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Flyers Buy Out Oskar Lindblom; Johnny Gaudreau Heading Home?

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Oskar Lindblom Carter Hart, Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers made a painful move Tuesday — buying out heroic left winger Oskar Lindblom — but it will free up cap space that could help them sign star left winger Johnny Gaudreau when free-agency starts Wednesday at noon.

Calling its a “difficult decision” that “we spent a lot of time examining,’ general manger Chuck Fletcher announced the Flyers had put Lindblom on waivers for the purpose of buying out the final year of his contract.

The Flyers will get $3.33 million of cap space with the buyout.

Lindblom was having a breakthrough season (11 goals in 30 games) when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in December of 2019. Remarkably, he returned for the playoffs that season.

“No one can question the desire, will, and strength to overcome all that Oskar has been through off the ice in order to return to the game he loves,” Fletcher said.

He said Lindblom’s commitment to his teammates was “immeasurable.” Fletcher said Lindblom is “truly an inspiration to us all and he will always remain a special part of the Philadelphia Flyers’ family.”

Flashes of old self

He had 12 goals in 79 games during an inconsistent 2021-22 season. But he showed flashes of being his old self.

The Flyers could have bought out 33-year-old James van Riemsdyk and freed $2.7 million in cap space this season. Instead, they opted for Lindblom, who turns 26 next month.

There is speculation that Pittsburgh GM Ron Hextall, who drafted Lindblom in the fifth round in 2014 for the Flyers, may show interest in the left winger.

Lindblom spent parts of five seasons for the Flyers and eight years in the organization.

He won the Bill Masterton Trophy after the 2020-21 season; the award is for perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

The Philadelphia Flyers now have $3.45 million in cap space, per Cap Friendly. Teams can go over the $82.5 million cap limit by 10 percent during the summer.

Philly is now in a better position to sign a high-quality free agent like Gaudreau or someone else, but it would still have to make several moves to become cap compliant before the season starts.

If Gaudreau is signed, he would be returning home to his roots. He grew up in South Jersey and was a Flyers fan as a youngster. It would also reunite him with one of his closest friends, Kevin Hayes, his former Boston College teammate.

A source told Philly Hockey Now that Gaudreau would love playing for the Flyers and wants to be on the East Coast.

The Daily Faceoff reported Tuesday night that Gaudreau had informed Calgary he will not be returning. The Flames had reportedly offered him an eight-year deal for at least $10 million per season.

The Flyers, Devils, and Islanders are believed to be in the running for Gaudreau.

Flyers’ donation

The Flyers announced that in recognition of Lindblom’s inspiration to the city and the team, Flyers Charities will donate $100,000 in the left winger’s name to a local organization that supports families impacted by cancer.

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