This isn’t the first trip the Colorado Avalanche have made to Sweden. In 2001, the team was in Stockholm to take part in the NHL Challenge. The trip was cut short after one game, and the local hero was out with an injury.
Now, the Avalanche return. This time with a local captain leading the way and more Swedish players on the roster than at any point in franchise history.
Sweden has had as big an impact on the Avalanche as just about any other team in the NHL. The most talented player in franchise history is from Ornskoldsvik, the current captain is from Stockholm and four of the 50 Swedes in the NHL are currently on the Avalanche roster.
Now, let’s take a look at the nine different Swedish players that have put on a Colorado Avalanche jersey since 1995.
Peter Forsberg - Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
The one and only. Forsberg is without a doubt the most talented player to ever play for the Avalanche. Had the two-time Stanley Cup not had his career sidetracked by injuries, he would have likely gone down in history as one of the best NHLers of all time.
Avalanche Statistics - 544GP, 202G/503A/704P
NHL Statisitcs - 708GP/249G/636A/885P
Gabriel Landeskog - Stockholm, Sweden
The Avalanche captain has seemed downright giddy to be home this week. Playing in front of his hometown fans while wearing the C on the chest of Avalanche jersey has to be on of the highlights of his NHL career.
Landeskog came over to play his junior hockey in Canada and has been in North America since he was 16, but listening to him speak this week, it’s clear he is still very proud to be from Sweden. Landy has represented his country at the World Juniors, the Olympics and the World Cup.
He turns 25 in a few weeks, but Landeskog has already had a huge impact on the Avalanche franchise. He has the potential to be a top power forward in the NHL and the mental makeup to lead this team through the ongoing re-build.
Avalanche Statistics - 442GP/123G/166A/289P
International Statistics - 10GP/1G/2A/3P
Tommy Salo - Surahammar, Sweden
Tommy Salo had a long and illustrious career as a member of the Colorado Avalanche - a whole five games. After being traded to the Avs at the 2004 trade deadline, Salo finished out the season before returning to Sweden to play for MODO in the SEL.
Salo is somewhat of a legend for Sweden when it comes to international play. He won a gold medal in 1994 in his first of three Olympics and went on to represent Sweden at eight World Championships and two World Cups.
Unfortunately, with all the good he’s done for Sweden internationally, Salo is always going to be remembered for one bad moment.
Avalanche Statistics - 5GP/1-3-1/2.37GAA/.912 sv%
NHL Statistics - 526GP/2.55GAA/.905sv%
Daniel Tjarnqvist - Umea, Sweden
Another Swede that had only one season with the Avalanche before retiring from the NHL. Tjarnqvist played only 37 games with the Avs before he went to play for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the KHL.
The defenseman had some success with Sweden as he was a part of the 2006 gold medal winning team - where he was a teammate of Peter Forsberg.
He spent a short time on a bad Avalanche team, it’s easy to forget about Tjarnqvist.
Avalanche Statistics - 37GP/2G/2A/4P
NHL Statistics - 352GP/18G/72A/90P
Carl Soderberg - Malmo, Sweden
Another current member of the Avalanche, Soderberg is in Denver awaiting the birth of his second child while his teammates prepare to play in his home country. The team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of him returning to the team for the game on Friday, but as of right now he’s missing the trip - for a good reason.
Soderberg played his junior hockey in Sweden before coming over to join the Boston Bruins. In his third season with the Avs, Soderberg was also a teammate of Landeskog’s on Team Sweden at last year’s World Cup of Hockey.
Avalanche Statistics - 175GP/20G/51A/71P
NHL Statistics - 336GP/49G/116A/165P
Dennis Everberg - Vasteras, Sweden
A recent member of the Avalanche, Everberg spent more time in San Antonio that anywhere else. He played parts of two seasons with the Avs before returning to his home country to play in the SHL. His best year in North America came when he put up 40 points in 54 games with the Rampage.
He was a member of Team Sweden at last year’s World Championship.
Avalanche Statistics - 70/3G/9A/12P
Patrik Nemeth - Stockholm, Sweden
The newest member of this list, Nemeth joined the Avalanche this September after the team picked him up on waivers from the Dallas Stars. Nemeth has been a bit of a revelation so far this season as he has brought a calming defensive presence to a blueline that needed it.
He spent his developmental years in Sweden with AIK, and he represented his country at the World Juniors back in 2012 - winning a bronze medal.
Avalanche Statistics - 12GP/1G/5A/6P
NHL Statistics - 120GP/1G/19A/20P
Anton Lindholm - Skellefteå, Sweden
Another member of the current Avalanche blueline, Lindholm was off to a pretty good start to his rookie season until he suffered a broken jaw last week. We won’t see him on the ice with the Avs in Sweden, but hopefully, he is able to get back into the lineup sooner rather than later.
The 22-year old spent most of last season playing in the AHL with the Rampage after coming over from the Swedish Hockey League.
He was part of Team Sweden at the 20016 World Championship.
NHL Statistics - 9GP/0G/0A/0P
Joakim Lindstrom - Skellefteå, Sweden
You’re forgiven if you forgot that Joakim Lindstrom played for the Colorado Avalanche. The right-winger played all of 16 games in the 2011-12 season before moving back to Sweden to play for his hometown club Skellefteå AIK.
He returned to the NHL a couple years later playing for St. Louis and then the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lindstrom was a part of Team Sweden at two different World Championships as well as the World Juniors.
Avalanche Statistics - 16GP/2G/3A/5P
NHL Statistics - 150GP/19G/24A/43P