With a record 46 Swedes in the National Hockey League, it might be time to start a Top Swede contest, awarded each year to the highest-scoring Swedish player in the league.
by Chipp Reid
Right now, that player would be Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.
Sedin centers a line that includes his twin brother, Daniel, and fellow Swede Mikael Samuelsson. As of Dec. 21, not only was he the top scoring Swede but his 44 points from 15 goals and 29 assists was good for third overall in the NHL.
Henrik Sedin trails only San Jose star Joe Thornton and New York Rangers winger Marian Gaborik.
The Sedin line is also the highest scoring Swedish line in the NHL. Daniel Sedin, No. 10 on the Swedish list, has 7 goals and 13 assists while Samuelsson has 10 goals and 12 assists. Samuelsson is the ninth-leading Swedish scorer.
Henrik Sedin is also the top Swedish goal scorer in the NHL.
Washington Capitals center Niklas Bäckström is the No. 2 scoring Swede in the league, racking up 39 points in 33 games on 11 goals and 28 assists.
Loui Eriksson is the third ranking Swedish scorer. The former Västra Frölunda left wing now plays for the Dallas Stars where he has 32 points from 11 goals and 21 assists.
Henrik Zetterberg of the vaunted Swedish line for the Detroit Redwings is fourth among Swedes, with 10 goals and 22 assists in 34 games. Daniel Alfredsson from Ottawa is fifth with 31 points on nine goals and 22 assists.
Tobias Enström of the Atlanta Thrashers is the sixth-highest scoring Swede and tops among Swedish defensemen with 27 points from three goals and 24 assists. Calgary Flames winger Kristian Huselius is No. 7 with 24 points from 11 goals and 13 assists while NIklas Bergfors of the New Jersey Devils is No. 8 with 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points.
Tomas Holmström, 11th overall in scoring among Swedes, is the No. 2 Swedish goal scorer. “Homer,” who is one of seven Swedes playing for Detroit, had 13 goals and six assists in 35 games.
Vancouver defenseman Alexander Edler is the No. 2 scoring Swedish defenseman with two goals and 17 assists in 30 games.
Detroit and Vancouver share the honors as the most Swedish players in the league, Detroit with its seven Tre Kronor while Vancouver has five. Detroit, however, is missing Johan Franzen, who tore the ACL in his right knee after just three games and will likely miss the remainder of the season. Franzén had two points—one goal and one assist—in three games before his injury.
Redwings defenseman and captain Niklas Lidström and linemate Niklas Kronwall are the top scoring defensive tandem among Swedes, combining for 26 points. Kronwall has five goals and eight assists while Lidström has one goal and 12 assists.
As for the Swede making the biggest impact statistically, it could well be Fabian Brunnström of the Dallas Stars. The former Färjestad star has just one goal and six assists in 22 games but is perfect in taking face offs. According to stats on NHL.com, Brunnström has won every face off he has taken.
Among goalies, New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist is far and away the leader. “King Henrik” has 14 wins in 30 starts for the Broadway Blues and a .920 save percentage.
Johan Hedberg of Atlanta is second with nine wins in 16 starts and a .927 save percentage.
Sweden is tied with the Czech Republic at No. 3 for having 46 Swedish players. The U.S. is second with 166 while Canada tops the list with 460.