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Philadelphia Flyers 25 Under 25: Oskar Lindblom could be set for a breakout season

The young Swede had a strong first full season, now with possibly a bigger role, could make some noise.

Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

After being “Hak’d” for most of the first half of the 2018-19 NHL season, the second half is where Oskar Lindblom shined. The 2014 fifth round draft pick has turned himself into one of the better draft finds this team has had in recent memory, and could very well be due for a breakout season in 2019-20.

Lindblom made his NHL debut in the 2017-18 season and despite posting mediocre scoring numbers, his possession/play-driving metrics were what made him stand out. Although those metrics weren’t as impressive with a full season’s worth of games, Lindblom was still above the break even mark and was a key contributor down the stretch.

This was in many ways a tale of two seasons for Lindblom, but the second half is what has fans excited for what the 23 year old winger can bring to the squad this season.

No. 8: Oskar Lindblom

Position: F
Age: 23 (8/15/1996)
Size: 6’1”, 191
Acquired Via: 2014 NHL Draft — Round 5, Pick 138
2018-19 League/Team/Statistics: Philadelphia (NHL) - 17 G, 16 A in 81 GP
Nationality: Swedish
Ranking in BSH Winter 2019 25 Under 25: 8

Before we even dive into the greater details of Oskar Lindblom’s 2018-19 campaign, we have to go back to one date in particular. It was a late night in Vancouver, talks of Dave Hakstol getting the boot were in full swing, and in his final game as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, he pulled one of the silliest shenanigans of the season.

He started Anthony Stolarz for the ninth consecutive game, and Stolarz had to exit after allowing two goals on four shots due to injury.

What, you were expecting something different? Nothing else happened that game I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Anyway, Oskar Lindblom started the season scoring a goal in the season opener in Las Vegas, and actually putting together a solid first two months of the season. The problems for his season unfortunately came in the next 21 games. He would score just one point in this span and average just over 10 minutes of ice time.

In those first 24 games, Lindblom had averaged over 12:30 of ice time, seems like more than a coincidence that when he sees his ice time go down, his performance faltered. It even got so bad that ... oh wait, now I remember, something else did happen that dreadful night in Vancouver.

Oskar Lindblom played in 81 games this season, and would have played in 82 had Dave Hakstol not benched Lindblom that game vs. Vancouver for one Jori Lehtera. Look, I know this whole thing happened all the way back in December, and it doesn’t really matter since Hak is gone now, but good lord how stupid was that? I don’t think that’s a decision I will ever forget because it was just the most Hakstol way to bow out.

In a piece done last month, I went over the absolute tear that Lindblom was on in the second half. The winger scored 21 points in 39 games and netted 13 of his overall 17 goals on the season. This included a four goals in the final five games of the regular season stretch, that really punctuated a strong second half for Lindblom.

This season will be huge for the 23 year old as he projects to average the most ice time of his career, especially if he does end up taking the second line left wing spot over a guy like James van Riemsdyk. We’ve all seen now what he can do if given a greater opportunity, so it just might be in new head coach Alain Vigneault’s best interest to continue that.

Data courtesy of hockey-reference

Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2019 Top 25 Under 25: