The Flyers have exploded into the new NHL season. With a 3-1-0 record and their only loss being the exception to a red-hot start, the team is beginning to find a rhythm offensively and have been propelled by the performances of Oskar Lindblom and the second line.
Travis Konecny leads the team in points after an emphatic start. In fact, his line has accounted for 11 of the 42 total scored by the team. That’s even more impressive when you consider that for two of those games, the team have been without Selke winning center Sean Couturier. The presence of Oskar Lindblom has been a huge reason behind the line’s resurgence.
Lindblom signed a three-year deal worth nine million dollars this past offseason which felt like the perfect way to close what was a remarkable journey back from something truly life-changing. After starting the 2019-20 campaign with 11 goals and 7 assists through 30 games, Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, and would embark on a scary, yet inspiring journey. About seven months later, Lindblom got to ring the bell after finishing his cancer treatments at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.
After making the playoff roster and competing in a crucial game-6 win over the Islanders, Flyers fans were crossing their fingers in the hopes of seeing him return to a full-time role on the second line next season. Fast forward a few bizarre months and he’s done exactly that.
You wouldn’t think watching him play that prior to the opener against the Penguins, his last regular-season action came in December 2019. Lindblom has 3 points through 4 games, with 2 goals being followed by a great assist on a Travis Konecny goal in last night’s win over Buffalo.
“I’m getting 100 percent. 100 percent in everything he does, whether it’s forecheck, backcheck, in our zone or the right plays with the puck.” Alain Vigneault told reporters after the game. “The kid is all in and he’s giving us everything he has every shift. That’s what I expect from him and that’s what I expect from all his teammates.”
It wasn’t just Vigneault who had glowing praise for Oskar Lindblom.
“I think Oskar, every game he is just getting better.” Captain Claude Giroux explained. “I think it’s pretty normal. He didn’t really play the last few months. He’s a really smart hockey player, so he’s always in a really good position. He’s fun to play with and fun to watch. We’re happy for him that he’s playing well right now.”
It’s easy to forget that Lindblom is still very much in his youth. At just 24-years-old, the sky really is the limit. It would’ve been completely normal to expect some rust in his game or a slower progression as he re-entered the second line, but it’s like he’s never been away and the entire group is thriving as a result.
“He’s a smart player. He does the right things, so you just try to get in and support him.” Travis Konecny stated. “He’s really good with his stick. As long as he’s in there and skating hard, he turns a lot of pucks over, so you got to support him all over the ice. It’s been good to see him getting back and playing the way he’s played.”
If Lindblom can continue to play at the level he is, then the Flyers offense will only become more and more dangerous as the season goes on. It’s fantastic seeing Oskar Lindblom back on the ice, but to see him thriving and producing for his team at such a high-rate is truly incredible after all he’s been through.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre