Left winger Oskar Lindblom on Tuesday night became the fourth player in the Flyers’ history to win the Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
Lindblom, 24, played his first full season since beating Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.
“I feel very humbled and honored to win this award,” Lindblom said. “...It’s very special for me. Just to be able to get back on the ice again was so, so good.”
He thanked his family, his girlfriend, his teammates and the organization, “and especially the doctors and nurses who have been helping me along the way. And everyone else who has been with me the whole way.”
“Oskar,” general manager Chuck Fletcher said, “is a young man who continues to impress us with his level of commitment and character.”
Three other Flyers – Ian Laperriere in 2011, Tim Kerr in 1989, and Bobby Clarke in 1972 – have won the Masterton.
Besides Lindblom, Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba and San Jose center Patrick Marleau were this year’s Masterton finalists. Bobby Ryan, the Cherry Hill native, was last year’s winner.
Lindblom was having a career season (11 goals in 30 games) when he was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2019. The Flyers dedicated the rest of the season to him, and Lindblom had some ribs removed and underwent chemotherapy sessions before returning to the team and playing two games in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
This season, he played in 50 of the 56 games and collected 14 points (eight goals, six assists) while averaging 13 minutes, 11 seconds of ice time per game. He had a difficult time regaining his stamina during a season that was interrupted after he contracted the coronavirus.
He said his energy went “up and down every day,” and that “you can feel great one day, and another day you feel like you haven’t played hockey in a while.”
He is optimistic that a longer offseason will help him regain his energy for the 2021-22 season.
The Sweden native was saluted this year before a 1-0 overtime loss against the visiting Islanders on April 18 on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. The Flyers all wore No. 23 purple jerseys – Lindblom’s number—in pregame warm-ups.
“Something I envy about Oskar is how he goes about his business day to day,” teammate Joel Farabee said at the time. “He’s always got a smile on his face. Good or bad days, he’s always the same person. It’s something I admire about him. He’s going to be a great leader one day for us.”
Some might say that he already is.