New York Rangers prospect Oscar Lindberg has been nominated for the Guldpucken (Golden Puck) in Sweden. The award is given annually to Swedish hockey's best player as judged by the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and Expressen newspaper.
Lindberg joins HV71 goaltender Gustaf Wesslau, Linkoping forward Carl Soderberg, Frolunda captain Joel Lundqvist, Brynas' Red Wings prospect Calle Jarnkrok and Skelleftea team-mate Joacim Eriksson as finalists for an award previously won by Henrik Lundqvist, Henrik Zetterberg, Peter Forsberg and both Sedin twins.
Lindberg spoke briefly to Expressen about his nomination:
"It feels great to be a candidate for the Golden Puck, and I'm flattered. To be mentioned in this context makes you grow as a player. It's been good for me in the playoffs and we have done well as a team. I now look forward to a fantastic finale."
Saturday's nomination is another acknowledgement of Lindberg's fantastic season in Sweden and a timely boost heading in to Skelleftea's playoff final date with Lulea. As Lindberg alluded to in another quote, there are some great names on the Guldpucken winners list and he has a fine shot at taking the award home this year.
Lindberg has been Skelleftea's best forward during the post-season while other star names have struggled; his back-to-back overtime winners helped SAIK seal a 4-1 win over Linkoping en-route to the final. He's also contributed a healthy 60% at the face-off dot while scoring at over a PPG pace in the playoffs. He's making big plays at the right time and looks like a leader out there. I wouldn't be surprised to see him contend for the Stefan Liv Memorial Trophy if his team can build on their 2-0 final lead.
Incidentally, Lindberg was asked in a live chat Friday afternoon for his thoughts on playing alongside the likes of Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin next season. He said it was "a dream" to play for the Rangers, though he understandably isn't looking beyond the playoff final at this point.