Lindblom Looking To Prove He Can Play North American Pro Game

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Oskar Lindblom participated in his first practice on-ice with the Phantoms Monday. Photo from this summer's development camp via - Nina Weiss/The Home News
Signed to an amateur tryout contract by the Lehigh Valley Phantoms Saturday morning, 19-year-old Swedish born forward Oskar Lindblom took part in his first on-ice practice with his new team Monday morning at the PPL Center in downtown Allentown, Pa.

Team captain Colin McDonald was one of two veteran forwards who missed the team's practice yesterday (Tim Brent the other), and Lindblom took McDonald's spot on the line with Taylor Leier and Cole Bardreau wearing the top line orange practice jersey - perhaps a sign Lindblom will be entering the Phantoms' lineup sooner rather than later.

Lindblom's ATO contract is for the remainder of the Phantoms' season, which has eight games left beginning with Friday and Saturday's pair of games in Newfoundland, Canada against the Montreal Canadiens' AHL affiliate St. John's IceCaps. While the team still has two practices before this weekend's games - one tomorrow at PPL Center and one Thursday in St. John's after a travel day Wednesday - it's not out of the question that Lindblom will make his AHL debut this weekend, especially after talking to him after Monday's practice.

"It's going to be real fun to play here," Lindblom said after his first practice with his new teammates, adding, "I played a few times in the smaller rink, so it's going to be fun. [I'm] just waiting for it to be Friday."

More on Lindblom, including how his style of play might translate to a better fit in the North American pro game and what the future holds for his chances of playing hockey in North America - possibly with Philadelphia or Lehigh Valley - next fall.

Lindblom saw an increased workload in second full season of pro hockey in Sweden, regularly assembled as a part of Brynas IF Gavle's top line where he produced 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists) in 48 games. The two-way forward's play has continued to improve and develop and the 19-year-old is getting good reviews from Flyers' brass.

"I got a chance to play with two very good players right when the season started," Lindblom said of his Swedish pro team this season. "Coach believed in me. I played a lot more this year than the year before, so I feel like I've gotten better at everything like skating stronger. It's been good."

Skating was an area of concern for Lindblom, but it appears as though he has worked hard at improving his skating ability - something very necessary overseas on the larger ice surface.

"Trying to gain weight and be stronger, but skating is one of my things I need to improve," Lindblom said on what he's been working on this season over in Sweden. "I feel like it's improved and I'm just working on it to get better every day."

Lindblom seems to excel in areas of the game such as the net-front and in board battles, which could be a sign that his game will translate well to the smaller ice surface in North America where the game is a lot more technical and physical.

"I feel like it's going to be easier for me to play here," Lindblom said of his style of play translating well on the smaller ice. "Not skating so much and just getting to the net and try to score, so it's going to be fun. Just take the opportunity, and prove myself that I could play here."

While he was non-committal about returning to North America to play pro hockey for the Flyers organization in the fall, these final eight games also provide an opportunity to sway his mind towards playing on the smaller ice surface full-time in the 2016-17 season.

"We'll see about that," he said of joining the Phantoms/Flyers next season, adding, "I still have one year left on my contract at home, so we'll see what happens."


With help from Alexander Appleyard, who covers the Flyers prospects overseas, he provided a detailed scouting report on the kind of player Oskar Lindblom has been this season. A special thanks to Alexander for the following insights on Lindblom:
This season (2015-16) he won a job on the 1st line out of pre-season, and was placed on a line with Greg Scott and Anton Rödin. They quickly became probably the most dangerous line in the SHL before Rödin got injured. Lindblom played LW on it (instead of the RW spot he played the year before) and was generally the guy who provided the boardwork, net-front presence and also a good two-way game to seemingly free up his linemates offensively. He was on PP2 for most of the season... but when Rödin got injured he was getting reps on PP1 towards the end of the season... Nick Johnson replaced Rödin on the 1st line generally and Lindblom played some RW at times towards the end of the year. I believe he only spent one whole game all season off the 1st line. 
He is just a really solid all around forward. As I wrote in an article from last year, his skating was a big concern at one point but he must have done a hell of a power skating program or something! He is now a pretty average skater speed wise, but has bullish lower body strength, good edges and balance. 
He generally just does all the little things right. He rarely gets caught out of position defensively, is a monster on the boards (he generally wins the majority of battles in the SHL despite being a teenager still) and is a relentless fore-checker. He really seems to pride himself on being hard-working from watching him on ice and for a guy who spends a lot of time around the net is very disciplined. He has drawn a lot more penalties than he has taken as an SHL pro for sure. 
He is good at getting a screen and is very, very hard to move from around the crease, especially on the PP. Nice release on his shot too, especially on the PP if he peels off into slot or walks in off the right half-boards as a lefty shot. Also possesses some 'sneaky' play-making skill, and decent hands. He scored one goal this year where he went past half the Farjestad team and did a spin-o-rama in the corner!
Oskar Lindblom (#96) makes some moves on his way to the net.
Another thing worth noting is that both this season and last season he was one of his teams best players in the SHL 'play-in' (mini series to get in playoffs proper.) Last year they got in then lost in first round... this year they got knocked out in play-in. 
Some more gif highlights from this years play-in:
A nice setup from Lindblom.

Good work along the wall by Lindblom for this setup.

Strong net-front presence and good hand-eye coordination in the slot to re-direct point shot in by Lindblom. All three of these highlights are from the same SHL play-in series.


Post a Comment