It wasn’t really a surprise Oskar Lindblom was included on the Flyers’ final playoff roster on Sunday.
What may have taken some people aback was the decision by coach Alain Vigneault and general manager Chuck Fletcher to leave rookie left wing Carsen Twarynski off it.
Considering a total of 31 players were permitted to appear on the list, Twarynski’s absence seemed rather glaring.
Twarynski was on the roster for opening night of this past regular season when he suited up for the game against Chicago on Oct. 4 in Prague, Czech Republic.
He went on to play in 15 games for the Flyers and 31 more for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where he posted seven goals and 12 points.
The Flyers also are bringing along two players who have never appeared in an NHL game – defensemen Egor Zamula and Andy Welinski.
Lindblom, who has completed treatments for Ewing’s sarcoma (a rare form of bone cancer), recently signed a new three-year, $9-million contract and was told by Fletcher to make preparations for Toronto.
Here is the complete final roster list (in uniform numerical order):
Forwards – Andy Andreoff, Travis Konecny, Michael Raffl, Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, Tyler Pitlick, Scott Laughton, Oskar Lindblom, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux, Derek Grant, Nate Thompson, Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Connor Bunnaman, Jake Voracek.
Defensemen – Andy Welinski, Philippe Myers, Travis Sanheim, Robert Hagg, Ivan Provorov, Matt Niskanen, Shayne Gostisbehere, Egor Zamula, Mark Friedman Justin Braun.
Goaltenders – Alex Lyon, Brian Elliott, Kirill Ustimenko, Carter Hart.
>Braun’s playoff experience valuable
A charter plane transported the Flyers to the NHL’s playoff hub site in Toronto on Sunday and one of the most valuable players on the flight just might have been Justin Braun.
Braun, along with fellow veteran defenseman Niskanen, should provide a wealth of knowledge from their vast experience in postseason situations.
The 33-year-old Braun, who spent his entire career with the San Jose Sharks before coming over to the Flyers in a trade last year, has played in 84 postseason games with a plus-1 and 182 blocked shots.
Braun was a key part of the Sharks’ push to make it to the 2018-19 Western Conference finals, where they lost to coach Craig Berube’s Cinderella St. Louis Blues team which eventually won the Stanley Cup.
No doubt Braun, who is likely to be part of a third defense pairing with either Hagg or Gostisbehere, should be able to impart a great deal of wisdom on all the youngsters, including Provorov, Myers and Friedman.
“We (Braun, Niskanen) have played quite a few playoff games,’’ Braun said. “Having that extra pressure, even a little more magnified. . .but I think with a neutral site, going into away barns is usually tough. You won’t really have the crowd and everything, to have the jitters there.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit different than it normally is. (Braun and Niskanen will just) try to keep them calm and have them making their plays they need to make.’’
Braun knows a newcomer such as Myers, who’s never competed in a playoff game, might be a little nervous. Braun can remember his first playoff game and he was a little jittery.
“It’s just because it’s so different,’’ said Braun, who first appeared in a playoff game back after the 2010-11 season. “First experience probably didn’t go as well as I hoped. I was a little panicked with the puck. I didn’t make the simple plays that I needed to make.
“I was one and done on that playoff run my first year, but these guys are poised with the puck. The younger guys, they shouldn’t have a problem. Like I said, those away crowds and the extra pressure won’t be there.’’
Braun spent a lot of time with Hagg in the second half of the season. If these two are back together again, there are some built-in advantages.
“I think it’s huge,’’ Braun said. ‘’You want to be with a guy so you can kind of read off him again. Get that chemistry going because when you got to make those bumps, breakout plays, you can’t be guessing where your guy is going to be. You got to know where he’s going to be immediately, that he is going to be sliding over on the rush, that he’s going to take away the middle.
“Just having those little detail things that you are working on every day with him. Beyond that, we are trying to all do the same things out there. Everyone has a different style and different strength. I think it was good to kind of keep everyone where they were at.’’