The Carolina Hurricanes apparently have Swedish forward Elias Lindholm on the fast track to the NHL.

Lindholm, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, signed his three-year, entry-level contract with the Canes on Monday. Lindholm, who called the signing a "dream come true" during a press conference at PNC Arena, will receive $832,500 on the NHL level -- or $70,000 at the AHL level -- in each of the three years. He received a signing bonus of $277,500.

General manager Jim Rutherford said Monday he would be "shocked" if Lindholm was not on the Canes' roster next season. He said Lindholm, who played for Brynas of the Swedish Elite League last season, preferred to play center but could be used at any of the three forward positions.

"We all realize that he's an experienced player, because he played in the men's Swedish league last year, and not many players of his age are capable of doing that and certainly not putting up the points he did," Rutherford said.

Lindholm, 18, was the the league's top scorer among junior-aged players last season with 30 (11 goals, 19 assists) in 48 games. He was a finalist for rookie-of-the-year honors.

Asked about his chances of playing at the NHL level next season, Lindholm said, "I think I'm ready."

Lindholm will attend the Canes' prospects camp this week, as will the team's other draft picks this year.