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Lindblom of Flyers near end of cancer treatments, return still unknown

Forward could begin training soon; Patrick may not be ready when season resumes

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Oskar Lindblom is nearing the end of his treatments for a form of bone cancer, but it remains unknown when the Philadelphia Flyers forward will be able to resume his NHL career.

The Flyers announced Dec. 13 that Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and would not play again this season, which was paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus. Lindblom has been receiving treatment at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

"He's going to have his last round of treatments here coming up," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said Tuesday. "He'll be checked out and he'll be able to start training and building back up again. It's amazing; he's a warrior, this kid. Don't think he's lost much weight at all. He's trying to work out as soon as treatments are over. It's been tough on him but he's a young guy, he wants to play as soon as possible. I have no idea what that means or what's realistic, but the treatments, according to our medical staff, have gone as well or better than we could have expected.

"He has to build up strength and stamina, make sure he's healthy, and with the pandemic going on he's got to be extra cautious because his (immune) system is shot. But I'm grateful there's a possibly he can play again. He's a young guy that's going to be a tremendous player if he can come back for us."

Flyers forward Nolan Patrick, who has not played all season because of a migraine disorder, has returned to his native Winnipeg and is still receiving treatment. Flahr said he was hopeful the unexpected time off could be beneficial to Patrick, but there's no guarantee he'd be ready to help the Flyers when the season does return.

"I think he's started to feel better," Flahr said. "He's not going to be perfect until you get in there with contact, all those things, but whenever he gets to that point, gets in there, he's got to work on his conditioning and pace, get everything up to NHL speed. But just getting him out there feeling good about himself, those practices before the break were real positive for him mentally.

"To be around the guys again, hopefully that's the start. I don't know if it's realistic that he'll be back when this thing's over or next season. Just want to make sure he's healthy going forward and puts that behind him."

Lindblom and Patrick can each become a restricted free agent after the season. Flahr said there has been no significant contract talks with either player.

"We've spoke to both agents, but both guys are going to be here for a long time," he said. "At this point, there hasn't been any strong negotiations. We'll get there. We've got to find out a lot of details as far as what the (salary) cap is going to be and what we have to deal with before we start going too far down the road with contracts."

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