During the 2021-22 National Hockey League (NHL) season, a writer at The Hockey Writers tackled a complex list of who are the best Sweden-born players in the league. Historically, the country ranks among the best in international hockey, with a couple of Olympic gold medals and a boatload of World Championships.
Presently, seven Swedish players are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, with a few more on the path to immortality. Current stars like Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning), Niklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals), and Gabriel Landeskog (Colorado Avalanche) have the skill set to earn recognition; however, their enshrinement will eventually come down to the voting committee.
Although these three are considered the best Swedish players of their generation, this season has not been kind to the group. Backstrom recently returned from off-season surgery, while Hedman has had a subpar year based on his previous accomplishments. Additionally, Landeskog has yet to skate since winning the Stanley Cup in the spring. Moreover, these three are not currently ranked among the country’s best players because a new wave of talent has taken over the scoring charts.
Instead of making a list of Sweden’s most distinguished players, we tackled the topic based on their 2022-23 numbers. Realistically, a handful of tenured players with solid resumes should be on the list; however, they were excluded for statistical purposes. Sadly, some of them are having down years resulting in a bunch of new players picking up the country’s banner this season.
Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators continue to be a threat in the Western Conference, pushing for their ninth consecutive playoff appearance. Coincidently, one of the players who has been there for the entire ride has been star center Filip Forsberg.
The native of Ostervala, Sweden, was a first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2012 Entry Draft and is a constant threat to score at least 20 goals a year. Furthermore, since earning a full-time roster spot in 2014-15, he’s been a staple in the lineup and powerplay, resulting in a career-high 41 goals in 2021-22.
Thus far this season, Forsberg is leading his team in scoring (again) with 18 goals, 21 assists, 39 points, and 13 powerplay points. Furthermore, he ranks sixth among Sweden’s goal scorers and eighth in points. Additionally, Forsberg does all his damage in just 17:45 of ice time, one of the lower numbers…