Following the 2021-2022 season, the Philadelphia Flyers have many tough decisions to make. A rebound season from Oskar Lindblom makes it easier.
The Philadelphia Flyers have a decent amount of depth. In the lineup are five centers, technically. That flexibility shares a luxury.
Let’s get crazy. Assume Claude Giroux flipped back to center from left-wing. Simply doing so would allow Joel Farabee to the top line, James van Riemsdyk to likely play on the same line with Giroux, and Oskar Lindblom earns more ice time as a top-nine forward. As Giroux and Farabee enter contract seasons, Alain Vigneault would be wise to remove the glass ceiling above Lindblom.
Lindblom will likely remain on the fourth line. Unfortunately, that placement in the lineup doesn’t allow his potential to shine.
Before his diagnosis, Lindblom looked like a forward with a license to score.
Due to make $3mil through the end of 2022-2023, Lindblom does have time to find his groove. Doing so in 2021-2022 will put pressure on Chuck Fletcher to make decisions regarding his forwards. Once upon a time, Lindblom began to look like a top-six left wing. If Lindblom can become the catalyst of trade discussions for van Riemsdyk, the Flyers have an opportunity to clear cap space. That’ll serve as a victory in Philadelphia.
Top Six Talent
Recency bias doesn’t portray Oskar Lindblom as a potential top-six left wing. Unfortunately, Lindblom had to take a road less traveled to return to the ice.
In 2019-2020, Lindblom scored eleven goals in thirty games. That’s as many as Travis Konecny scored in fifty games last season. That means the top six potential is there. Following a shortened season, did Lindblom condition properly. Could he return to form in 2021-2022 after a typical offseason?
Throughout the entire Alain Vigneault era, Lindblom continues to finish top ten in team goal-scoring.
Recency bias hasn’t treated Lindblom fairly. Currently, he’s one of the best fourth-line players in the entire league.
Two seasons ago, only Konecny and Scott Laughton converted more shots into goals than Lindblom (70+ SOG.) Last season, Lindblom took fewer shots in more games. Only Joel Farabee and Sean Couturier converted more shots than goals (50+ SOG.) Lindblom has consistently remained a sharpshooter on the ice.
The flat cap era is a monster, forcing teams across the league to make tough decisions to be under the salary cap. After this season, Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier are unrestricted free agents. Joel Farabee headlines a cast of restricted free agent forwards.
Does Lindblom have it in him to play a top-six role? Yes, absolutely. Will he the void if the Philadelphia Flyers had to sever ties with Giroux? Probably not. Giroux will likely receive a much-deserved extension, but these are questions Chuck Fletcher should treat as a point of reference when evaluating the lineup once the stars move on.
Will Fletcher be hungry to move James van Riemsdyk? That all depends on Lindblom’s performance in 2021-2022. The Flyers would like the extra cap space. Philadelphia could trade van Riemsdyk in 2021-2022 to prepare for the negotiations of contracts at the end of the season.
If Fletcher makes that decision, that’s a promotion for Lindblom.
These next two seasons are vital for the placement of Lindblom in the lineup. For the Flyers, his development plays a crucial role in managing the personnel of the forwards.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre