Former Crunch Lindstrom inks one-year deal with Blues

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

After a two-year absence, Joakim Lindstrom is heading back to North America.

The St. Louis Blues announced earlier today that the now-30-year-old Lindstrom, a second round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002, has signed a one-year deal with the team.

Lindstrom made his American Hockey League debut in 2004-05, the NHL’s lost season. The shifty winger potted four goals to go along with four assists in his 13 games with the Crunch in ’04-’05, and would stay with the Blue Jackets organization for three seasons before signing a deal with the Phoenix Coyotes.

An impact player at the AHL level — nearly a point per game with 73 goals and 109 assists in 200 AHL games — Lindstrom was an AHL All-Star in 2007-08, the year before he signed his deal with the Coyotes. Following a difficult season in which he bounced between the NHL and AHL, Lindstrom left North America, signing a one-year deal with the KHL’s Nizhny Novgorod.

Lindstrom returned to the NHL for 16 games in 2011-12, appearing in 16 games for the Colorado Avalanche. However, a clause in Lindstrom’s contract allowed for the forward to be released and return to Sweden.

In his last AHL stint, Lindstrom tallied 23 points (8-15) in 24 games.

Alm on board with Preds, could suit up in Milwaukee

By Jared Clinton (@JPDClinton)

After back-to-back championship seasons with Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League, free-agent defenseman Johan Alm has signed a two-year deal with the Nashville Predators.

Alm, 22, had “bids from a dozen clubs” according to a report from Norran.se, but chose to sign the rookie contract with the Predators, accomplishing what he calls his, “boyhood dream.” Over the last two seasons, the defensive-minded defenseman has suited up in 85 regular season contests for AIK, and put up four goals and 11 assists.

Coming to North America for the first time in his career, Alm told Norran.se that he felt Nashville was the right fit for him, but understands the possibility that he’ll be playing in Milwaukee on opening night next season.

While Alm could certainly come over and help the Predators D corps right away — if not as an every-night player, than as an injury replacement — it’s safe to say that the organization will give him a chance to adjust to the smaller surface and hone his game in the American Hockey League.

Alm said leaving AIK is sad, but that he feels ready to make the jump to the National Hockey League.

Hurricanes, Kings announce entry-level signings

The Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings each announced today they’ve signed draft picks to entry level deals.

The Hurricanes announced that Erik Karlsson — not to be confused with the Senators’ defenseman of the same name — has inked a three-year deal with the team. Ron Francis, in a Hurricanes release, said Karlsson adds to the team’s depth at forward, citing the winger’s speed as his best attribute.

Karlsson, a 19-year-old who has spent his entire junior and professional career with Frolunda, suited up for 51 games with Frolunda in 2013-14, tallying five goals and an assist. He also helped Sweden to a silver medal at the 2014 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Los Angeles, at work stocking the cupboards even during the Western Conference Final, signed Valentin Zykov to a three-year entry-level deal.

A second round pick in 2013, Zykov’s two-way deal will kick in next season, and will likely see him in Manchester as early as October.

In 53 games last season with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL, the 6’0″, 200 lb. winger registered 23 goals and 40 assists, and another 7 goals and 22 points in 22 playoff games.