Oskar Lindblom Season Preview

© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Out of all of Mike Grier’s first crop of free agents, no one disappointed more than Oskar Lindblom last season. After being bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers, Mike Grier quickly signed Lindblom to a two-year $5 million contract. Lindblom was expected to come in and compete for the vacant winger position on the second line next to Logan Couture and Alexander Barabanov but never fulfilled that position. He instead found himself playing fourth-line minutes and saw his average time on ice crater to a career-low 10:34.

Unfortunately, Oskar Lindblom’s career will be a huge what-if. As a 22-year-old, he scored 33 points with 17 goals and looked to be a perennial 25 goal scorer in the league. He was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in December 2019. Before his diagnosis, he had 11 goals in 30 games for the Flyers and was establishing himself as a high-scoring winger. He fought and beat cancer and returned to play in the 2020-21 COVID season, scoring 14 points in 50 games.

Last season didn’t help that it took until December for Lindblom to find the back of the net. After starting the season without a goal in the first 26 games, Lindblom scored in a 6-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. He would end up scoring 6 goals and 9 assists in 73 games. Down the stretch, Lindblom did start to see time on the penalty kill after shorthanded stall-worths Nick Bonino and Matt Nieto were traded away. Lindblom was a positive penalty killer in that time, and it might be his way to earning a job this season.

Where does Lindblom fit?

Heading into training camp, Oskar Lindblom will have to establish himself as a defensive specialist on the team. Over the past few trade deadlines, the Sharks have shipped out several of their mainstays on the penalty kill, including Andrew Cogliano, Bonino, Nieto, and finally Steven Lorentz this summer. There will be plenty of opportunities behind Couture and Nico Sturm to earn penalty kill minutes. If Lindblom can establish himself as a defensive ace and pop in the occasional goal, he could earn some minutes. The best comparison would be Long Beach Native Matt Nieto.

The problem is that Oskar Lindblom is set to make $2.5 million this season, tied for eighth on the team. Alexander Barabanov, the Sharks’ fourth-best forward, makes $2 million this year. While not every contract will work out for Mike Grier, this has been the worst one he’s given out. Once the Sharks are out of the playoffs and want to get a long look at their younger players like Danil Gushchin, Tristen Robins, and Thomas Bordeleau, where is Lindblom going to fit in?

What’s next for Lindblom?

If Lindblom wins a job out of camp, he will be the 12th forward and looking over his shoulder. Entering the last year of his $2.5 million AAV contract, he will not be a part of the Sharks’ long-term future. With his contract size, he will not be an asset at the trade deadline, either. He will likely start the season on the Sharks but will have a short leash under head coach David Quinn, and once the Sharks are ready to get a look at younger players, most likely be stapled to the press box.

The best hope for Lindblom is that he can establish himself as a good penalty killer, pop in some goals, and then be a league-minimum player for the next few seasons. Or head back to Sweden to play in the SHL. His career will always be one of the great what-ifs in Flyer history.

Bold Prediction: Lindblom is a healthy scratch for a majority of the season and plays less than 35 games.

Other Season Previews:

Alexander Barabanov Season Preview

Thomas Bordeleau Season Preview

Ryan Carpenter Season Preview

Logan Couture Season Preview

Anthony Duclair Season Preview

William Eklund Season Preview

Mikael Granlund Season Preview

Danil Gushchin Season Preview

Tomas Hertl Season Preview

Mike Hoffman Season Preview

Kevin Labanc Season Preview

JD Young

Host of Locked on Sharks, saved the franchise once.

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