Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

The Lidstrom generation of defensemen, headlined by 'OEL'

10/01/2015 at 10:19am EDT

From NHL.com's Tim Wharnsby:

They're everywhere in the NHL these days, young Swedish defensemen who have been influenced by Nicklas Lidstrom, the legendary Detroit Red Wings defenseman.

Back when Peter Forsberg was at his best, most young hockey players from Sweden wanted to be like him, a forward. But then Lidstrom started collecting Stanley Cup titles and Norris Trophy wins and Olympic gold, and that all changed.

"You look around the League and see all the young [Swedish] defensemen," Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "When you grew up in Sweden before Nicklas became the player he was, everybody wanted to be a forward. When he played his best, the most skilled guys back home wanted to be like him and play defense. Our best players are defensemen."

Now there is Victor Hedman in Tampa Bay, John Klingberg in Dallas, Jonas Brodin in Minnesota, Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim, Adam Larsson in New Jersey, Mattias Ekholm in Nashville.

There are also a couple dandies in Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Oliver Ekman-Larsson of the Arizona Coyotes.

Ekman-Larsson led all NHL defensemen with 23 goals last season, two more than Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner. Lidstrom had the record for most goals by a Swedish defenseman in a season at 20. But then Ekman-Larsson and Karlsson zoomed on by.

"Every D-man who comes from Sweden has watched him play," Ekman-Larsson, 24, said. "He was my idol growing up and he's the reason I started to play 'D.'

Continued

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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