By Bob Crawford
The Hartford Wolf Pack certainly didn’t coddle Swedish centerman Oscar Lindberg in his first North American pro hockey experience.
The 22-year-old Lindberg was installed as the Wolf Pack’s number-one pivot from the first drop of the puck this season, and the Pack coaching staff continued to count on him in that spot throughout the club’s first-half struggles.
Lindberg, who came to the AHL this year with 178 games of experience in Sweden’s top league over four seasons certainly did not wilt under the responsibility of that assignment. He displayed a strong and consistent work ethic, and showed flashes of explosiveness offensively, scoring seven goals and adding ten assists for 17 points in the season’s first 35 games.
Since mid-January, however, when the Ranger organization acquired veteran center T.J. Hensick off of AHL waivers and top-drawer prospect J.T. Miller, also a centerman, returned from a stint in the NHL, Lindberg’s offensive production has taken off. Starting January 12, Lindberg reeled off a run in which he had at least a point in eight out of ten games, totaling six goals and seven assists for 13 points, including a five-game point-scoring streak that featured five goals and nine points.
According to Wolf Pack head coach Ken Gernander, the Wolf Pack’s newfound depth in the middle was a key to Lindberg’s unlocking his offensive potential.
“It’s a pretty important position, and for a large part of the season he was our really only one bona fide center,” Gernander said this week. “And now that we have three, you can spread the workload around a little bit, it doesn’t enable the opposition to check his line on such a regular basis. And with a couple of extra players, we now have a full complement of lines we’re comfortable with, and everybody can kind of complement one another.”no comments