Read: Oscar Lindberg Relishing Offensive Opportunity
Oscar Lindberg is far more than just a defense-first two-way forward, and he’s pleased to have the opportunity to show it this year.
I spoke with Lindberg earlier in the year about his excellent start to the season on the offensive side of the puck and the opportunities afforded him by Skelleftea coach Anders Forsberg this year.
“It’s fun to get the trust of the coaches and to get so much ice time when there are players who are injured. There is more responsibility, but I think I have handled it in a good way.”
Lindberg has spent time jumping between lines this season based on club need and body count, but he’s pleased with his contribution at both ends of the ice.
“I have played on various lines this season. Often I have played with Joakim Lindstrom and Jimmie Ericsson, and I think it has worked well. We have contributed much offensively.”
I asked Lindberg about another young Swede bound for New York in the near future. HV71′s Jesper Fasth, like Lindberg, signed an entry-level deal with the Rangers this summer, and I was curious to know if the two had spoken about the future at all.
“We have not talked a lot about what next year will be like, but it’s obviously nice to have another Swede in the same situation as myself. It will help a lot when I move over to the US.”
Blueshirt fans should be excited by Lindberg’s progress this season, but, after back-to-back playoff final defeats in Sweden, his sole focus at this point is on league glory with SAIK.
“I have not really thought very much about next year yet. All my focus right now is on Skelleftea, then we will see what happens next year.”
In an interview with Blueshirts United Gordie Clark said that Lindberg has been the Rangers prospect who has improved the most. Clark said that Lindberg was always a good defensive player but the offense he has added this season has turned him into a solid two-way player.
He has 10 goals and 16 assists this season and is tied for sixth in the SEL. Prior to this year he never had more than five goals in a season and 14 total points.
When ranking the Rangers top prospects, both Leslie Treff at Hockey’s Future and Corey Pronman at Puck Prospectus both ranked ranked Jesper Fasth in the top ten, but disagreed on which half of rankings he should reside.
Treff ranked Fasth fourth and wrote that he has excellent offensive skills and good speed. She adds that it isn’t impossible for Fast to make the Rangers next season.
Pronman ranks Fasth 8th and writes that he is “fast” and then when in top gear he is dangerous. In contrast to Treff, Pronman writes that Fasth’s offensive abilities aren’t that impressive and thinks he could be a “quality third line winger.”
Of the two, I am definitely more inclined to agree with Leslie Treff.
Fasth’s offensive upside is high, and his speed is certainly a big factor in that. The great thing about Jesper is that he is prepared to get his nose dirty too; he isn’t one dimensional on the offensive side of the puck and his play this season has shown that. He has been a solid contributor to the HV71 ranks this year with 15 points in 20 games, and it really is a shame that injury has derailed his head of steam somewhat. Personally I feel there is top-six potential there, but a possible third-line combination with Oscar Lindberg is something that intrigues me greatly too. I actually feel Lindberg has a better chance of cracking the Rangers roster next year given the varying dynamics that he offers on the ice, but Fasth should certainly be in John Tortorella’s thoughts come training camp. One plus point, despite his current shoulder injury, is that Fasth has shown no hangover from last year’s ankle surgery. That game-changing speed is still very much there, and I have no doubt that he will continue to build on a strong first half of the season upon his return to the line-up.
Expressen reports that Oscar Lindberg has suffered a likely concussion in today’s 7-3 Skellefteå win over Jesper Fasth’s HV71.
Lindberg was hit hard to the head by HV71′s Per Ledin late in the first period. Ledin was given a 2+10 penalty on the play and, after leaving the ice immediately, Lindberg did not return.
His participation in next week’s Karjala Cup tournament for Sweden is now unlikely.
Carl Hagelin Sparks Surging Sodertalje
Carl Hagelin is certainly enjoying his latest stint with former club Sodertalje.
The Rangers winger has five goals and six assists in just seven games for the Allsvenskan club this season. Perhaps more telling though, is the team’s on-ice improvement with the speedy winger in tow. Sodertalje have won six of the seven games Hagelin has played in, a run that has seen them push north toward the playoff spots after a slow start to their 2012-13 campaign.
Hagelin has formed a quick bond with Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Read, a combination that has proved decisive for Sodertalje this season. One of the biggest plus points to Hagelin’s play thus far has been the manner in which he has scored his goals. He’s hit the empty net, fired home from close range, and tallied on the breakaway. He’s getting involved physically too, winning key board battles and taking the body in open ice.
The lockout may not be ideal, but for now Hagelin’s making the best of a bad situation.
CLICK HERE for a section dedicated to Hagelin playing in Sweden.
Rangers Trio Named To Swedish Karjala Cup Squad
Carl Hagelin, Oscar Lindberg and Jesper Fasth have all been named in Sweden’s squad for the upcoming Karjala Cup tournament today. The full international call-ups are a first for both Hagelin and Lindberg.
The Blueshirts trio have made fine starts to their club seasons in Sweden. Hagelin’s seven-game stint in Sodertajle has revitalised the Allsvenskan club, winners of six of those games. Lindberg and Fasth, meanwhile, have proved standouts in strong starts for Elitserien sides Skelleftea and league- leading HV71.
Sweden’s campaign begins against the Czech Republic in Liberec on November 7.
Why Oscar Lindberg Is Having A Strong Start
Through 16 games, Oscar Lindberg is tied for third in the Swedish Elite League with 8 goals and 9 assists.
Three of his goals have come on the power play and two have been game winners.
In speaking with Lindberg, he cited filling out his body more as a reason why he has had such a hot start, “It probably depends on several things, I have improved physically and I have also had a major role on the team. I got a good start this year and it has continued.”
As of yesterday Lindberg led the entire Swedish Elite League in shots with 58 and says that he hasn’t really changed his approach other than trying to get better “if you shoot a lot the chances are bigger that you make goals. My shots are something that I try to improve all the time in practice.”
Lindberg added that he enjoyed being being known as a strong two-way forward who is strong in the faceoff circle, but also understands that he has more to give on offense, “Obviously I want to develop my offensive game further. That’s something I feel I have lost a bit in recent years as I have been playing in a more defensive role. It’s fun to help with the offense.”