This list of Swedish NHL players includes Hall of Fame names (and soon to be HoFers) like Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Lidstrom, Peter Forsberg, and Fredrik Olausson as well as some of the game's biggest NHL stars like Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Hederberg, Henrik Lundqvist, and Johan Franzen.
Ice hockey has been a popular sport in Sweden for more than 100 years. The Swedish National Team is known as 'Tre kronor,' or 'Three Crowns.' They triumphed with gold medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, and again at the 2006 winter games in Turin. Of the players on the winning teams, Hockey Hall of Fame members include Peter Forsberg (both times!), Nicklas Lidström, and Mats Sundin.
The Swedish Hockey League (SHL) is an excellent breeding ground for future NHL stars. Forsberg spent 13 years in the NHL, winning two Stanley Cup titles as center for the Colorado Avalanche. Forsberg is one of nine elite Swedes with a membership to the Triple Gold Club, an honor reserved for hockey players who have won gold medals in the Olympics and the World Championships, as well as the Stanley Cup.
Like Forsberg, Lidström is also a member of hockey’s Triple Gold Club. He spent the entirety of his NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings, leading the team to four Stanley Cup victories. During his tenure on the team, the Red Wings never sat out of the playoffs. His teammates dubbed Lidström “the perfect human,” for his impeccable defensive skills, sportsmanship and rugged good looks. Sundin was the first Swedish ice hockey player to be a No. 1 pick in the NHL draft lottery. He was swooped up in 1989 by the Quebec Nordiques, but spent the bulk of his career as team captain for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Though he never won a Stanley Cup, he’s celebrated as the first of his countrymen to score 500 goals in the NHL.
Other Swedish players in the NHL include retried right wing Daniel Alfredsson, D-man Fredrik Olausson, and twin brothers Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin.
Looking to the future, blueliner Rasmus Dahlin, who plays for SHL team Frölunda HC, is considered a lock for No. 1 pick in the NHL draft. The last - and only - time that happened for a Swedish hockey player was 1989, when the Nordiques anointed Sundin. Wonder-kid defenseman Dahlin is already a regular on the SHL highlights reel, and his dynamic playing style makes for hockey games of legend. If he becomes the top-d man in the NHL, he’ll not only place on this list, he may rule it. Time will tell.
Who are the best Swedish NHL players of all-time? Vote in our list of famous Swedish ice hockey players below for the players you think are the best Swedish hockey players to play in the NHL and if you see anyone missing from the list, feel free to add them so that other hockey fans and Ranker maniacs can vote for who you've added!