Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday won the Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, on Dec. 10, 2019. At the time of his diagnosis, the forward had scored 18 points in 30 games and was tied with forward Travis Konecny for the Flyers lead with 11 goals. On July 2, 2020, Lindblom rang a ceremonial bell at Abramson Cancer Center at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to signify the end of his cancer treatments.
Two months later, he returned and played two games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Islanders.
"I've said this a couple hundred times, I feel like. Just try to be positive," Lindblom said Wednesday. "I'm trying to be positive every day. I think I've been positive through the whole chemo and the surgery that I did last year. So I'm trying to spread the good vibes around me and hopefully people can take that from me and really try to enjoy themselves even though they're not in a good spot for the moment.
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"I mean it's been up and down but like I said, just enjoying life. ... Spending time with my family again, seeing my grandparents that I haven't seen in like almost two years. So, I mean, just enjoying life and to be able to do whatever I want to, I feel energized again. So that's a big part of it and hockey-wise, same thing, I felt I got better at the end of the season, but I know I've got a lot more in me. So I've just got to keep pushing and get my stamina up and be able to work every day and to be able to play my game out there."
Philadelphia general manager Chuck Fletcher said, "Oskar is a young man that continues to impress us with his level of commitment and character. To go through what he went through and return to the team during our playoffs in the Toronto bubble showed an incredible amount of determination and courage. He followed that up by working extremely hard to prepare for a full season in which he had an immediate impact in our room and on the ice."
Lindblom, a finalist for the Masterton last season, scored 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 50 games this season and again was declared free of cancer following a scan in March. He is the fourth Flyers player to win the award (Bobby Clarke, 1972; Tim Kerr, 1989; Ian Laperriere, 2011).
Lindblom said the support he received from his teammates meant a lot to him.
"It's been huge," he said. "Like from the start, it gave me so much energy just to keep me pushing through. Especially the first couple of days it was tough for me to just try to soak it all in and see what you have in front of you. But just to have them there and supporting me every day and, like I said, giving me energy. That was huge for me just to have, like, my second family over in the U.S. That was great and I appreciate them so much for doing that for me as well."
The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, and the top three vote-getters -- Lindblom, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau -- were finalists. A $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.
"I feel very honored and proud to win this award and to compete with these type of players like Matt Dumba and Patrick Marleau that have been great players and great people on and off the ice," Lindblom said. "That's very special for me."
NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this report