Nov 272013

Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Markus Naslund, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: National Post

With only a few months before NHL hockey stops and Olympic hockey begins, predictions are a plenty on which players will be playing in Sochi on their respective national teams and who will be left behind to cheer. The Crosbys and Ovechkins are locked into place but others like Matt Duchene and Jamie Benn are making a push for a roster spot. The Vancouver Canucks are, traditionally, a big part of Olympic hockey with many European (cough!-Swedish) players participating. This year should be no different with a handful of Canuck players from around the world making a case for themselves with solid play.

As so discreetly mentioned above, Swedes are often the main ingredient for a successful Canuck recipe. Here we take a look back at some of the all-time great meatball-loving, IKEA- shopping Canucks.

Here are the top 5 Swedish Canucks of all time:

5) Mattias Ohlund - Picked by the Canucks in the first round of the 1994 draft , Mattias Ohlund was with the Canucks organization until the 2008-2009 NHL season. A quiet man who played a solid two-way game, Ohlund was reliable and pitched in with offense when needed, like this PP marker  in a game against Toronto.

4) Thomas Gradin - The player whose name all Canuck fans know, but who’s face most couldn’t pick out of a crowd, Gradin is one of the more offensively skilled players in Nuck history. He played 613 games and put up a respectable 550 points for a point-per-game average that is second only to Pavel Bure in terms of Canuck statistics.  He was also a crucial cog in the cup run of 82′amassing 19 points in 17 games.

3) Markus Naslund - In his prime one of the most dominant players in the league, Naslund was the prototype sniper in the early part of the 2000′s. If not for his arch-rival and compatriot Peter Forsberg, Naslund would have surely garnered a Hart Trophy. The third leading scorer in Canuck history and long-time captain, Naslund put up an impressive 346 goals for the Canucks-still a franchise record.

2) Daniel Sedin - One of the most consistent goal-scorers in Canuck history, Daniel is one of two Canuck players ( the other being his twin brother) to win the Art Ross Trophy. Daniel is the second highest scorer in Canuck franchise history and has an endless supply of highlight reel plays including this one against Calgary which should be considered one of the greatest goals of the past decade.

1) Henrik Sedin - The only Canuck in history to win the Hart Trophy, Henrik has numerous Canuck records including the highest single season point total with 112. Henrik has led the NHL in assists numerous times and is well-known as one of the most gifted passers in the league today. Both Henrik and Daniel are likely to get Hall of Fame recognition by the time their career is over and will certainly see their jerseys rise to the rafters.

Jan 052011

The Canucks announced this morning that Thomas Gradin will be the 3rd inductee into their Ring of Honour.

One of Vancouver’s first European-born players, Gradin played eight of his nine NHL seasons in a Vancouver Canucks uniform from 1978.79 to 1985.86. He finished second in scoring in his rookie season, recording 51 points (20-31-51) in 76 regular season games played. During his rookie postseason, he led all Canucks skaters in scoring with five points (4-1-5) in three playoff games played. He left Vancouver as the highest scoring centreman in franchise history with 550 points (197-353-550) in 613 regular season games and 38 points (17-21-38) in 38 playoff games played for the Canucks.

Gradin led the Canucks in scoring twice, from 1980-1982 and was named an NHL All-Star in 1985. He helped Vancouver to its first ever Stanley Cup Final appearance in 1982 when he registered a team-high 19 points (9-10-19) in 17 playoff games played. In Vancouver’s first Stanley Cup Final game versus the New York Islanders, Gradin tied a franchise record for most points in a playoff game when he registered three points (2-1-3) in a 6-5 loss.

During his time as a member of the Canucks, the Solleftea, Sweden, native set a number of franchise records. In 1981.82 he became the first Canucks player to register 80 points in a single season, finishing the year with 86 points (37-49-86). He became the Canucks all-time leading scorer with his 408th point, Jan. 4/84, passing former leading scorer Don Lever, and on Mar. 8/85 became the first member of the Canucks to register 500 NHL points.

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