A week ago 19-year-old defenceman Mats Lindgren was a member of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers and after requesting a trade he was dealt to the Red Deer Rebels in a blockbuster trade.
And he couldn’t be happier about the result.
“I’m very excited. Great organization, great ownership, and good coaches so I was beyond excited when I got the news and just being here now kind of getting the feeling for it,” he said.
Lindgren got his second skate in with the team Friday afternoon and said it will be a process of getting to know everyone but is looking forward to it. To him, it meant a lot to find out the franchise was ecstatic to add him, especially with what they sent the other way. To get Lindgren Red Deer sent 19-year-old defenceman Kyle Masters to the Kamloops Blazers and a conditional first-round 2025 WHL Prospect Draft.
“They obviously put a lot into getting me so I feel like I kind of need to prove it to them now and I know I can. I think I had a good year last year but I think I have a lot more to show so just can’t wait for that first game and get to show the player I am,” he told the Advocate.
In the 2021-22 season, Lindgren had five goals and 39 assists for 44 points and added seven points in 17 playoff games. To be a great offensive player he said it’s important to play the defensive side of the puck.
“My main kind of game is offensive. Creating offence for the team and good passes and just the way I walk the blueline using my skating,” he said.
Lindgren got his passion for hockey being around his father Mat Lindgren Sr. who was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. He went on to play for the Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders, and wrapped up his career with the Vancouver Canucks in a seven-year professional career.
“He’s the one that got me into the sport and I worked with him for endless hours. He taught me all the skating I know and all that kind of stuff. I think it all started when I lived in Sweden I lived there for 11 years,” he said.
He followed in his dad’s footsteps into the NHL in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft when he was picked 106th overall in the fourth round by the Buffalo Sabres.
Even though he was born in Vancouver where his dad played his final years the family moved back to Sweden after his father retired. While living in Sweden he said that’s where he built the foundation of his skating before moving back to Canada years later.
“During COVID they were showing these games from back in the day [on TV] and I was able to watch one of his games. It was a playoff game against Dallas it was pretty great to watch him play because I’ve never really been able to,” he added.
Looking ahead to the season he’s looking forward to getting to know the team and focusing on showing management what kind of player he can be. Lindgren showed up to Red Deer a day early before camp to get settled with his billet family but also to get an early skate in with some other players.
“I think we got a really good team this year and I’m beyond excited for the season.”