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Oskar Strong: Oskar Lindblom wins Masterson Trophy



Oskar Lindblom

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom won the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy for the 2020-21 season, the NHL announced on Tuesday night.

The Flyers tweeted out a great video of Lindblom’s journey over the past 18 months.

The Masterson Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best embodies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey.

Here is the full press release, via the Flyers:

“I feel very, very honored and proud to win this award and to compete with these types of players like Matt Dumba and Patrick Marleau that are great players and great people on and off the ice. It’s very special for me,” said Lindblom in accepting the award from last year’s recipient, Bobby Ryan. “Just to be able to get back on the ice again was so, so good and I can’t say more than that. It was an awesome feeling to be back on the ice again… I would like to thank my family, my girlfriend, my whole team, the organization and especially the doctors and nurses who have been helping me along the way, and everyone else who have been with me the whole way. I just want to say a big thank you to all of you.”

“On behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers, I’d like to congratulate Oskar for this well-deserved honor given to him by the PHWA and the National Hockey League,” said Flyers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Chuck Fletcher. “Oskar is a young man that continues to impress us with his level of commitment and character. To go through what he went through and return to the team during our playoffs in the Toronto bubble shows an incredible amount of determination and courage. He followed that up by working extremely hard to prepare for a full season in which he had an immediate impact in our room and on the ice.”

Lindblom is just the fourth Flyer to receive the award in franchise history and first in 10 seasons, joining Ian Laperriere (2011), Tim Kerr (1989) and Bob Clarke (1972).

Lindblom appeared in 50 of the team’s 56 games and recorded 14 points (8g-6a) this past season, after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania in December of 2019. He returned to the Flyers in the NHL bubble for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs and appeared in Games 6 and 7 of the Second Round vs. NY Islanders.

On May 10, 2021, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) chose Lindblom as the Flyers nominee to the NHL, and on June 8 he was named a finalist, marking the second consecutive year he was nominated and named a finalist.

Prior to his diagnosis during the 2019-20 season, Lindblom was in the midst of a breakout year. He was tied for the team lead in goals (11) and recorded 18 points (11g-7a) in 30 games.

In parts of four NHL seasons, all with the Flyers, Lindblom has recorded 38 goals and 33 assists for 71 points in 184 career regular season games. He was selected by the Flyers in the fifth round (138th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, which was held in Philadelphia.

The trophy named in Masterton’s honor was originally presented by the NHL Writers’ Association in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars, who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, and who died January 15, 1968.

Lindblom, 24, returned to play in last year’s playoffs less than a year after being diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Lindblom rang the bell after his final treatment on July 2nd and was back on the ice in an NHL game less than two months later.

This season, Lindblom was a nearly-full participant for the Flyers while battling other issues as well. Lindblom was one of several Flyers players to contract COVID-19 in February, but still played in 50 of 56 games this season.

Lindblom compiled 14 points (eight goals, six assists) and his first career fight during a special season for him.

When fans were allowed to return to the stands, they gave Oskar Lindblom the ovation he deserves on March 7th.

Two weeks later, with the Flyers trying to stay afloat in the playoff picture, Lindblom had a hard-working two-goal game in an important spot for the team.

Just a few nights later, Lindblom tried to keep that spark going with his first career fight after the Flyers went down 4-0 in the first period.

The best news of the season for Lindblom came late in March. He revealed that he remains cancer-free after his scans came back clean.

With the Flyers’ playoff hopes all but over, Lindblom had one last special night in April. The Flyers’ Hockey Fights Cancer game was an extra special affair for Lindblom. The Flyers all wore No. 23 Lindblom jerseys in warmups and the tributes continued throughout the night. Understandably, Lindblom was overcome with emotions on the night.

This was Lindblom’s second straight year being a Masterson Trophy finalist. Last year, voting took place before he returned in the playoffs. This year, after a full season of hockey, there is no doubt that Lindblom deserved to win the Masterson Trophy.

Photo: Heather Barry Images

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