In Sweden, Oskar Lindblom says there really aren’t any skating coaches like there are in the states.
Because of that, he had to take the onus of improving his weakness -- skating -- on his own time and in his own way. Scouting reports listed his agility as his major weakness. After being chosen in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, Lindblom has turned that knock into a strength.
“My legs are much stronger now and my legs feel a little better, so those two things are the most important,” Lindblom said following his first session at this weekend’s development camp. “I’d take maybe 10 minutes before every practice back home and do my own thing and try to be better every day. That’s one thing I can do.”
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The improvement translated into his most dominant season to date. Lindblom netted 47 points in 52 games for Brynas IF in the Swedish Hockey League, which Ron Hextall praises as the closest thing to the American Hockey League in terms of competitiveness leading into the NHL.
Prior to that breakout, Lindblom had just 25 points the season before and totaled just 40 points in his first three seasons (89 games) with Brynas IF.
Even Lindblom himself was taken aback by how successful he was during the 2016-17 season.
“I was surprised, of course, because I just wanted to be a leading guy on their team but I didn’t think I was going to score that much or get that many points,” Lindblom said. “As the longer the season gets I’ll get more confident in my play, so it feels good.”
Now Lindblom is ready to take that next step and don the orange and black. A strong showing in training camp will all but solidify his status in the top six come opening night.
“I feel like I can play and be on this level,” Lindblom said. “So I just try and push myself every day and be better. Now that I’m signed here, just have to do my best now to get there. That’s what I want, to play in the NHL.”
indblom was one of the more noticeable players over the first three days of camp, showcasing the strength he developed playing against grown men in Sweden and his much improved agility in regards to his first few steps.
His spot wasn’t earned at the evaluation camp, so he’ll need to carry over his momentum into September’s main camp, but Lindblom is all but ready to do just that.
“Just battle hard and show what I can do,” Lindblom said of what he must do at camp. “Be there every day and fight to be a pro.”