Top 10 Swedish Players in the NHL: 2020

Sweden has been a hockey factor for decades. It produces quality NHLer after quality NHLer. 

Currently Sweden is producing amazing NHL defensemen with several of them represented on this list. I am not sure what is happening in their development program, but every other country should try to copy whatever they are doing. 

Don’t worry there are some high-end scores on the list as well.

Enjoy the Top 10 list and pay attention to the depth of notables that didn’t quite make it – Sweden makes amazing hockey players. 

1) Erik Karlsson

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He is the best offensive defensemen the NHL has seen in decades. He has won the Norris Trophy as the league’s best defensemen twice and has scored over 70 points in a season 4 times –  in today’s NHL that is amazing. 

What makes Karlsson so good? He controls the whole play when he is on the ice. He is working as a quarterback of his team the whole time. He has an amazing ability to get the puck and either skate it up the ice to make a play or make an amazing pace to set a team up for a breakout, 

2) Victor Hedman

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Victor Hedman has won the Norris Trophy once as the league’s best defensemen. And, by the end of his career he will probably have won it number a few times more. He is the defensemen that ever team covets – big, can play a ton of minutes, can play in all situations, scores, defends. In other words, he can do it all. 

He is the best defensemen on the league’s best team. If he was in a larger media center you would hear more about him. If I had one defensemen to build my team around in the NHL, he would be the one.  

3) Elias Petterson

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Wow. Petterson has high-end skill. He came into the league highly regarded and did not disappoint winning the 2018-19 Calder trophy as the top rookie. He scored 66 points in his rookie year, and in his second year is already a point-per-game player. 

His passing, shooting, and hockey IQ are off-the-charts. When he has the puck, it seems like it is impossible for the defence to get the puck off him.

In a couple of years he will be at the top of this list. 

4) Elias Lindholm

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Lindholm is not as well known as some of the other players on this list, but that does not mean he does not belong, or belong this high. In the 2018-19 season Lindholm broke out in a huge way with 27 goals and 51 assists. 

However, the best thing about Lindholm is not his offensive game, but that heis truly a 200 foot player. He has already started to receive votes for the Selke, which is for the games best defensive forward. He is going to win one of these before his career is over.

On the Calgary Flames he is called the fixer, because whatever line they put him on he fixes the problems and makes the line run like it should. 

5) Nicklas Backstrom

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Backstrom is a future Hall of Famer. He is in the twilight of his career, but that doesn’t mean that he is still not effective. He is still a #1 center in this league, and continues to produce at a high offensive clip. 

He has always impressed with his passing ability. Ovechkin gets to score goals, because he has Nicklas Backstrom passing the puck to him. He has been one of my favourite players to watch over the past decade. 

6) Henrik Lundqvist

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King Henrik. He is in the twilight of his career, but is still so highly regard within the NHL. He has been the backbone of the New York Rangers for the past decade, and is the face of the franchise. 

He has been the most consistent and high-end goaltender in the NHL. He plays a lot, he plays well, and he is extremely hard to score against. 

He is the prototypical goalie that gives his team a chance to win every night. (And, he is often voted best dressed player in the NHL).

7) Filip Forsberg

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Forsberg’s shot is amazing. Forsberg has a unique ability to be able to shoot the puck with both hands up high on the stick and get the puck off quickly and accurately. This has a great ability to deceive the goaltender. 

Forsberg has used this shot, amongst other skills, to score a bunch of goals in the NHL. Look for Forsberg to be around the 30 goal mark every year. 

8) Mika Zibanejad

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Zibanejad has propelled his game to become a number one center since being traded to the New York Rangers. Zibanejad started out with the Ottawa Senators, and always had high-end potential, but did not take it to the next level until he come to the Rangers. 

Zibanejad has been scoring at a point-per-game pace, which puts him in the Top 20 in scoring, and has become a dynamic force in the league. 

9) Rasmus Dahlin

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He was taken first overall at the 2018 NHL entry draft. Now defensemen take longer to develop than other players, but Dahlin is already phenomenal and he is still a teenager. He is going to be dominant in a few years.

Team Sweden will one day have a blueline with Hedman and Dahlin as their first pair. Will any team be able to score against them? 

Dahlin could be as dominant as Chris Pronger used to be (maybe not as mean), and may even one day be in the conversation for a Hart trophy as the league’s most valuable player. 

10) Oliver Ekman-Larsson

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If he played for a team other than the Arizona Coyotes he would be much more of a household name in the hockey world. All Ekman-Larsson does is play 30 minutes a night and bring stability to his team that allows the sum of the parts to be better than the individuals. 

Ekman-Larsson is not going to win any awards, but he has been one of the Top 10 defensemen in the league for the past decade. 

Honourable Mentions: Victor Olofsson, Gustav Nyquist, Jakob Silverberg, Andre Burakovsky, Oscar Klefbom, Calle Jarnkrok, Richard Rakell, John Klingberg, Hampus Lindholm, Jacob Markstrom, Robin Lehner, William Karlsson, William Nylander

Honourable Mentions: Victor Olofsson, Gustav Nyquist, Jakob Silverberg, Andre Burakovsky, Oscar Klefbom, Calle Jarnkrok, Richard Rakell, John Klingberg, Hampus Lindholm, Jacob Markstrom, Robin Lehner, William Karlsson, William Nylander

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