Oskar Lindblom, cancer survivor, said his goal is to be ready for the season opener Jan. 13 against the Penguins at the Wells Fargo Center.
He is also embracing the fact he is a role model “for something good.”
The Flyers’ left winger was limited to 30 regular-season games last season after being diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. He returned and played in the Flyers’ final two playoff games in September.
“I had a good offseason at home,” the Sweden native said after the first day of training camp Monday in Voorhees. “I worked out and skated a lot. Just trying to be as good as I can here at the start of camp. My goal is to start playing in the first game. The coaches will decide if I play or not, so we’ll see.”
Lindblom, 24, said there was a “big difference” in how he feels now, compared to when he returned and played in the playoffs against the Islanders following chemotherapy treatments. His weight has almost returned to what it was (191 pounds) before he was diagnosed 13 months ago.
“I only had like two weeks to work out with the team at that point,” he recalled. “Now I’ve been home for a couple months and I’ve been able to skate and work out, so it’s been a big difference. I feel more powerful, and I feel like I have more energy in my body, too.”
Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said Lindblom has been working out in Voorhees for a while and looked in great shape. He said Lindblom, who was on a line with Morgan Frost and Jake Voracek on Monday, was “really anxious for a full season with his teammates.”
Referring to his comeback, Lindblom said he wants to be “a spokesperson for something good. I know some people are in the same spot I was, so I’m just trying to help people and try to cheer them up and do the best I can.”
At the time he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, Lindblom shared the team lead with 11 goals.
“I want to be better than I was at that point,” he said. “I push myself pretty hard and put pressure on myself. It could take a while, but I want to be at that spot right away. I want to help the team win games.”
Asked about the most significant change in his life since the diagnosis, Lindblom said: “Just that thought that your life can change. Live your life every day. Enjoy what you can.”
Saying it was his “sensitive moment of the season,” Vigneault explained that he talked to general manager Chuck Fletcher and told him he would like big right winger Tyson Foerster, the team’s first-round pick in the latest draft, to attend camp. Fletcher complied.
On Monday, Foerster, who turns 19 on Jan. 18, was on a line with former first-round picks James van Riemsdyk and Sean Couturier.
Because of the virtual draft, Foerster “never got to come out on the stage with all of us, put on his Flyer jersey and take a team picture with the group,” Vigneault said, adding it was great to have Foerster on a line with two former first-round picks “that were on that stage” when they were drafted.