Per wrote: I'd also love to see Alex Sundström in a Canucks uniform, but alas - his knee injury seems to have prevented him from reaching his full potential.
Alexander Sundström was considered to be at least as talented as his dad as a junior, and half a year before the draft he was ranked fifth among European skaters in his draft year. Sadly, he only played twelve games that season due to a knee injury, an dwhen the draft came he was passed over till the Devils gambled on him with their last pick. Nothing ever came of that. Instead his been buried as a fourth line centre for Brynäs in the SEL.
This guy was a PPG player as a junior, but has only scored 33 points (14+19) in 188 SEL games.
He's a quite competent two way centre, but no fourth liner is ever going to make it to the NHL as they are only interested in our top talent; grunts are recruited locally.
Anyway, I think he has made a smart career move. As his contract expired, rather than renewing it he chose to accept an offer from a second tier league team instead of staying on in Brynäs. He's now getting top minutes with Mora, a borderline SEL team, that played in the SEL from 2004-2008 and are a constant contender for promotion. He's a top six player for them, is one of their two main faceoff guys and with 9 points (4+5) in 12 games he is tied for second in team scoring.
So yes, he took a pay cut and stepped out of the limelight, but he is getting more ice time, gets to play a more offensive game, and if teh team is promoted he'll be back in the SEL but now playing top line minutes rather than being a shutdown guy. And even if they do not get promoted, he gets to showcase his scoring abilities, and may be offered a more interesting job on some SEL team. In a recent interview he admitted that he still dreams of making it to the NHL, and I think in that perspective he certainly did the right thing. Actually, he probably should have done it sooner, because Brynäs using him on the fourth line has not allowed him to develop the way he could have done in a more offensive role.
Oh, and as Mora were promoted in 2004, they played in the SEL during the glorious 2004/05 lockout season! Rather cleverly they signed Marcel Hossa, and he must have worked the phones, because later the whole fricking Slovak national team seemed to join them; Marion Hossa, Skrbek, Pavlikosky, Nagy... and they also had Horcoff and Cleary on the team!
The Mora fans must have pinched themselves.. One minute they're in a god damned second tier league, the next every other player is an international star and NHL regular...
Missed the playoffs though, as pretty much every team in the SEL had at least a half dozen (if not more) NHL players the bar was raised quite a bit.