Lindblad ready to answer if NHL debut knocks

Lindblad ready to answer if NHL debut knocks
March 15, 2014, 12:45 am
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WILMINGTON – It’s pretty clear with 16 games remaining in the season that the Bruins are in evaluation mode for a playoff run that’s only about a month away from becoming a reality.

That may be part of the thinking behind rookie forward Matthew Lindblad getting called up to the Bruins on Friday morning, and potentially hopping into the lineup for the Black and Gold against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon. The 23-year-old former Dartmouth standout skated in Boston’s optional skate at Ristuccia Area on Friday, and is certainly ready if his number gets called for the first time in his NHL career this weekend.

“I’m very fortunate to be in the position that I’m in, and I’ll be ready if I get the opportunity,” said Lindblad. “It’s been a good year so far. Anytime you come from college it takes a while to get used to the style, the speed and the structure, but over the course of the year I’ve rounded out my game pretty well.

“Staying at the NHL camp a little longer certainly helped, and getting up for a couple of practices with the guys. It’s also allowed me to be around the coaches a little more. So from a comfort standpoint in the locker room, I am very content with everything. Guys give you a smile and a handshake when you walk in the room, and it’s a very welcoming atmosphere.”

The former Dartmouth standout has skated in 43 games this season for the Providence Bruins with seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points, and is looked at by many in the Bruins organization as a future Chris Kelly in the making. Lindblad isn’t a big offensive numbers kind of player, but is a cerebral, responsible player adept at playing all zones, winning face-offs and is a young leader in the making in the dressing room.

Clearly getting him into the lineup gives Boston the added benefit of getting Lindblad into an NHL regular season game in the final month just in case he’s one of the Black Aces needed to fill in should injuries challenge during the Stanley Cup playoff run. Lindblad had an extended look during NHL training camp back in September/October, and practiced with the big club during the Olympic break.