Canucks and Lindholm could be disagreeing on more than money

Money may not be the only obstacle in contract negotiations between the Vancouver Canucks and Elias Lindholm.

Recent reports suggest that the Canucks are willing to offer a nearly $50 million contract, and while that still won’t be enough, there is speculation that it isn’t just about the money for the Swedish centre.

“There’s a couple of things at play to recognize,” started Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman today on 32 Thoughts. “Someone made a very good point to me and they said that Lindholm may not be a person who likes the idea of being a third-line centre or a guy who gets moved around to wing a lot.”

“Even though he wouldn’t necessarily always be the third-line centre, you’re kind of the third man on the totem pole behind [J.T.] Miller and [Elias] Pettersson there.”

It’s true that the Canucks already have two true centres —  Miller and Pettersson — locked up on large long-term contracts. As a result, Lindholm either centred the team’s third-line or bounced around positions while with the Canucks.

While it was a luxury for the team to have such flexibility, it can be understood why it may not be as favourable for the player to constantly be shifted around.

Lindholm moved up and down the lineup in the playoffs, at times centring a line with Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland, and at other times playing alongside another natural centre in Pettersson.

The Canucks still managed to get Lindholm plenty of minutes; he finished third among team forwards in average ice time per game in the playoffs, but it was hard to find a natural fit. Despite that, the 29-year-old still had a huge impact in the postseason and was one of the team’s better players.

“They also said maybe there’s just another place he prefers to play or maybe there’s just another team that is offering him more money,” continued Friedman. “But a couple guys said to me and one of them was a player, they wondered if, in Lindholm’s specific case, the issue might be that if he’s playing centre there, he’s probably the number three centre on the roster and they weren’t convinced that would appeal to him.”

Lindholm has been connected to the Boston Bruins many times over the past 12 months. A team like that could offer the forward the chance to play on the top line and be a premier franchise player, a role the Canucks have already filled.

As the July 1 date gets closer and closer, the Canucks may not be able to just increase their offer in their pursuit of Lindholm. If he’s looking for a clear-cut chance to play in the top six as a centre, he’ll need to look elsewhere.