So the point I made about Henrik Tallinder in my roundtable contribution is kind of irrelevant… since the year he played in Sweden was during the lockout. After more efficient research, I have found two players currently playing in the NHL who have in their career had a short North American stint, returned to Sweden, and successfully made it [back] onto NHL ice.

  1. Tom Wandell played 56 North American games between the AHL and ECHL for the Stars organization in 2007-2008. The next season he missed just three games with Timra where he tallied a career best of 41 points and was nominated for Elitserien Rookie of the Year. The same year he played 14 games with the Stars and has been on the team ever since.
  2. Colorado center Joakim Lindstrom was drafted 41st overall in 2002 and played an entire season with Skelleftea just last year where he tallied the most points in the league. In previous years he had played with the Blue Jackets and the Coyotes where he played 44 games in 2008-2009. 

While these aren’t the two best or most well-known players out of Sweden, they are still skating proof of what could be of Ekholm (an now Zibanejad) in the coming seasons. Hopefully in the following months, they will be able to prove to their organizations that they deserve to give the NHL another shot.

My contribution to a PuckScene.com roundtable that will be posted tomorrow night.

"What effect will Mattias Ekholm’s return to Sweden have on his NHL career?"

Mattias Ekholm was the best young player in the entire Swedish Elite League last season… better than number four draft pick, Adam Larsson! And please note that 2010-2011 was Larsson’s second season in the league, but for Ekholm, it was his first. Trotz said that, “He wasn’t ready for the NHL,” and “… you have to be able to produce.” But if every guy on the team only had two games to prove he could produce, the entire Preds roster would be back in Sweden… err, theoretically. Sure, the Preds lost both games Ekholm started in, but he was only on the ice for one of those many (many) Vancouver goals. Should Swedish Rookie of the Year have swooped in to stop them all? 

I wish it worked out that Ekholm could get some time in Milwaukee to develop and get called up later in the season when a Preds d-man will undoubtedly make a visit to the IR. Even though that’s not the way it’s going to work out this year, I don’t think Ekholm’s NHL career is over. He was ecstatic to make the team and I think he’ll try hard to impress to try to make it back. He’s only 21. Henrik Tallinder played two games with Buffalo in 2001-2002, jumped ship after playing two partial seasons in the NHL and played a year in the Elite League before playing all 82 games with the Sabres in 2005-2006… at the age of 26. 

I’m still leaving the light on for Ekholm. He’ll be back.

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