Most of these Best Of articles I keep inflicting on y'all are primarily overviews, but this one's a bit different. Besides the format (being based off of nationality), most of these guys are either still here or only recently left.
For a team on the upswing, that can only be a good thing right?
And now, your 20th Anniversary All-Time Swedish Carolina Hurricanes Team!
Forward: Elias Lindholm
I’m bullish he’ll end up living up to (or least stop having to live down) being drafted fifth overall. It’s not like his was always the smoothest developmental path, often not for reasons he could control. Here’s hoping Elias can continue to be as good in the rest of the calendar year 2017 (and beyond) as he's been so far.
Forward: Victor Rask
Before Nicholas Roy, he was the farmhand with unsure skating ability. At least I dimly recall that’s why he dropped to the second round when we drafted him. He’s not the flashiest guy, and I’m hoping to see a wee bit more consistency out of him after last year. That said, I prefer to remember how he punched above his weight early on here when the Staals were injured and he got a battlefield promotion to being our top center. He can be an above average center in the NHL, I’m just hoping it won’t necessitate a change of scenery for it to truly happen.
Forward: Joakim Nordstrom
I was going to put Tommy Westlund here as a nod to the old school, but Joakim has already scored more here despite playing fifty games less for Carolina. Furthermore, he’s carved out such a strong role for himself on the bottom-six and penalty kill. Maybe not the flashiest ex-Blackhawk we’ve gotten? But he’s the kind of player good teams have doing what he does for us.
Defenseman: Nic Wallin
The Secret Weapon himself. Drafted in the fourth round, four game-winning goals in the playoffs. Three of those as a Hurricane. A classic Hurricanes rearguard, certainly useful when properly deployed. Which is to say, if I ever noticed him in either top pairing on defense, I would be mildly to very concerned. I'm guessing I'm not alone with that feeling.
To that end, ass much as the playoff heroics, I’m inclined to remember the ’02/’03 season where he was one of the few regulars still standing by the end. Considering some of the other guys we had back by the time that season wore down, dude deserved a medal.
Defenseman: Klas Dahlbeck
He’s not the highest profile defenseman on the team now, let alone ever. Not unlike Wallin he's very useful in a sheltered role, but perhaps more adventure than you'd want out of a defender if you tried putting him in the Top 4.
Also, possibly the founding member of the Stanley-Cup-Winning-In-The-Salary-Cap-Era-Ex-Blackhawk portion of the team. That's too many hyphens, I'm sorry.
Goalie: Eddie Lack
Yep, the recently departed goalie is the only Swedish Goalie so far in Carolina’s history. I feel like saying anything about the guy one way or the other is exceedingly redundant of previous conversations in any Hurricanes goaltending discussion that’s happened in the last two years. Like almost anyone reading this, I wish his time here had gone better. I can only sigh and wish him well in Calgary.
OBLIGATORY: man, could he sell some tacos.
Honorable Mention: Viktor Stalberg
No, he wasn’t even here a full season. That said, he was the bag of magic beans that eventually turned into Scott Darling. Respect must be paid.
Defenseman/Defenseman: Niklas Nordgren
Similarly, thanks for going to St. Louis as part of the Doug Weight trade!
It's kind of a drag that is probably the most notable aspect of Niklas's NHL career but here we are.
Winger: Tommy Westlund
Besides being a Hurricane for over 200 games, he also got to wear this and get paid for it. Lucky guy.
Player Most Likely To Be To This List In Five Years:
Center/Centre: Lucas Wallmark
I don’t know if he’s supposed to be anything more than a bottom-six center for us, but if he’s better than Jay McClement and cheaper (at least for the next few years) to boot, does he really have to be?
As much as these articles tend to focus towards the past and players no longer here, I really do like the fact that all three of the forwards on this list are still on the team and should be contributing here for years to come.