Oskar Lindblom is expected to be a full participant when the Philadelphia Flyers open training camp Jan. 3, and the hope is center Nolan Patrick also will be there.
“Oskar is fine,” coach Alain Vigneault said Monday. “He’s been skating, he’s been in Philly for quite some time and he’s good to go.”
The 24-year-old forward was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in December 2019. To mark the one-year anniversary, Lindblom recently posted on his Instagram account that his latest scans showed he is cancer free.
Lindblom scored 18 points (11 goals, seven assists) in 30 games last season prior to his diagnosis. He completed his cancer treatments July 2 and returned to the Flyers lineup Sept. 3, playing Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the New York Islanders.
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association formally reached agreement Sunday to play a 56-game regular season starting Jan. 13, 2021, and ending May 8.
Patrick did not play last season because of a migraine disorder but was able to practice occasionally. The 22-year-old center last played April 2, 2019.
“What I have been hearing lately, for quite some time, is that he is in a good place and that he is feeling better,” Vigneault said. “But just put yourself in his shoes, the anxiety and the stress of all this. Coming back, I want this to be as smooth and easy for him. It’s not something that has been easy for him to go through. There’s no doubt in my mind that he wants to be with this team. There’s a young man that’s played hockey all his life and I’m sure loves the game so he wants to get back at it. But first he’s got to be healthy and hopefully we get some good news come medicals. And right now all I’m hearing are good things about him skating, working out, and feeling good about himself.”
Patrick, chosen by Philadelphia with the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, scored 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 72 games in 2018-19, his second NHL season. He’s scored 61 points (26 goals, 35 assists) in 145 NHL games.
Vigneault said Patrick has been skating and working out at the Flyers practice facility for some time. If Patrick is healthy, he could have the inside track on starting the season as the third-line center.
“There’s no doubt, the few times that we did see him [at practice last season], you could tell that there’s a tremendous amount of potential there,” said Vigneault, who is entering his second season coaching Philadelphia. “I think we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that he is healthy, that he does pass his physical.”