Realistic Expectations for Nolan Patrick & Oskar Lindblom
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
There is so much to get hyped for heading into the Philadelphia Flyers’ 2017-18 season. It’s expected that some of the key prospects are going to take a big step forward in their respective development. While not a guarantee, it’s safe to say that both Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom will make the Flyers’ roster out of camp this year. Both prized prospects carry a lot of hype, but what should we really expect from them during their rookie campaigns?
I should start by looking at the team around them first. With the Flyers still in the middle of the transition years from old to new, things may still be a garbled mess this season. With Brayden Schenn, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Chris VandeVelde gone and guys like Jordan Weal and Travis Konecny looking to get more ice time, the roster has nowhere to go but up. The roster still has some depth issues for sure, but there is enough talent that both Lindblom and Patrick will be playing with good company.
Lindblom may be the more interesting option of the two. With only eight games of AHL experience under his belt (in which he has two goals and seven points) it may take him a little while to adjust to the North American game. Lindblom brings something to the Flyers that is desperately needed, speed and most importantly goal scoring.
Scoring has been something of a bugaboo for the Flyers for the past few seasons and that is something both guys should be able to chip in.
Patrick, on the other hand, is a more complete player. Ranked the number one North American skater heading into the draft, he fell into the laps of the Flyers at second. Despite some injury concerns, Patrick should be ready to go by the start of the season. His two-way game is more pronounced than Lindblom, and there should be less time adjusting to the NHL level of play.
A pro for both players is their size. Both are 6′-2″ and hovering around 200 lbs, making them some of the biggest forwards on the team.
Chances are the pair will have their ups and downs, much like Konecny and Ivan Provorov before them. The best part is they both fill major holes in the Flyers lineup and should make an immediate impact. Without knowing who their linemates are just yet, conjecture is that both have the potential to be 20-goal scorers in their rookie year.
As long as both are handled right by a certain head coach, their upside is huge. While neither may be ready for a top line role out of the gate, they will both linger in the middle six as Patrick will compete with Sean Couturier for the second line center role, and Lindblom looks to take the second line left-wing spot from Konecny.
All in all, both players have a bright future and should be just fine in their rookie season. The two fill gaping holes in the Flyers’ lines perfectly and with huge offensive upside and an improving team around them, the sky is the limit for the pair as the youth movement gets going full speed ahead in Philadelphia.
Image Credit: (Patrick)- thedraftanalyst.com/(Lindblom) zimbio.com