It sounds like there were myriad factors that went into the decision for Par Lindholm to leave the Boston Bruins.
Chief among them: fatherhood.
The veteran center, in his second year with the Bruins, was waived Sunday with the intent of being released. Lindholm’s request was granted and he now is headed back to play in his native Sweden.
Lindholm was a nice depth piece for the Bruins, but never could carve out a role as an everyday player. Bruce Cassidy preferred not to use him on the wing, so he typically would only see game action when there was an injury to Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Charlie Coyle or Sean Kuraly.
With the emergences of Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic, both natural pivots, while Greg McKegg also sits on the taxi squad, Lindholm’s opportunities were incredibly limited.
Lindholm played in one game this season, and with a young baby back home, he decided it was best for him to leave the NHL.
“He had a baby (in April),” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy explained Tuesday over Zoom. “I think being away from his family was tough on him, to get motivated to practice every day knowing that he was an extra guy who may or may not get in. I talked to him on Sunday about it, how he was feeling and I told him, ‘Listen, Par’ — And we were honest with him from Day 1 when he came here. We’re going to look at some younger guys, we’re trying to get a little bit of a different mix. And I said Freddy’s a young guy that has put in his time in Providence, and he’s is a bigger body, a different style than you and we’re going to give him a chance, so it’s going to come at the expense of you — especially if we don’t get the opportunity to go through exhibition games to see if a player has progressed or whatnot. And he knew that up front.
“He was not disappointed in us in any way. He just felt that to get motivated every day to practice was hard for him when he missed his family back home. So that was his decision and we respected it. We lose some depth and a good guy. He’s low-maintenance, he came to work hard. But we have McKegg and maybe there’s an opportunity for another guy in Providence down the road to step into that role if need be.”
This only was Lindholm’s third season in the NHL after beginning his career in Sweden. He signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the 2018-19 campaign and was sent to the Winnipeg Jets at the trade deadline that season.
A solid penalty killer who is decent a driving a line even if his scoring touch didn’t translate to the NHL, Lindholm is an NHL-caliber player. The problem for him was he ended up on a team in Boston with a ton of depth up the middle.
The 29-year-old appeared in 41 games for the Bruins across the two season, recording three goals and as many assists. He posted one goal and 12 assists across 65 games between the Maple Leafs and the Jets in 2018-19.
But given Lindholm’s starting a family and there was no path to playing time with Boston in sight, it’s understandable why he found it best to return home.