For the second straight year, Flyers left winger Oskar Lindblom, who overcame a rare bone cancer, has been named one of three finalists for the Masterton Trophy, the NHL announced Tuesday.
The award is given to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Lindblom, Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba, and San Jose center Patrick Marleau are the finalists.
The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted nominations, with the top three vote-getters becoming the finalists. The award will be announced on a date to be determined during the playoffs.
Bobby Ryan, the Cherry Hill native, won the award last year.
This year, Lindblom, 24, played his first full season with the Flyers after beating Ewing’s sarcoma, which sidelined him for most of the 2019-20 campaign. He played in 50 games this season — one interrupted when he contracted the coronavirus — and collected 14 points (eight goals, six assists) while averaging 13 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time per game.
“It goes up and down every day,” Lindblom said late in the season. “You can feel great one day, and another day you feel like you haven’t played hockey for a while. You just have to battle through, try to be strong mentally and do your work every day and hopefully feel good.”
A year ago, the Sweden native was having a breakout season (11 goals in 30 games) when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had some ribs removed and underwent grueling chemotherapy sessions before returning to the team and playing two games in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Three Flyers — Ian Laperriere in 2010, Tim Kerr in 1989, and Bobby Clarke in 1972 — have won the Masterton. The award is named after the Minnesota North Stars’ Bill Masterton, the only player to die from injuries suffered during an NHL game. Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968, two days after he was checked by an Oakland Seals player and hit his helmet-less head on the ice. He was 29.
As for Dumba, he has sparked several community initiatives and cofounded the Hockey Diversity Alliance. He has spoken out against racism and intolerance in hockey.
Marleau, 41, overtook Gordie Howe for the most regular-season games played in NHL history and later became the fourth player to play in 900 straight games. He broke Howe’s mark when he played in his 1,768th career game on April 19 in Vegas.
In a strange twist, goalie prospect Felix Sandstrom, a pending restricted free agent, signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Flyers on Tuesday for $750,000. A day earlier, a Finland team reported it had signed Sandstrom to a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.
General manager Chuck Fletcher said those reports were erroneous.
Sandstrom, 24, is expected to be the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ No. 1 goalie next season. In all likelihood, he will also be the goalie the Flyers expose to Seattle in the expansion draft. Each team must expose one goalie.
Last season, Sandstrom was 5-3-3 with the AHL’s Phantoms, compiling a 3.19 GAA and .903 save percentage. In his last six starts, he had a 2.02 GAA and a .943 save percentage.