It’s happening, folks! We’re right in the thick of it! Closing in on the top five! Wow! But before we hit the top five, we’re going to talk about a player who just missed that cut—one Oskar Lindblom.
No. 8: Oskar Lindblom
Age: 22 (8/15/1996)
Size: 6’1”, 191 (via)
Acquired Via: 2014 NHL Draft — Round 5, Pick 138
2017-18 League/Team/Statistics: Philadelphia (NHL) - 2 G, 4 A in 23 GP
Ranking in BSH Winter 2018 25 Under 25: 7
So it’s been an up and down season for Lindblom! You know, with him starting training camp, then going down to the Phantoms, then being called up, and then going back down…
*pause for laughter*
*no laughter comes*
Jeez, okay, tough crowd. Let’s try this again.
Lindblom’s season has been an interesting one, to say the least. After looking like he was starting to pick up steam in the preseason, he was just as quickly benched, and ultimately sent down to start the season with the Phantoms.
But not to worry, we thought, we’ll see him sooner or later. But then a slow start had us worrying that it might actually be later rather than sooner. Lindblom would promptly quiet our worries, as he got settled and turned that slow start into a very solid run with the Phantoms—to the tune of 16 goals and 34 points in 54 games.
But that’s not all. Per Brad’s tracked data, Lindblom posted an on-ice CF% of 51.25 percent at 5-on-5, ranking him sixth among his teammates in this metric, and pointing to a pretty nice two-way game to go along with the scoring uptick.
And we weren’t the only ones impressed. After an invitation to the AHL All Star game, Lindblom finally received the call up to the Flyers in February, and the rest, given what we’d seen so far, followed something of an expected trajectory. He kicked things off by pretty much immediately posting respectable CF% figures, but couldn’t seem to buy a goal, or so much as a point, even if his life depended on it. But the points did come, and they totaled out to two goals and three assists, and he ended the regular season with an average 53.64 CF% at 5-on-5.
His first playoffs didn’t go particularly well—he was held pointless in four games before being benched for Games Five and Six against Pittsburgh, and after which the Flyers were eliminated. But Lindblom would have a chance a playoff redemption! He was sent back down to help the Phantoms in their Calder Cup playoff run, where he looked dominant through the first two rounds—posting seven points before fizzling out in their Eastern Conference Finals sweep by the Marlies.
But, despite some of the fizzle out in the post-season, the strength flexed at the end of the regular season gives us a lot to be excited about. In not too much time at all, he figured out how to drive play at the NHL level, and by the end the dam was starting to break and the scoring results were picking up following the amount of work he had been putting in. So, for next season, we can expect to see him building on this. As it stands, we can reasonably slot Lindblom in as the third line left winger (with the addition of James van Riemsdyk bumping him down off Nolan Patrick’s line), and this, all in all, may not be the worst thing. The pieces were already coming together, and while this means he will likely be seeing fewer minutes, he’ll be facing less difficult assignments, and, ideally, given more space to work.
Another area we might see some room for added contribution would be on special teams. Now, we’ll admit, this may be a long shot, given the fact that he’ll still technically be a rookie next season, and given how the Flyers seem to trust (or not trust) their rookies, but hear us out. One piece that Hextall mentioned going into the offseason as one they wanted to add was someone to help the penalty kill. And JVR, while an objectively great addition, doesn’t do this. But do you know who was very good on the penalty kill at the AHL level? That’s right, our pal Oskar. He’s mobile enough to break out of the zone if given enough space and control to do so, but his particular strength comes along the boards. If he can take the puck into the corner, it’s not going to be easy to get out. Indeed, an image comes to mind from one of the Phantoms’ playoff games against Charlotte in which Lindblom on the PK got the puck into the corner and tied it up along the boards, and it took three Checkers to push him off it. And, well, I’m going to let you sit with that one for a moment. The Flyer’s PK is bad, pals, and play like that certainly couldn’t hurt it.
So, to try to wrap this up nicely with a bow, what are we expecting from Lindblom next season? More. What we learned is that he still needs to work on his skating to keep up with the faster paced playing teams, and the good news is, that’s exactly what he’s been working on this summer, right here at the Flyers’ practice facility. And, combining that bit of progress with the lessons learned in his first stretch of games in the NHL, and we’re looking at a pretty solid foundation for growth in what we hope will be his first full season in the NHL. We’ve seen the skill, we’ve seen the potential, and we’re pretty sure that he can produce consistently at the NHL level. We just need to see him do it.
How We Voted For Oskar Lindblom
How We Voted At No. 8
|Philippe Myers||Joel Farabee||Philippe Myers||Joel Farabee||Oskar Lindblom||Oskar Lindblom||Joel Farabee||Scott Laughton||Morgan Frost||Morgan Frost||Philippe Myers||Oskar Lindblom||Oskar Lindblom||Oskar Lindblom||Oskar Lindblom|
How The Community Voted For Oskar Lindblom
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Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2018 Top 25 Under 25:
- Intro & Honorable Mentions
- No. 25: Noah Cates
- No. 24: Mark Friedman
- No. 23: Danick Martel
- No. 22: Matthew Strome
- No. 21: Taylor Leier
- No. 20: Nicolas Aube-Kubel
- No. 19: Felix Sandstrom
- No. 18: Tanner Laczynski
- No. 17: Jay O’Brien
- No. 16: Samuel Morin
- No. 15: Isaac Ratcliffe
- No. 14: German Rubtsov
- No. 13: Mikhail Vorobyev
- No. 12: Wade Allison
- No. 11: Robert Hagg
- No. 10: Joel Farabee
- No. 9: Scott Laughton