First off, let me just beat everybody to the punch real quick. If your initial reaction to that headline is to comment, “Who?”, just know that you are neither original nor funny. But just in case some of you actually don’t know who Oskar Lindblom is yet, he was the Flyers 5th round pick in 2014. He hasn’t quite made a name for himself yet at the NHL level but in the month of November so far, Lindblom has put up 2 goals and 5 assists in 6 games.
He had the game winning assist on this Nolan Patrick goal in Anaheim.
He had a similar assist to Wayne Simmonds from his office the next game in LA.
He had a couple of assists in San Jose the next game. Then had 2 points in 2 games against the Coyotes after that. Didn’t find himself on the scoresheet against Chicago over the weekend but last night he had this tasty apple to Jake Voracek on the Flyers’ only goal of the night.
Right under Yandle’s twig and in a perfect spot for Voracek to get a shot off right away on his forehand and tuck it under the crossbar. It was a thing of beauty. Granted–the Flyers ended up losing last night’s game 2-1 but I don’t really want to talk about that game too much. It was a boring night in South Philadelphia for the most part. Both teams were just grinding it out in the neutral zone so neither team could really get much going. Florida had some periods of sustained pressure and the Flyers also had some periods of sustained pressure. But for the most part, it was a neutral zone chess match and the Panthers ended up coming out on top thanks to Roberto Luongo playing like it was 2011 again. Either way, the point of this blog is that Oskar Lindblom is starting to find his rhythm at the NHL level and that should have a lot of other teams in the league feeling very worried right now.
The more comfortable and confident Oskar Lindblom is playing out there, the better the chances are that he remains the 2LW even after James van Riemsdyk comes back after missing every game since the 2nd of the season in Colorado. The left wing position in the Flyers top 9 will be absolutely loaded. On the top line, you have a guy who finished 4th in the Hart Trophy voting last season in Claude Giroux. Then on the 2nd line you have Oskar Lindblom who has been operating at a point per game in the month of November and seems to be making something happen every time he touches the ice, like this scoring chance last night after a beauty of a play from Nolan Patrick.
There is going to come a time when Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek are no longer on this team. We’re still a little ways away from that but I’m fully confident that Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom can fill those voids perfectly.
And then on the 3rd line they’ll have a 30-goal scorer in James van Riemsdyk. It’s obvious that JvR being out of the lineup has hurt this team with having to do a bunch of mixed and matched lines in the bottom 6 so far this season. But if the top 9 looks like this moving forward…
Giroux – Couturier – Konecny
Lindblom – Patrick – Voracek
van Riemsdyk – Laughton/Weal – Simmonds
…then the Flyers only have to worry about keeping pucks out of their own net for the rest of the season. Which is pretty much common sense but I think this team will be a lot more successful when they only have to worry about one half of the ice instead of the full 200 feet, ya know? And Oskar Lindblom is a major key to that. Because he’s the type of guy who needs to keep playing on the 2nd line to produce. If you still him on that 3rd line without playmakers like Nolan Patrick and Jake Voracek around him, he’ll start to regress and we won’t see much from him. But put him out there with 19 and 93, and we’ve seen the type of numbers he can put up. He’s a 5th round draft pick playing in his rookie season. The Flyers don’t need him to put up 70 points this year but 40-50? He’s on pace to do that right now.
Also keep this in mind–late round Swedish draft picks with ridiculously beautiful hair have a history of working out in the National Hockey League. Henrik Zetterberg was a 7th round draft pick in 1999. He went on to have 960 career points in 1082 career games, and was a Stanley Cup champion/Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2008. Not a bad career for a guy who was taken on the last day of his draft out of Sweden. Is Oskar Lindblom the next Henrik Zetterberg? I’m not saying that just yet. But I’m also not saying definitely no either.