Dallas Stars credit pack That Lindell, 26, took a decisive leap in his career in Pori Äss in the 2014–15 season.
It was a real cannon season for 20-year-old Lindell at the time, and at the end of it he was awarded the Pekka Rautakallio award for the best defender of the Finnish Championship.
Coincidentally, just Pekka Rautakallio served as the head coach of the Aces at the time. He remembers Lindell played the previous season in the SM League as the Joker’s seven-pack.
– A tall guy and clearly knows how to play, Rautakallio describes the impression he has received.
Ace’s second coach at the time Pasi Kaukoranta remembers vividly when a promise from Vantaa arrived in Pori in the spring of 2014.
– He was not physically close to the NHL level, but he was able to pull us through a very good summer and train with quality throughout the year, Kaukoranta says and thanks the physics coach Seppo Vihelän competence.
According to Kaukoranta, Pekka Rautakallio played the biggest role in Lindell’s development during that period.
Rautakallio, who was the first Finn to play in the NHL All-Star Game in 1982, was also a defender, and he knew how to steer Lindell’s game in the right direction.
– Rautakallio saw Esa’s talent and knew exactly where to take her. Pekka took him in the “armpit”, Kaukoranta describes the paternal grip of the head coach.
Lindell received valuable advice from the puck legend.
– Rautakallio told all sorts of little things about opening games and how to act when you go under pressure to get a puck from the end. It always requires you to know in advance at least two options for where to play that puck. That’s when you can react quickly, and in the NHL, that repeats itself when the game is so fast.
The long shore played defenders that season.
– I saw up close when “Rocky” came many times during the game to give Lindell personal instructions.
Rautakallio says Lindell has found his own way to play.
– He believed in it and found self-confidence. It was the biggest thing that happened during the period in his case, and for that I am really pleased.
According to Kaukoranta, the Aces coaching team agreed with Lindell that he could play as much as he wanted.
– Of course I gave him the maximum amount of playing time. Then we noticed that the load was starting to grow, and during the international break of the Swedish EHT tournament, Esa was just a receipt. However, we read the situation correctly and forbade him to come to the week for our exercises. We passed him to Vantaa to rest.
– It was a good solution, and for the rest of the season he was able to pull again at the same level. Esahan made a shocking number of power surfaces during that season.
Lindell won both the defenders’ points exchange and the goal kingdom with a balance of 14 + 21 = 35.
– When he got the blue puck, he didn’t stumble but made a small evasive move and fired such a 20-cent bet on his wrist. Pekka guided him by superiority to these things.
The role changed
When the Ace season ended in the spring of 2015 with the first round of playoffs, Dallas Stars invited Lindell, who had booked three years earlier, to North America.
He managed to play five AHL matches in the ranks of Texas Stars until the super season continued at the World Cup. Lindell, who scored 1 + 6, was the Lions’ most powerful kit.
In the NHL, however, his role has become more defensive.
– It’s because he knows how to play, Rautakallio says.
– He doesn’t terribly waste energy on him crumbling in corners or twisting huge in front of the goal but he reads the game correctly and ranks smart. Can make the right decisions in the right places.
Expert in underpower
Head coach Rick Bowness plays Lindell a lot – and often against the opponent’s best players.
In the playoffs, the average Ice Age in Vantaa has been 24.23. In the whole team, only one other Finnish defender, playing phantom-class players Miro Heiskanen has scored more playing time (25.43).
Lindell’s value to the team is evident above all in the defensive area, where he raves in the underpower and blocks shots with a high pain threshold.
Rautakallio and Kaukoranta see that he would also have the capacity to play a more offensive role.
– Absolutely, Rautakallio emphasizes.
– Not everyone can be a miroheiskaska immediately that there is such a huge talent, Kaukoranta compares.
– But I still see that he has a repertoire to take one step up in the offensive game.
In support of his words, Kaukoranta is reminiscent of the Spring 2015 World Cup: when Lindell was given the lead, power was born.
Rautakallio understands Lindell’s role as what coaching asks him to do.
– It is a role played with a coach or organization. He handles it in an exemplary manner, but he also has all the skill for a more offensive role.
– Dallas has not yet seen how good he would be in making the game as a puck pack. Esalla has the potential to be more efficient in light of the points, Rautakallio assures.
In these playoffs, Lindell has scored 1 + 5 = 6 in 21 matches.
Stars understand the value of their player. Lindell will earn $ 5.8 million from the period until 2025. Vantaa is the highest paid defender in Dallas.
When Lindell’s former coaches are asked to characterize him as a human being, the humble character of the man in the right way rises to the top.
– Very easy to train, Kaukoranta underlines.
– And a very well-liked team player. Didn’t make any numbers out of himself. It’s not always that easy to get into an ace. It will take a while for the people of Pori to take you in, but Lindell did his job selflessly and had no difficulty.
Rautakallio describes Lindell as a calm person.
– A smart guy in every way and fully understands what it is all about when things are discussed.
Lindell also knew how to approach personal guidance in the right way.
– Too much still should not be stuffed, or the guy will lose his own gaming identity. One only needs to find the main things where the player is unaware of how it should be done.
A top professional works to further develop. Lindell trains during the summer Raimo Summasen and Janne Hänninen skating school.
– They have done a very good job, and Esa’s skating style has improved, Rautakallio praises.
– Esa is still a young player, and the development curve points upwards, he reminds and rejoices that his former protector will enter the Stanley Cup finals.
– It is an excellent achievement.
What is certain, however, is that Lindell and the rest of the Stars crew are not content with this yet.