Jaden Lindo, who's made a habit of sneaking up on people, is looking to become a draft steal.
A season-ending injury to his left knee put a dent in the Owen Sound Attack wing's draft stock, as the 6-foot-1, 201-pound Lindo slipped to No. 154 in NHL Central Scouting Service's final North American rankings. However, Lindo, a budding power winger, has long thrived at being an argument for himself on the ice; as a rookie with the Attack, he was the rare OHL second-round pick chosen named to Team Ontario for the world under-17 challenge. He's also confident that he will have a breakout next season, once he's drafted.
"This year it's been tough for me with my injury, but I'm really excited to have a strong bounce-back year," says Lindo, who had nine goals and 18 points over 40 games during his abbreviated sophomore season, where he suited up only eight times after Christmas. "I'm going to have a bigger role, being one of the older guys. I think I'm ready for it.
"I'm ahead of schedule with my progress so far since the surgery and I'm having no negative effects."
The Brampton native takes after two NHLers who graced Grey County as teens, the Philadelphia Flyers' Wayne Simmonds and Washington Capitals' Joel Ward. When Lindo was healthy last season, he thrived at throwing his weight around.
"I think my strength is a strength of mine," Lindo says. "I like to use my body and separate the man from the puck, shield the puck and create space for my teammates. I like to generate most of my opportunities in front of the net, bang in rebounds and whatnot."
The Attack, characteristically, have become a north-south team. That's suited to Lindo's skill set, but he's also confident that he can show more of a creative side as an 18-year-old veteran next season.
"That's our style of play, but you learn to break in your game within the team's game," Lindo says. "You still have to follow the structure and strategy and work within it."
1. When you were younger, who inspired you, who influenced you, to pursue hockey?
"When I was young, it was Jarome Iginla, with the Calgary Flames and that '04 Stanley Cup run that they had. I've admired him since then. Lately I've really liked Joel Ward and Wayne Simmonds. I really love their style of play. I think it's similar to mine. I try to model myself after them."
2. When you look at executing on th?
"I need to work on my explosiveness. The transition from OHL to NHL is a huge transition. Nowadays speed is a huge element. I also need to work on my puckhandling skills. Everyone can handle the puck in the NHL, even the big guys, and they're very agile."
3. Which Attack teammate(s) has/have had the greatest effect on you during the past two seasons?
"I thought [graduated Attack overage] Kurtis Gabriel was a really good influence. I think we have similar styles of play. His story about how he didn't get drafted to the OHL but worked all the way up to where he is now, getting signed by a NHL team [the Minnesota Wild]. He's a great teammate off the ice. He has a bright future."
4. If hockey did not exist, what sport could you imagine yourself playing?
"I haven't really thought of that. I'd say soccer. I started playing soccer before I started playing hockey. I was a goalie in soccer for a while."
5. Favourite movie and/or TV show?
"Movie — Transformers. TV show — Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. You got to love Will Smith."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
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