It’s tough to judge Oskar Lindblom the same you would every other player on the team because of how beloved he is in the city. He will forever be remembered by Flyers fans mostly for what happened to him off the ice, but perhaps by some for his on ice abilities. Obviously everyone knows the story of Oskar being diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma back in December of 2019. One of the few bright spots this past year was him returning for a full season of hockey with no limitations.
When he was drafted in the fifth round back in 2014 it was seen as a good pick by the team, that only got better as the he continued developing. In the 2016-17 season at the age of 20 he recorded 47 points in 52 including 22 goals, for Brynas IF in the SHL. At the end of the season he was named Swedish forward of the year and signed his entry level deal with the Flyers. People hoped he would find that scoring touch we so desperately needed, but unfortunately this season seemed to put some doubt in fans and ultimately the organization.
It was difficult for Flyers supporters when the team announced they were buying Lindblom out and letting him become a free agent. He was a fan favorite and there were hopes that he would get back to the player he was becoming early in his career. In his first two seasons in the NHL he recorded 39 points in 104 games in limited ice time. It was no surprise that he struggled when he first returned to action, and I do not think the uncertainty of the Covid schedule did him any favors. With that being said, lets take a look at how he did this past season.
This season Lindblom played 79 games tallying 12 goals and 14 assist for 26 points, while averaging 13:48 in ice time. Additionally he tallied 127 shots on goal and had a shooting percentage of 9.4%. Lindblom spent most of the season going back and forth between the second/third line and fourth line. The majority of his points came when he played in the middle six of the lineup. Konecny, Laughton, Hayes, and Atkinson combined for 11 assist on Lindblom’s 12 goals. Furthermore, seven of his 14 assist came on goals scored by Giroux, Farabee, Konecny, and Hayes.
When we look at his underlying numbers they show that this was perhaps Lindbloms worst season of his short career. At 5-on-5 his Corsi For Percentage was just 45%, the lowest of his career, while his relative CF% was a -3.0, the second lowest of his career. Interestingly his expected goals for however was a 36.7% the second highest of his career. As far as individual numbers go at 5-on-5 his points per 60 was a 1.5 while his primary points per 60 was 1.1. His shots per 60 was down to just 6.7, the second lowest of his career. This might be the most disappointing stat because of how effective a goal scorer he can be when he is given, and seizes the opportunity.
Did they live up to expectations?
I don’t think most people had any expectations for Lindblom coming into the season. Most people were just happy to see him get back on the ice for a full season. With that being said Lindblom’s season was a little disappointing because of what he was expected to be before his diagnosis. There may have been some people who were looking for a 20 goal season from Lindblom, but his lack of consistency, and his time spent with fourth line put those expectations to rest quickly. Lindblom will look to gain back his stamina and strength in the offseason and try and get back to his scoring ways next season.
What can we expect from next season?
A day after Lindblom was bought out by the Flyers, he signed a two-year contact worth 2.5 million per season with the San Jose Sharks. Personally I would have liked to keep Lindblom the final year of his contract to see if he could bounce back, especially considering what the team did with the money freed up from the buyout. I think Lindblom will do well in San Jose where he should be given a chance to play in a top nine forward spot and hopefully gain some consistency.
How do you grade their 2021-22 season?
Since it was possibly the worst season of Lindbloms career its tough to give him a good grade. The effort was always there from Lindblom and at times we saw flashes of the goal scoring touch. However he struggled to parlay all these thing on a consistent basis. He was unable to find the back of the net until December 6 and then scored five goals in the span of a month from late February to late March. It was this level of up and down play that resulted in Alain Vigneault scratching him for what he called a “reset”. Later in the season is was scratched again by Mike Yeo who cited a few nagging injuries as the reason. With all this being said we will give Oskar a C for his play this season. Regardless of what Lindblom did on the ice in his five season he will forever be remembered by Flyers fans as an A+ person.
*All stats via Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick