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Plenty of NHL links in Linkoping HC

Tuesday, 09.29.2009 / 10:00 AM / 2009 Compuware NHL Premiere

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

It's not an NHL roster the St. Louis Blues will face Sept. 29 in Sweden, but Linkoping HC has enough ties to the League that many of the faces will be quite familiar to the Blues.

Fourteen players for Linkoping have ties to NHL clubs, including six that have NHL game experience. Niclas Havelid and Jan Hlavac have combined to play in 1,064 NHL regular-season games. Havelid and Fredrik Norrena were in the League just last season.

Here are some of the key players the Blues will be up against in their final tuneup before their 2009-10 season begins in Stockholm against Detroit:

Fredrik Norrena, G -- After two-plus seasons in Columbus, Norrena, who finished last year in the KHL, returns to Linkoping, where he played from 2003-06. The Finnish goalie won 35 games over parts of three seasons with the Blue Jackets, but lost his job last season when Steve Mason got hot and Pascal Leclaire got healthy.

Daniel Fernholm, D -- Drafted in the 4th round, No. 101, by Pittsburgh in 2002, Fernholm played parts of two seasons (2005-07) in North America, including 27 games with Wilkes Barre/Scranton of the AHL, before returning to Sweden.

Magnus Johansson, D -- After 10 pro seasons, including nine in the SEL, Johansson tried his hand at the NHL and split the 2007-08 season between Chicago and Florida. He played in 45 games and recorded 14 assists before heading to the KHL last season. He has played for Sweden in six different World Championships, winning gold in 2006.

Viktor Ekbom, D --
The 20-year-old Swede was drafted 181st overall this past June by the Penguins. He's playing his second season in the SEL.

Niclas Havelid, D --
Following nine seasons in the NHL, broken up only by the work stoppage in 2004-05, Havelid returns to the SEL this season to join up with his older brother, Magnus, who is an assistant coach for Linkoping. Havelid finished last season with New Jersey after being shipped there from Atlanta on trade deadline day. He has 171 points in 628 NHL games. The Enkoping native won Olympic gold in 2006.

Tony Martensson, F --
After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2001 Entry Draft, Martensson played 146 games in the AHL and six more in the NHL from 2002-04. He joined Linkoping during the work stoppage and played four seasons before leaving for the KHL last season. He's back now.

Pontus Petterstrom, F -- He was drafted by the Rangers in the seventh round of the 2001 Entry Draft, but still has never played a pro game in North America.

Patrik Zackrisson, F -- Drafted in the sixth round, 165th overall, of the 2007 Entry Draft by San Jose. He's in his third season in Linkoping.

Max Froshaug, F --
Norwegian-born forward, 21, Froshaug was drafted by Vancouver in the sixth round of the 2008 Entry Draft.

Jari Tolsa, F --
Veteran forward was drafted by Detroit in the fourth round in 1999, but never came over to North America.

Jan Hlavac, F -- A veteran of 436 NHL games has seen time with the Rangers, Flyers, Canucks, Hurricanes, Lightning and Predators. He split 80 games in 2007-08 between Tampa Bay and Nashville before leaving the NHL for Linkoping last season. Hlavac, drafted 28th overall by the Islanders in 1995, has 224 NHL points.

Mikael Hakanson, F -- The 35-year-old forward was drafted by Toronto in 1992 and played 64 AHL games in 2000-01. He has been with Linkoping since 2002.

Jaroslav Hlinka, F -- He didn't make it over to North America until he was 31, but Hlinka spent the 2007-08 season with the Avalanche, compiling 28 points in 63 games. The Czech forward is in his second season with Linkoping.

Andreas Jamtin, F -- Drafted by the Red Wings in 2001, Jamtin joined the Rangers organization last season and played four games with Hartford in the AHL and five with Charlotte in the ECHL before returning to Sweden to join Linkoping.
Quote of the Day

I think that’s the sign of a good team. When you don’t play well, and you don’t stay focused and you don’t do the intangibles that it takes, you still win the hockey game.

— New York Islanders coach Jack Capuano after their win vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday
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