Petteri Lindbohm getting settled with Wolves

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The first couple months of Petteri Lindbohm’s North American career have been hectic. But they haven’t been too crazy for Lindbohm to develop.

The 21-year-old has gone from an unheralded unknown in the Blues’ system to their top defensive prospect. Instead of taking the option of returning to Europe this season and staying Blues property following his late cut in training camp, he chose to stay in North America and play with the Wolves after hearing how close he is to being NHL ready. Then three games into his time with the Wolves he was recalled by the Blues, playing once before quickly getting sent back to Chicago.

Now back in the AHL, Lindbohm’s been good but uneven. Wolves coach John Anderson said Thursday that Lindbohm started well but “had a couple steps back slightly.” All the positive attributes – strength, grit, speed, big shot – are still there but need to augmented by better understanding of systems and improved vision.

Anderson’s confident all of that will come and make Lindbohm an NHL regular. Perhaps it would come quicker if Lindbohm gets time to stay in one place, though Anderson thinks his whirlwind start could benefit him in the long run.

“I can’t imagine being a young guy like that, having all this on top of me. Probably weighs on him a little bit,” Anderson said. “But he’s a pretty tough kid. He’ll get through it, survive it and this will probably make him stronger in the end.”

The fact that a 21-year-old defenseman has been uneven isn’t surprising. Still, Lindbohm has managed to deal with the eventful start of the season and produce.

In nine games for the Wolves, who continue their nine-game road trip tonight in Iowa, Lindbohm has two goals and an assist with a plus-4 rating. More importantly, he’s done nothing to hurt his stock despite not yet getting a chance to settle anywhere.

“It hasn’t been too bad. Back at home I had pretty much the same situation,” said Lindbohm, who split last season between Finland’s Jokerit Helsinki and Assat Pori. “You just try to do your best every day wherever you are. In the end you do this for yourself. You want to get better every day.”

Lindbohm is giving himself a chance to do that despite his travels around the Blues system. He could have spared himself some of that if he had gone back to Europe for another season, but it seems like he’s not regretting his decision to stay here.

“I am always thinking that I am more a North American player than a player in Europe,” Lindbohm said. “I love to play simple hockey and I love to play hard.”

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