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Oscar Lindberg having a breakout year

Not known for scoring, Oscar Lindberg is having a breakout season in Sweden.
Image Source: Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America

When the Rangers traded Ethan Werek for little known second round pick Oscar Lindberg, we knew the Rangers were trading some raw offensive talent for a more polished defensive talent who can win face offs. The trade itself was tough to analyze, but it looks like Glen Sather knew what he was doing when he targeted the young Swede.

Known defensive prowess and his ability in the face off circle (~60% success rate), Lindberg was never considered to be a true offensive talent. It was widely speculated that his play without the puck –specifically his face off skill– would be his path to the NHL.

My what a difference a hot start makes.

After 11 games in the SEL, Lindberg is top five in scoring, averaging a point-per-game with four goals and seven assists to go with ten PIMs and a +5 rating. This new-found offense while playing on the first line has not come at the expense of his defensive ability. As a result, Lindberg has found himself playing on his club’s top line, top powerplay unit, and getting enormous amounts of critical ice time.

The focus in Sweden has been on Jesper Fast, as he is definitely the more flashy and offensively skilled forward, but Lindberg’s offensive outburst has vaulted him to the forefront of Swedish prospects primed to play in North America next year.

Two of the biggest holes on the Rangers that were exploited last season was bottom-six depth and face off effectiveness. Lindberg, should he continue to tear up the SEL, is a player that can fix both issues singlehandedly.

Lindberg inked an entry level contract in May, and will likely join Fast in North America next year.

6 Responses to “Oscar Lindberg having a breakout year”

  1. Walt says:

    How sweet it is!!!!!!!

    If this kid is as good as he appears, guys like Boyle may be in trouble. The thing that I like about the Swedish players is that they all seem to play a good two way game, and are not afraid to get dirty. That can’t be said of the other European players.

    It’s funny, we are all looking at the kids on the Whale, and yet the two in Sweden are looking just as good. Man, it’s great having such a nice collection of youth, with skills, who will vie for roster positions.

    • Dave says:

      @Walt, I don’t think it’s Boyle that’s in trouble.

      I’ve said this about a billion times, but when Brian Boyle becomes this club’s 4th line center, it shows true depth. Right now he’s the third line center. Lindberg helps push Boyle to his proper role on the fourth line.

    • Chris says:

      @Walt, Sorry Walt but this thing about European players is such a cliché. Finnish players and Scandinavians generally are usually all strong blessed with strong work ethics. Swiss players work hard and even most Russians – who get unfairly labelled because of a small few – aren’t exactly work shy. When was the last time Datsyuk got accused of taking a shift off? Slovaks? all hard workers look at Chara etc…
      It’s lazy journalism when a media member goes on about euros…

      • Dave says:

        @Chris, you hit the nail on the head. These stereotypes are getting a bit old. But I think you missed the point of Walt’s post ;).

      • Walt says:

        @Chris,

        I think back to the purse carrying Rozavol, Jagr, and plenty others who where corner shy!

        All I was trying to say was the Swedish players are for the most part two way players who will go into the corners for the puck. Your on target when you say the Scandinavians have a good ethic, but what about Zirdev, Radilov, the Kosidian brothers, Lisen, etc. Pardon my spelling of these players, but you get my point.

  2. Jess says:

    Dave

    Unless Fast has an out clause in his current contract then he might not be heading to North America for another year.

    Fast signed a 2 year deal last spring before he signed a future deal with the Rangers.