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267. Ulf Nilsson

Sweden produces some of the world’s best hockey players but there was a time where it was believed that Scandinavians could not cut the mustard in North America.  Ulf Nilsson helped changed that perception.

The Winnipeg Jets of the upstart World Hockey Association signed him and fellow countryman, Anders Hedberg and they would help take the Jets to two Avoc Cup Championships (1976 & 1978) and he was a two time Assists leader in the WHA.  The Swedish Centre would never have less than 114 Points a season as a Jet and he was third overall in Points three years in a row (1975-76 to 1977-78).  When the league folded he was cemented as the WHA’s all-time leader in Assists per Game with 1.15.

Nilsson (and Hedberg) would sign with the New York Rangers and he was poised to prove his worth in Gotham but a severe ankle injury after being by Denis Potvin reduced his skill set.  A second injury to his knee would cause him to miss a full NHL season and his return was short lived.

While Nilsson did not have that long a career his importance to the game of hockey cannot be discounted.

The Bullet Points

  • Country of Origin: Nynashamn, Sweden
  • Eligible Since: Wednesday, 01 January 1986
  • Position: Center
  • Played For: New York Rangers
  • Non-NHL Teams: Winnipeg Jets (WHA)

    Team Sweden (Canada Cup 1976 & 1981; World Hockey Championship 1973 & 1974)

  • Major Accolades and Awards:

    First Team All-WHA (2) (1976 & 1978)

    Second Team All-WHA (1) (1977)

    Most Assists (WHA) (2) (1977 & 1978)

    Most Assists per Game  (1) (1976, 1977 & 1978)

    WHA Playoff MVP (1) (1978)

    Highest Shooting Percentage (1) (1979)

    Stanley Cup Rings (None)  

    WHA Avco Cup Champion (2) (1976 & 1978)

    World Hockey Championship Silver Medal (1) (Sweden, 1973)

    World Hockey Championship Bronze Medal (1) (Sweden, 1974)

Should Ulf Nilsson be in the Hall of Fame?

Definitely put him in! - 0%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 0%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 0%
No opinion. - 0%
No way! - 0%

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