DENVER - When the Flyers selected left winger Oskar Lindblom in the fifth round last June, scouting director Chris Pryor believed he may have been the steal of the draft.
Six months later, it doesn't look like Pryor was exaggerating.
With each game in the World Junior Championships, it looks like the Flyers struck gold when they selected Lindblom 138th overall in the 2014 draft.
On Wednesday, Lindblom had a hat trick as Sweden defeated Switzerland, 5-1, in a Group B preliminary-round game at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Sweden finished the opening round with a 4-0 record.
The three goals gave the 18-year-old Lindblom seven points, which is tied for the lead in the tournament.
"It's only one tournament, so you have to keep it in perspective, but we're happy with his growth," GM Ron Hextall said before watching the Flyers' game in Denver on Wednesday.
Hextall will head to the WJC on Thursday and join Pryor at the tourney.
"He's around the puck a lot and seems to have a knack for being at the right place att he right time," Hextall said."His bread and butter is probably from the top of the circles down, and he's good in the corners, good around the net."
After the Flyers drafted Lindblom, Pryor said he was surprised he was still available.
"I think if you were to look at it, and we were to have a conversation last summer with him, there were predictions that he could have been a late first-, early second-round pick," Pryor said at the time. "He had a really good tournament with the Under 17's last year, and for whatever reason it happens, he slipped a little bit this year. We were on him from day 1; we've seen him a lot this year; he's got a big body, a lot of skill.
"From the blue line in, he's really good. Like I said, he could have been an easy early second-(round) pick, and we didn't think he'd be there when we picked him."
Lindblom is regarded as a strong skater who likes to set up camp in front of the net. In the summer, he said he would like to reach the NHL in two years.
The kid doesn't lack confidence.
"Time will tell," Hextall said. "Confidence is a good thing."
After the WJC, Lindblom will return to Brynäs IF Gävle in the Swedish Hockey League. As for next year, Lindblom may go back to Europe, and there's an outside chance he could play in the AHL, depending on how much he develops the reat of this season.
Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.