Rumor: Lindholm of interest to the Oilers but is he the answer to Draisaitl's needs?

Top centre from Calgary Flames has a history of elevating a top line, which might be what Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers needs right now.
Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames
Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames / Derek Leung/GettyImages
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As of late, both Bob Stauffer and Craig MacTavish have speculated on Oilers NOW about the Edmonton Oilers having possible interest in the Calgary Flames’ Elias Lindholm.

Is this a good idea? And is it the right time to buy? The answer to one of these questions is very clear. For the other, we will make our best analytically-informed decision.

Stats are courtesy of,, and


In the last 24 games, Lindholm has scored just one goal in all situations. He also has 13 assists, good for a points pace of 44 points per 82 games played, which is not half bad for a rock-bottom scoring slump.

Will this scoring rate last? History tells us no, he will certainly improve his goal scoring.

In that 24 game span, Lindholm’s 0 SH% on 38 shots is almost certain to regress back up to near his six-season average of around 10% shooting.  His 41.2 GF% this year is down from a three-season average of 60.76%. His 0.988 PDO is a career low, down from an average 1.022. These are being dragged down by an 89.5 on-ice SV% on a poorly performing Flames team.

By expected stats, Lindholm’s 42.0 xGF% is also excessively below his six-season average of 54.0 xGF%, and should regress as well. He has scored 6.2 goals less than expected, which won’t sustain forever.

Lastly, Lindholm’s 2023-24 shooting percentage of 4.94 SH% is stunningly lower than his impressive six-year average of 12.13%.

All of these markers point directly to Lindholm playing, and scoring, unsustainably below his standard. He will regress upwards in the future, likely on whatever team he lands with prior to this year’s trade deadline.

Lindholm is a good buy-low (read: buy very low) candidate.

Other intriguing trends from him: his shooting talent above average steadily increased year-over-year for the last five seasons straight, and in the last 1.5 seasons he has scored a cumulative 14.3 goals below expected by his shooting talent, after scoring a cumulative 42.5 goals above expected the previous four seasons. This drop coincides with the departures of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, the primary playmakers for Lindholm. He seems to have more to give.

But how well does he normally play and produce, and is he a good fit for the Oilers’ second line?