1. How will Oskar Lindblom perform in his first full season back?
Despite only appearing in 30 games for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2019-20, Oskar Lindblom was unquestionably the most omnipresent player on the roster.
After being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma (bone cancer) in December of 2019, few expected to see Lindblom on the ice again for the foreseeable future, but the 24-year-old Swedish fifth-round pick beat the odds, pushed through treatment at an incredible clip, and, against all odds, made his return to the ice in the Flyers’ Game 6 victory against the New York Islanders.
Needless to say, Lindblom’s resilience made him into a (super) hero in the City of Brotherly Love and sold many a jersey when the league released Purple “NHL Fights Cancer” sweaters, but that only goes so far. No, for Lindblom to truly cement his legacy as one of the best players and stories Philadelphia has seen in some time, he needs to bounce back to the 2018-19 form that earned him a three-year, $9 million extension six months into his recovery process.
Now obviously, Lindblom’s return to full time hockey player should be taken at whatever pace is deemed best by his coaches, trainers, and doctors. There isn’t a hockey fan of the Flyers, Penguins, or otherwise who wants to see Lindblom do anything but thrive as he moves forward with his life cancer-free, and anyone who says otherwise really isn’t an NHL fan. If he plays a part-time role or has to take games off here or there, no one will fault him; all that matters is getting the player fans fell in love with before #OskarStong was even a thing back to full strength both off and on the ice.
With that being said, if Lindblom can return to his vintage form and fill out the Flyers top-six as the team’s 1b to Claude Giroux, it’ll make the Flyers an absolute force to be reckoned with.
If Lindblom can go, it’ll allow JvR to fully embrace a third-line triggerman role alongside the Flyers’ cornucopia of distributors and give Alain Vigneault arguably the deepest top-9 in the NHL. That optionality will be vital in an abbreviated season with higher game frequency split over fewer dates.
Getting 20-ish goals from Lindblom will also make Carter Hart’s life a whole lot easier, as he’ll have the requisite offensive firepower needed to weather a three-plus goal performance and still get the win.
And most importantly of all, getting Oskar Lindblom back to his former glory would prove to little Philadelphia Flyers fans the world over that anything is possible when you put your mind to it, a lesson we all could learn in this day and age.