While we patiently look forward to the start of the postseason, today we’ll take another look back at some of the best Europeans to suit up for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Previously, we covered Finland. Now we hop across the Gulf of Bothnia to their neighbors:
Sweden is a Scandinavian country of over 10 million beautiful people. They’re known for their furniture, meatballs, and...lederhosen?
Swedish hockey has a long history of success, dating back to their first major tournament appearances in 1920. They’ve won nine Olympic medals (two gold) and 11 IIHF World Championships (including back-to-back in 2017 and 2018). Their women’s team is the only one besides USA and Canada to compete in the gold medal game in the six women’s Olympic hockey tournaments (silver medal, 2006.
Top Three Swedes in Blue Jackets History
Bronze Medal: Fredrik Modin
Stats: 176 GP, 39 G, 46 A, 85 P, 51.2 CF%, 17:35 TOI
The left winger made a big impression in his first season after being acquired in the Marc Denis trade in 2006. That year he had 22 goals and 20 assists. He trailed only Rick Nash in goals that year, and only Nash and David Vyborny in total points. Injuries limited him to just 97 games over the next two and a half seasons, but he did contribute one goal in the 2009 playoffs. After retiring from the NHL in 2011, he chose to settle with his family in Columbus and at one point worked for the team as a special assistant.
Silver Medal: Alexander Wennberg
Stats: 415 GP, 40 G, 161 A, 201 P, 50.9 CF%, 16:38 TOI
/ducks from the rotten fruit thrown at me
HEY! Hear me out. Despite his inconsistent play over the last two seasons, Wennberg stands out as by far the longest tenured Swede in franchise history. He is fifth all time in assists, behind Nash, Vyborny, Nick Foligno, and Cam Atkinson (in fewer games than those players) and eighth in points. The highlight of his career was his breakout season as the first line center in 2016-17. As the Jackets rolled to 50 wins, Wennberg tallied 13 goals and 46 assists. Two goals and 21 assists came with the man advantage.
Gold Medal: Kristian Huselius
189 GP, 58 G, 84 A, 142 P, 52.3 CF%, 18:24 TOI
The winger’s star didn’t burn long but it burned bright while he was in Columbus. He signed as a free agent in 2008 and helped lead the team to its first playoff appearance. That year his 21 goals trailed only Nash and R.J. Umberger, while his 35 assists were second to Nash’s 39. He added a goal and assist in the 2009 playoffs. Even though the team regressed the following season, Huselius continued to thrive with 23 goals and 40 assists, the latter leading the team.
William Karlsson was an energetic bottom six center and fan favorite for two seasons, but his 16 goals in 165 games did not suggest he would explode as he has in Vegas, with 43 goals in their expansion season and 180 points in 227 games over the last three seasons.
Another bottom six center was Samuel Pahlsson, who was the second longest tenured Swede in team history, playing 222 games in three seasons.
Gustav Nyquist will likely always be remembered as a Detroit Red Wing, but he hopes to prove he has plenty left in the tank in Columbus. His first season was a good start: he played all 70 games and trailed only Pierre-Luc Dubois in total points (15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points to Dubois’s 49).
Another stand-out this season is rookie winger Emil Bemstrom, who scored 10 goals and 10 assists. Seven goals (3 on the power play) and 11 points came in the final 28 games of the season after returning from injury.
The rest, aka “Let’s remember some guys”
Mattias Timander (D, 154 games from 2000-02); Anders Eriksson (D, 145 games from 2003-07); Anton Stralman (D, 124 games from 2009-11); Christian Backman (D, 56 games in 2008-09); Tim Erixon (D, 52 games from 2013-15); Joakim Lindstrom (RW, 37 games from 2005-08); Jakob Lilja (LW, 37 games in 2019-20); Kevin Stenlund (C, 36 games from 2018-present); Gabriel Carlsson (D, 23 games from 2017 to present); Dick Tarnstrom (D, 19 games in 2007-08); Anton Forsberg (G, 10 games from 2014-2017).
(thanks to commenter “cbjcbj” for suggesting this section)
Marcus Karlberg (RW, 2018 draftee); Eric Hjorth (D, 2019 draftee)
Who is your favorite Swede?
This poll is closed
Other (answer in the comments)