When Oskar Lindblom signed his entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, fans rejoiced. Another highly-touted prospect would be making his way to the NHL. And there’s plenty of reason to be excited. Things have gone well for the 20-year-old forward in the Swedish Hockey League. And they are only expected to get better.
I'm very proud and honored to have sign my first NHL contract with the @NHLFlyers
Oskar Lindblom Brings Excitement To Flyers
When Lindblom was drafted in 2014, he was coming off a disappointing draft season. He was known as a player that was smooth on his skates, but lacked the speed of a forward of his size. There were concerns about his development at the time. Fast forward to now and Lindblom has erased all of those concerns.
Things have only trended upward for Oskar Lindblom. He was voted the top forward in the SHL. At just 20 years of age, he finished second in the league with 22 goals and fourth in points with 47. He also compiled four goals and 10 assists in 20 playoff games. His 14 playoff points ranked him fourth in the league.
“Oskar has had a great year,” said General Manager Ron Hextall. “He’s in a really good league and has come a long way since his draft year. I hope he’s here in September fighting for a spot along with a number of other guys.”
Lindblom was given the chance to prove himself at the professional level when he joined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season. He posted two goals and five assists in just eight games. Since he was drafted, it had been thrown around that his game would suit smaller ice and he proved that to be true.
The Case To Make The Lehigh Valley Phantoms
There’s a few months before a decision will be made on Lindblom. The one thing known is that he will be playing in North America this upcoming season. With his contract coming to an end next season, it had only been a matter of time before he came over.
“I’ve never seen a player who has gone from strength to strength as he made during a season,” Brynas coach Thomas Berglund said. “And it hasn’t been minor adjustments, Lindblom has reached a new level. “He has not developed a step or two, but several steps. Both as a player and person.”
His brief stint with the Phantoms gives him a familiarity and an opportunity to learn more at that level. It will give him more time to develop and become even more familiar with the professional game. If the Flyers chose that route, he would certainly be one of the better forwards in the league. He’s become a more complete player since the last time he suited up.
The Case To Make The Philadelphia Flyers
However, Lindblom has already proven himself to be a top player. The SHL is known to be a similar league to the AHL. He also made his senior international debut for Sweden. He’s excelled at each level, thus giving him an advantage over others.
With the logjam the Flyers have at forward, Lindblom needs to have an impressive camp this fall in order to make the team. The Flyers possessing the number two pick in the draft will also be a factor. The team is expected to draft Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, both of whom are forwards.
But his three years in the SHL are something that have prepared him for this moment. Lindblom has shown that he’s more than adept in all zones. His speed and strength have been proven time and time again during his time in the SHL and AHL.
The Flyers are desperate for more scoring in regards to their forwards. They are also looking for more youth to make an impact. Being a natural left winger on a team stacked with centers is another point in Oskar Lindblom’s favor.
Oskar Lindblom goes 1-on-2 into the corner and comes away with the puck. He's tenacious. pic.twitter.com/le1kI7d0b6
No matter where Lindblom ends up next season, excitement will follow him. Whether it’s with Phantoms fans that got a brief glimpse of him last season or Flyers fans who have been waiting to see him. The hope is that the latter get to see him sooner rather than later.