UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Oskar Lindblom is one of those feel-good stories about a fifth-round draft pick making the big team last year.
He’s probably the most skilled player to reach the Flyers from that low a draft slot since Rick Tocchet way back in 1984.
Lindblom impressed a lot of folks during a 23-game trial which saw him produce two goals, six points with a plus-4.
The Swede’s speed could make him a valuable asset on what might be a reconfigured penalty kill this season.
But let’s not hand him a job just yet. There’s still a lot of work to be done.
“He’s got to win a job,’’ coach Dave Hakstol said after Sunday’s preseason-opening 3-0 loss to the Islanders. “Just like everybody else.
“He knows that. He had an outstanding rookie camp (last week). He’s had a good (regular) camp so far. You know, he’s in the heat of a battle. That’s just how it is. We’ve got some good competition in those spots.’’
Lindblom knows he probably didn’t do enough last season to simply walk in and expect to see his name in the starting lineup.
What did he learn last year from his two-month audition with the Flyers?
“Be smart,’’ he said. “Be fast with the puck. When you get the puck, you have to know where the puck is going to go. That’s a big part of the game.
“I’m more comfortable (this year). I’m one year older, it was a good experience last year playing in the best league in the world.’’
A regular spot on the penalty kill won’t hurt his chances of sticking around the Wells Fargo Center.
“I did it (PK) last year on the Phantoms a lot,’’ he said. “It’s like, you want to play as much as possible. PK is a way to help the team.
“I always want to show that I can play in all situations. I feel like I’m pretty comfortable playing in the ‘D’ zone. It’s good to get a game in against a team with a good power play.’’
Lindblom earned a promotion last year on the strength of 16-18-34 numbers in 54 games with the Phantoms.
Stolarz knocks off the rust
Anthony Stolarz missed most of last season due to a pair of knee surgeries so yesterday’s start in goal was just about getting a feel for the speed of an NHL game.
Stolarz allowed two goals on 15 shots but both came on Islander power plays. He really didn’t have a chance on shots by Kieffer Bellows or Cal Clutterbuck.
“I was a little nervous early on,’’ he said. “But as the game went on I settled in a little bit. I’ve been working hard in practice to knock off some of that rust. But at the same time you can’t mimic a game. It was nice to see they had a lot of NHL guys out there because you want to get thrown in the fire early. I thought I held my own pretty well.’’