Back in late April, winger Oskar Lindblom’s Swedish season came to an end, and it seemed likely that an NHL contract with the Flyers would follow not long after. That time has now come, on this fine Tuesday in late May:
Lindblom was drafted right here in Philadelphia in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. A player who was fairly well-regarded going into the 2013-14 season before a disappointing draft season, Lindblom’s stock has soared all the way back up over the past couple of years with Brynäs in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). He was one of the best forwards in the SHL this past season despite being just 20 years old. He was second in the league with 22 regular-season goals, and was fourth with 47 total points. He was then fourth in the league in points during the playoffs with 14, though he tallied just one goal in seven games in the final series — one that his Brynäs team lost in a 4-3 series to HV71.
Things have definitely trended in the right direction for Lindblom over the past couple of years, as he is now regarded as one of the better forward prospects in hockey (the way many seemed to think he could be back before his draft year). ESPN’s Corey Pronman ranked him the 47th best prospect in all of hockey back in January, and after a couple of years in/around the teens, Lindblom jumped all the way up to No. 6 in our mid-season Flyers Top 25 Under 25 rankings this past February.
So there’s reason to be excited here. Additionally, Lindblom hopefully will mark the beginning of a new era of the Flyers actually getting something — anything — out of the bottom of their drafts. If and when Lindblom makes his NHL debut, he’ll be the first Flyers fifth-round pick to play in a game for the team — any game at all — since Jussi Timonen back in 2006-07. And if he plays in most/all of a full season, he’d be the first Flyers fifth-round pick to do that since Dan Kordic back in 1997-98.
But will Lindblom get his chance to end that streak next year? Where Lindblom will plays in 2017-18, as of now, is anyone’s guess. The Flyers’ forward ranks for next season appeared to fairly crowded even before the team jumped up to No. 2 in the draft lottery, and you figure that stroke of good fortune will only complicate the picture even further. (In a good way, of course.) Lindblom will need a great training camp to separate himself from the pack, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him at least start the season in Lehigh Valley.
But three years in a high-quality professional league have likely prepared him well for this, and he very well could just come in and jump right into a top-9 spot on the Flyers’ roster if things go well. And if his abbreviated 2015-16 performance in Lehigh Valley was any indication — he posted seven points in eight games with the Phantoms — it may be hard for the Flyers to keep him out of Philadelphia for long. For their sake and for his, let’s hope that’s the case, because Lindblom looks like an exciting player — quite possibly the best forward prospect the Flyers have (until June 23, at least).
With which team does Oskar Lindblom play more games next season?
This poll is closed
Lehigh Valley (AHL)