Alex Appleyard provides weekly updates of Flyers prospects in Europe here at Sons of Penn. You can find him on Twitter at @avappleyard for live updates and conversation regarding the young guns overseas and the big club here at home in Philadelphia.
In the last Flyers European prospect update I joked that Lindblom could probably simply have his own weekly update, considering that every week of the season so far the young Swede has put on some kind of show. Well, here is his own update covering the last couple of weeks!
Oskar Lindblom (Forward)
SHL: 23 games, 7 goals, 16 assists, 23 points, +11
In the immediate aftermath of the previous update it would have seemed from the stat sheet that Lindblom was coming back down to earth. In the three games he played between the 15th and 18th of November he was held off the scoreboard completely. However, in those games he had six shots and numerous chances that just would not go. The three games were the longest scoreless stretch this season for Lindblom, but he posted his first and second highest TOI totals of the season on the 17th and 18th. Luckily, that stretch of good play with no bounces did not last for long.
Following that scoreless stretch Lindblom now has six points in his last six games as is second in the league with 23 points. Mind you, Lindblom is just a 20-year old kid playing against men in the SHL.
From the get-go vs Örebro on the 22nd of November, Lindblom looked engaged. The game ended up being one of the better ones he has played so far this season That is certainly saying something considering the high standards he has set himself so far this year. The game was close fought throughout, with both teams trading goals back and forth.
Lindblom’s first impact on the scoreboard was during the second period, with his side Brynäs trailing 2-0 after two quick goals from the opposition the Flyers young charge took the puck on the right half-boards in his own zone, and decisively took the puck up centre ice. He proceeded to dangle past an opponent at the blue-line and lay the puck off to line-mate Clark, who made no mistake in sniping over the opposition goalies glove.
But the best was yet to come from Lindblom. With the game tied in overtime Lindblom took a pass from his center Jensen having just passed into the offensive zone, drawing two defensemen towards him he then laid off a nifty backhand pass back to his center, who put the puck into the crease, off defenseman Gunderson’s skate and into the goal.
He finished the game with two assists and +2, playing an invaluable part in the victory.
Two days later against Malmö, Lindblom impressed yet again. Despite his side being majorly outplayed, he was one of the few bright sparks in the 2-1 loss. He was engaged in all three zones and was rewarded when he gave Brynäs the lead in the second period.
After a lost face-off Lindblom pressured an opposition defenseman into a giveaway on the right boards, his linemate Jensen got him the puck back, and the young Swedish winger powered towards net, shooting a seeing eye shot from the edge of the circle that seemingly only he knew had gone in. The puck hit the back off the cage and bounced back out past the hashes.
Upon video review the rest of the arena knew the shot had cleanly beat the goalie too. Lindblom helped create another couple of chances in the game, but neither would go.
The next game versus Rögle the powerful young forward was not as impressive as he had been in the previous few games, but he did still help contribute to a 4-2 win for his side. Early in the second period Lindblom was contributing in his own end. With goalie Rautio hung out to dry after over-committing on a wrap-around Lindblom got back through a crowd of bodies to help clear the puck from the blue-paint, when any touch from an opponent would have meant the puck ended in the back of the net.
Later in the game he was contributing at the other end of the ice. With Brynäs trailing 2-1 in the third period and on the power-play Lindblom – playing in the ‘Wayne Simmonds’ spot around the crease and on the goal-line – passed a puck from the goal-line between an opposition defenseman’s legs for a virtual tap-in for last seasons SHL top-scorer Nick Johnson.
The sixth and final game the intelligent two-way forward played over this span was Thursday against the perennial SHL power-house Skellefteå. The game was close fought, and while it ended in a 3-2 loss for Brynäs Lindblom did close to everything he could to sway the result in his hometown team’s favor.
On just his first shift of the game Lindblom put his team up by one. His play on the goal highlighted a lot of what Lindblom’s game is about. He picked up the puck on the left wall after his team had completed a partial change and played a give and go with a team-mate. Lindblom then bullied his way past an opposition defenseman on the boards, and held off two further opponents with some nice play along the boards behind the net.
With the three players beaten Lindblom then threaded a back-hand pass to defenseman Lucas Carlsson, who had crept up into the play. The young defenseman made no mistake and fired high over the goalies glove into the top corner. During the play Lindblom virtually eliminated all five opponents, three with his board-play, and two with a beautifully weighted pass.
His second point of the game was slightly more fortuitous. With his side trailing 2-1 he carried the puck up ice from the right half-boards in his own end, he tried to saucer a long backhand pass to line-mate Clark, who had almost got a jump on his defender at the blue-line on the left wing. The puck however hit an opponent, but fell to Jensen, who passed to Clark, who proceeded to bury the bouncing puck. Initially the assist was not given to Lindblom, but was later added as it was deemed the defenseman never controlled the puck.
Early in the third period Lindblom made a great play that almost gave the side a 3-2 lead. Anticipating a cross-ice pass Lindblom pounced as the right winger attempted to create a chance for the left defenseman, he poked the puck away and got a partial breakaway as a result. He shot from just past the left circle face-off dot as three players chased him down from behind. The shot was a great snap shot that seemed destined for the top left corner of the goal, but opposition goalie Ortio made a fantastic blocker save to deny him.
Lindblom also made two fantastic defensive plays in the game, both times breaking up passes that would have resulted in one-timers from dangerous areas.
Next week the Sweden senior team for the Channel One Cup in Moscow will be selected. Lindblom not being on that roster would be a travesty. He currently leads the SHL in points-per-60 with 3.90, and also leads the league in even strength points with 16, while being second in overall points with 23.
He is also nearly a point-per-game player in his last 36 professional games.
— Alexander Appleyard (@avappleyard) December 1, 2016
Lindblom has been a great find by the Flyers. It looks like he should be able to make an impact in North America next season.