Oskar Lindblom has overcome lots of adversity in his NHL career.
So an upper-body injury wasn’t going to set him back for long. The former Philadelphia Flyers left winger, now in his first season with the San Jose Sharks, missed a few days of practice because of the unspecified injury, but he skated with the team Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday, he made the Sharks’ trip to Europe, where San Jose will play an exhibition game Tuesday against Eisbaren Berlin in Germany.
San Jose begins its season Friday against Nashville in Prague.
Lindblom, 26, is expected to be in San Jose’s top six.
The Flyers bought out Lindblom’s contract in July. The next day, San Jose signed him to a two-year deal that carries an annual $2.5 million cap hit. Lindblom said he was thankful for his years with the Flyers, and was looking forward to a “fresh start.”
In December of 2019, Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer. He lost lots of muscle mass and had surgery to remove a rib. Chemo treatments followed. Remarkably, he returned and played for the Flyers in the delayed playoffs that season.
He is cancer-free.
“He has overcome significant obstacles in his young career,” San Jose GM Mike Grier said after signing Lindblom, “and his strength and desire to play hockey is immeasurable.”
At the time he joined the Sharks, Lindblom, who was a fan favorite in Philly, said he felt he could get back to his old self this season.
“My last two years, I haven’t been where I want to be,” he said. “So I feel like now is the time to step it up and get to where I want to be.”
This was going to be Lindblom’s first “normal” off-season since the summer of 2019.
He scored 17 goals for the Flyers in 2018-19. He was on his way. The next season, he had 11 goals in 30 games before his stunning diagnosis. He had 12 goals in 79 games with the Philadelphia Flyers last season.
With the buyout, the Flyers got $3.33 million in cap space. But it didn’t give them enough room to sign a significant free agent like left winger Johnny Gaudreau, who wanted to return to his roots.