Kevin Shattenkirk praised Hampus Lindholm, his new defense partner with the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, comparing him to Victor Hedman, his partner with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.
Shattenkirk, an unrestricted free agent who signed a three-year contract with the Ducks on Oct. 9, was paired with Lindholm on the first day of Anaheim’s training camp. The 31-year-old defenseman won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning last season and played much of it as Hedman’s partner.
“Hampus and Victor are similar in certain ways,” Shattenkirk said. “Hampus covers a lot of ground on the ice. He’s a phenomenal skater and has the ability to break pucks out on his own.”
Hedman, a four-time finalist for the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman and winner of the award in 2018, was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner last season as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Shattenkirk’s new beginning in Anaheim will involve adapting to new surroundings and more specifically, Lindholm’s game.
“It’s a matter of getting that read and knowing when I need to support him, knowing when I can allow him to do his thing,” Shattenkirk said. “But for the most part, it’s just the communication side of things. I think he’s someone who skates well. He’s got a lot of great facets in his game. Certainly he’s someone who’s been in the League for a pretty long time, so we’re just talking through every play in practice and the more communication the better. We’re certainly open to feeding off each other and learning how we both play the game as quickly as we can.”
Lindholm is entering his eighth NHL season, all with the Ducks, after being the No. 6 pick of the 2012 NHL Draft. The 26-year-old has scored 194 points (50 goals, 144 assists) in 502 NHL games and 21 points (four goals, 17 assists) in 55 playoff games. He led Anaheim skaters in average ice time per game (23:04) last season.
Support of that quality will go a long way toward helping him continue rebuilding his confidence, Shattenkirk said. Apart from winning the Cup, progress in that area was one of his biggest personal accomplishments with the Lightning last season after being bought out of the final two years of his contract by the New York Rangers on Aug. 1, 2019.
“Last year was very big for me,” Shattenkirk said. “Confidence is a huge thing in this game and in this league. It can come and go pretty fast and it can be taken, and you have to remind yourself, and that’s the most important thing, to believe in yourself first.”
Shattenkirk scored 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists) in 70 regular-season games and 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 25 playoff games for the Lightning last season.
“I think when I got to Tampa last year, the best thing for me there was there was a very big internal competition to stay in the lineup,” Shattenkirk said. “It’s healthy for an individual like me who’s trying to get back to that style of winning hockey and the style of hockey that I play best. You put a lot of pressure on yourself sometimes. I think I did that a little bit too much in New York. But I know my capabilities a little bit better now and understand the type of player I am, and I’ve accepted that.”