The Philadelphia Flyers have seen several young players make an impact so far this 2019-20 NHL season, but two bright faces have not been able to play a huge part this season.
Center Nolan Patrick and left winger Oskar Lindblom have been dealing with significant health issues this season, keeping them on the sidelines. Patrick has not played a minute this season as he deals with Chronic Migraine Syndrome while Lindblom was recently diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
In his midseason press conference on Tuesday, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher spoke about both players.
“I do expect him to play this year,” Fletcher said about Patrick. “He skated again today. He’s getting his heart rate up higher. I think he’s feeling a bit better. It’s hard to predict.”
“Once we have certain information, if he’s cleared for contact or anything like that, we obviously will let you guys know right away. I can just tell you from the on and off ice workouts he’s doing, he is progressing. There certainly isn’t any clear path as to which way this will go,” Fletcher said.
Patrick has increased his skating sessions with hopes of making an impact in the second-half of the NHL regular season. Although there remains no timetable for the 21-year-old to return to full-team practices, a stint with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms seems likely for Patrick to get back in the right direction.
Patrick has played in 145 games over two seasons with the Flyers, scoring 26 goals and registering 35 assists. His absence has seen Alain Vigneault use numerous options to help fill the void left by Patrick’s absence.
As for Lindblom, he is unlikely to return to the Flyers this season after recently beginning treatments for his illness. Despite registering only six points in 23 games during the 2017-18 season, Lindblom has since totaled 51 points over 111 combined appearances over the last season-and-a-half.
The 23-year-old remains a huge part of the team’s long-term plans pending everything goes well with his treatments.
“I hope so, yeah,” Fletcher said. “I pray to God for [him to play again], But, obviously, for him to return to play hockey, means he’s in a great spot in this battle so we’re just keeping our hopes up. I’m sure he’s got a lot of things on his mind right now, but if he’s playing hockey this time next year, that would be a great conclusion.”
“I wasn’t at the rink when he came by but I know everybody was excited to see him. Certainly, at some point, we’ll kind of leave it to Oskar and his camp [to discuss his situation in detail]. With this situation like this, when it’s your personal health and a non-hockey thing, you always want to be a little bit careful what you say, but you know the treatments are going and I know he’s got a great attitude. But it’s probably pretty early in the process to have that type of update. At some point, certainly, depending on what Oskar’s thoughts are, hopefully we can make that available.”
Lindblom had 11 goals and seven assists in 30 games this season, before being given the news about his condition. He last appeared for the Flyers on Dec. 7th in a 5-4 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators. Since then, Lindblom has been receiving outstanding support from his teammates, the rest of the Flyers organization, and NHL fans around the world.
The Flyers continue a busy stretch of games on Wednesday at the St. Louis Blues (8 p.m., NBCSN).