Oskar Lindblom is only 23 and he is destined to be remembered as one of the most beloved players in Flyers history.
The Swedish left-winger appeared in an inspiring video posted by the Flyers on Thursday where he rings the bell, as is custom for cancer patients who complete their treatment, at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. Lindblom appears with his girlfriend, Alma Lindqvist, and presents the medical staff with a Flyers jersey. One of the nurses tells him, “You’ve been an absolute pleasure!”
In a summer of no sports, racial injustice, extrajudicial paramilitary violence and a global pandemic, it’s the best news we’ve seen in quite some time.
Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma in December, a rare form of cancer that forms in the bones or soft tissue around the bones, generally found in children and young adults.
In a statement released by Bill Meltzer, GM Chuck Fletcher said he couldn’t “say enough about this young man.
“Everyone can see the talent and impact that Oskar has had for us on the ice, but he is an outstanding teammate in our locker room and a genuinely good person. His attitude and strength through all of this is a tremendous inspiration for us all. Today is a great day. Congrats to Oskar. We look forward to having him rejoin our team in the near future.”
Even before Flyers fans rallied around him with the #OskarStrong hashtag, he was a popular member of the team. He fell to the 5th round in 2014, Ron Hextall’s inaugural draft, because of concerns about his skating. He quickly put those concerns to rest with a strong three-year stint with Brynas IF in the SHL, one of the best leagues in the world. At age 20, he dominated the league, scoring 47 points in 52 games, followed by 14 points in the playoffs, and he was named the best forward in the league.
In the NHL, Lindblom has proven himself to be a dynamic two-way forward with extremely high hockey IQ and a willingness to do the dirty work in the corners and near the net. Before his season ended on Dec. 13, he had emerged as one of the top players on a Flyers team that was a surprise contender under new coach Alain Vigneault, scoring 11 goals with terrific possession numbers (54.8% CorsiFor, +3.6% CorsiRel).
Alexander Appleyard of the Athletic, who has followed Lindblom’s career since he was a teenager, shared an amazing stat that shows how rare his combination of skills is in the NHL:
Last month, Lindblom, the Flyers nominee for the Masterton Trophy, even participated in a team skate as the NHL began Phase 2 of its return program. At this point, it’s impossible to say when Lindblom will return to the Flyers, but anything he does will be gravy.
We just want him to have a long, healthy and happy life.