Swedish winger Oskar Lindblom was all but a lock to go within the first two rounds of the NHL draft prior to his draft-eligible season as an early bloomer. But a down year dropped Lindblom all the way into the Flyers' lap in the fifth round, the 138th selection in the 2014 NHL Draft. In the 2013-14 season Lindblom scored 13 goals and added 20 assists for 33 points in 43 games in Sweden's J20 league for Brynas IF, with zero points in four SHL games. He was able to perform well in the under-18 World Junior Championships, scoring three goals and three assists for a combined six points in seven tournament games.
Lindblom took that international experience and doubled down on it this past year, blooming into a better prospect after the under-20 World Junior Championships. Oskar scored four goals and added five assists for nine points in seven games. He showed off his shot, knack for the net and his two-way ability against players that were mostly two years his senior, playing for the under-20 team at just 18 years old. You could say that he had a pretty sweet tournament. However, his scoring touch wasn't shown as much during his time with Brynas IF in the SHL this season.
Lindblom's three goals were all scored in different fashions, showing off his shot from the slot, his knack for the net on the rebound goal and his hand-eye coordination for the deflection to complete the hat trick. Here is video of Lindblom's hat trick in January's World Junior Championships:
For Brynas IF this past season Lindblom was a bit of a disappointment. He only tallied 15 points (eight goals and seven assists) in 37 games. He added just two points in seven playoff games. Perhaps a case of Stockholm syndrome to make him feel more at home with his professional club will help him out going forward. To play devil's advocate, he was given limited ice time, averaging just over 12 minutes per game. He is also very young to be playing in Sweden's professional league, and showing that he can stick around and perform will do wonders for the young Swede going forward.
Earlier this season Lindblom was recognized as one of the biggest risers from the 2014 draft. Here is what ESPN.com's Corey Pronman had to say back in late February:
Lindblom was introduced to many at the WJC, as he was one of the tournament's top scorers, but he's also had a solid season in Sweden's top league, at times working his way into middle-six minutes for Brynas. Head Philly scout Chris Pryor points to Lindblom's size, skill and feel for the game as his positive traits. Lindblom's skating has also shown notable improvement, based on discussions with Swedish scouts and from games of his I've seen.
Lindblom continued to impress Pronman, as he ranked the Flyers' winger as the 46th best prospect in all of hockey. Here is what he had to say about Lindblom yesterday in his top 100 prospects article:
There are a lot of good things you can say about Lindblom's game: (1) He's a good physical player who gets to the net and wins battles; (2) he has good vision as a playmaker and has a pretty good shot as a finisher; and (3) he defends well and has produced at high levels internationally and versus men. The only real flaw in Lindblom's game is that his speed isn't great. Lindblom was a mid-round pick last year, but after a strong 2014-15, has certainly opened some eyes.
Lindblom has caught the eyes of not only Pronman but other fans and scouts alike. He is still plenty young, turning 19 tomorrow, and won't see time with the Flyers for a few years. If Oskar can continue to Lindbloom and turn into a regular NHLer, he'll be a Swede late-round steal for the Flyers.
How we voted for Oskar Lindblom:
Who we voted for at No. 17:
|Taylor Leier||Mark Friedman||David Kase||Danick Martel||Felix Sandstrom||Mark Friedman||Anthony Stolarz||Danick Martel||Radel Fazleev||Taylor Leier||Mark Friedman||Mark Alt|