Blackhawks Taking A Chance On Lundberg
The Chicago Blackhawks have had one interesting off-season with some of the personnel moves that they have made. Trading Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen, and Bryan Bickell as well as signing three European players to one-year deals with Michal Kempny, Lars Johansson, and Martin Lundberg coming overseas. You can read more about Kempny and Johansson here and here.
For Lundberg, an impressive training camp will be the difference between starting the year in Chicago or starting with the Rockford IceHogs. That’s largely due to the fact that Lundberg doesn’t jump off the page in the stat-sheet and his game isn’t easily measured by numbers alone. In fact, prior to the 2015-16 season, Lundberg hadn’t scored 20+ points in a season in his career, so the offensive impact for him may be minimal and the need to make a difference elsewhere on the ice will be a priority.
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Lundberg plays a largely physical game and likes to hit. At six-foot, 205 pounds, Lundberg has the size to keep up in the North American game and skates well for his style, which has been called aggressive and gritty. Look for him to play similar to Andrew Shaw, but more than likely with less offensive potential.
Lundberg made his professional debut at the age of 18 with Skellefteå AIK in the SHL in Sweden. From 2008-2016, Lundberg skated in 402 games for Skellefteå AIK, scoring 72 points (35 Goals, 37 Assists) and kept his nose relatively clean with 295 penalty minutes over those 402 games.
Lundberg is a two-time SHL champion, and four-time SHL SM-Silver Medal winner with Skellefteå AIK. Last season, Lundberg broke the 20-point barrier for the first time in his career with 21 points (13 Goals, 8 Assists) in 44 games.
On top of his success with Skellefteå AIK, Lundberg has also played extensive time for Team Sweden at the World Juniors and World Championships. In 2010, Lundberg took home a bronze medal with Sweden at the 2010 World Junior Championships alongside fellow Blackhawks Marcus Kruger and Dennis Rasmussen. Last year at the World Championships, Lundberg played in eight games with Sweden, scoring two goals (both short-handed) and played with another future Blackhawks teammate, Erik Gustafsson.
Lundberg can play at all three forward positions, which makes him all the more valuable without the offensive production. If he is to be successful with the Blackhawks, he will need to show a lot of hard-work and physical skill at training camp and with the IceHogs as he is more than likely going to start his North American career at the AHL level.
At 26-years old, Lundberg isn’t quite in the ‘young talent that the Blackhawks are trying to mold and prepare for long-term stays in Chicago’ category, but he has a lot to bring to the organization and could potentially play his way into another contract with the Blackhawks or another NHL team. Just like Lars Johansson, Lundberg is basically on a North American try-out with Chicago where no one loses on the deal.
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