drafted the Sens were able to help convince Lindberg to come to the OHL, something Swedes have been reluctant to do.  He had the usual things to say about the transition to playing in North America:

Last year, I probably had five hits and here they want me to have five hits a game, so it’s way tougher with the forecheck and stuff like that. It’s fun. It’s physical and there are battles and you get into the game more here. Coaches in Sweden are a bit softer, so a little bit of a difference there. He’s [D. J. Smith] tough on guys, but also fair, so I really enjoy playing for him.

His success in Oshawa meant he was considered for Sweden’s WJC team, but ultimately he did not make the cut (unlike fellow Sens prospect Andreas Englund).  The Swede’s numbers in the OHL are not only a big improvement over his previous production, but also difficult to find a comparable for.  While he doesn’t spend every minute of his ice time with fifth overall pick (2014) Michael Dal Colle or with fellow 2013-draftee Cole Cassels, their presence on the team certainly helps inflate his numbers.  In terms of other 19-year old Swedes who have posted big numbers in the OHL, there are only three since the 04-05 lockout: Andre Burakovsky (57-41-46-87), Gabriel Landeskog (53-36-30-66), and Rickard Rakell (60-28-34-62).  There’s no question that Lindberg is not in the category of the first two players, but maybe, maybe Rakell is someone to look at (all three were first round picks, by the bye).

First, just a reminder about stats from junior: any good prospect needs to put up points, but gaudy totals do not necessarily mean even AHL success (Tyler Donati is one of my favourite examples of this).  Back to Rakell: a late first round draft pick by Anaheim (2011), he spent three seasons with the Plymouth Whalers where he posted roughly a point-per-game numbers each year.  As a higher pick the expectations are bigger, but four years later he’s become a regular for Anaheim posting up decent numbers.  As we know, the Sens see him as a Greening-type player, so imagine him as a top-9 forward who can chip in 20-30 points.  The latter seems more realistic as his talent ceiling.

I can’t imagine that the Sens won’t sign Lindberg after his performance this season, despite the logjam of forwards in the organisation–there are plenty of moveable parts, so the question is who he displaces or does he become part of a trade himself.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)