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Markus Näslund
Markus Naslund.jpg
Markus Näslund in a 2007 game while captain of the Vancouver Canucks.
Position Left wing
Shoots Left
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
191 lb (87 kg)
Teams  Elitserien
Modo Hockey
New York Rangers
Vancouver Canucks
Pittsburgh Penguins
Born (1973-07-30)July 30, 1973,
Örnsköldsvik, SWE
NHL Draft 16th overall, 1991
Pittsburgh Penguins
Pro Career 1990 – 2010

Markus Näslund (born July 30, 1973) is a retired Swedish professional ice hockey player. He previously played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers, as well as with Modo Hockey of Elitserien from 1990 until 2010, with the longest stretch played for the Canucks. He is currently a member of the board for Modo Hockey. He was nicknamed "Nazzy" by Canucks fans and is referred to as "Macke" or "Mackan" in his native Sweden.[1]

Originally drafted in the first round by the Penguins, Näslund was traded to Vancouver in 1996, where he spent twelve years, including seven as team captain. He was named team MVP five times and led the team in scoring for seven consecutive seasons—both team records—en route to becoming the franchise leader in goals and points. In 2008, Näslund signed with the Rangers, where he spent one season before announcing his retirement from the NHL on May 4, 2009.[2] In 15 NHL seasons, Näslund was a three-time First Team All-Star, chosen in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and a Lester B. Pearson Award-recipient, winning in 2003. He was also a Hart Memorial Trophy nominee in 2003.

Internationally, Näslund has represented Sweden on many occasions, winning two bronze medals and a silver at the World Championships, as well as two silvers as a junior at the World Junior Championships, where he holds the record for most goals scored in a single tournament.

Early life

Näslund was born to Ulla and Sture Näslund on July 30, 1973, in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, the same town that produced childhood friend and NHL star Peter Forsberg (who would be Näslund's teammate for numerous stints with Modo Hockey), as well as Näslund's former Canucks teammates, Henrik and Daniel Sedin.[3][4]

Growing up, he idolized Swedish NHL and Elitserien star Håkan Loob.[5] During his youth, he played most of his organized hockey on an outdoor rink in his neighbourhood. It is said that the team practiced as the temperature often dipped to minus-15 Celsius and if it began to snow, half the team was designated to shovel, while the other half continued to play.[4] By seven years old, Näslund and Forsberg, who were born within 10 days of each other, were well-acquainted with one another playing on separate teams. By the age of 14, the two were playing together on the same regional all-star team, helping their squad win a national championship.[4] Näslund and Forsberg would also go on to play with each other, often on the same line, at the junior and senior level with Modo and the Swedish national team.

In addition to attending the same high school together, as well, Näslund and Forsberg had summer jobs at the age of 18 with the same electrical company that employed Näslund's mother Ulla and Forsberg's father Kent.[4]

Playing career


Early career

Näslund began playing professionally at 15 years old with an Örnsköldsvik-based team in Sweden's third-tier league for 14 games, a stint in which he scored seven goals and 13 points. The following season, in 1989–90, Näslund joined the Modo Hockey organization, playing in Sweden's highest-level junior league, the J20 SuperElit, where he and Peter Forsberg formed one of the most dangerous lines in the league.[6] After a season of junior, Näslund joined Modo's senior team in the Swedish Elitserien in 1990–91. He recorded 10 goals and 19 points in his rookie season, a mark which stood as the highest points toal for a 17 year old in the history of the league for 12 years until Robert Nilsson broke the record in 2002–03 with 21.[7]

In the off-season, Näslund was drafted 16th overall in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Penguins general manager Craig Patrick hailed Näslund, along with teammate Forsberg, as the draft's two top prospects behind top selection Eric Lindros. He compared Näslund to Los Angeles Kings forward and fellow Swede Tomas Sandström with the exception that "he's not as chippy," and claimed that he was as purer goal scorer than Penguins superstar Jaromir Jagr, who had just completed his rookie year with the club.[8]

Näslund remained in Sweden with Modo for two more years. He recorded his first of back-to-back 39-point seasons to lead the team in scoring in 1991–92.[9] The following season, he helped lead Modo to the quarter-finals of the Eliterserien playoffs.[10] Following the 1992–93 season with Modo, Näslund was set to become a free agent in the NHL. At the time, an agreement between the NHL and Swedish ice hockey officials forbade Swedish players from joining the NHL for a year unless an NHL contract was signed by July 1. With the deadline looming, Näslund filed a federal lawsuit in a Newark court claiming that the NHL-Swedish agreement could not override the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) that allowed him to play the upcoming season.[11] As the deadline passed, Näslund ended up a free agent. Considered a top prospect, he did not, however, receive any offers from teams, possibly due to an apparent Penguins promise to match any offer.[12] Näslund and the Penguins eventually managed to agree on a deal on September 9, 1993, worth $2.5 million over 3 years, including a $600,000 signing bonus.[12][13]

With his first NHL contract, Näslund made his Penguins debut, joining the team in 1993–94. His first NHL goal came against Curtis Joseph of the St. Louis Blues, 13 games into his rookie campaign.[14] Upon entering the NHL with the Penguins, however, Näslund struggled to find his form and was admittedly frustrated with himself.[13] Although he consistently showed promise in training camp and in practices, his play in games was inconsistent,[15] earning him the nickname "Mr. September" in Pittsburgh.[16][17] As a result, he was demoted to the Penguins' International Hockey League (IHL) affiliate, the Cleveland Lumberjacks, on several occasions. He finished his rookie season with only four goals and seven assists despite playing in 71 games. The following season, Näslund only appeared in 14 games, partially due to the 1994–95 labour dispute, scoring four points.

Due to the departures of All-Star left-wingers Kevin Stevens and Luc Robitaille from the Penguins, Näslund was moved to left wing for the first time in his career in 1995–96.[18] Playing on a line with team captain and future Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux,[19] Näslund began to improve in his third NHL season, contributing more offensively. He recorded his first multi-goal game and hat trick early in the campaign on November 28, 1995, in a 7–2 win over the Ottawa Senators.[20] By mid-December, he was leading the league in plus-minus with a +30 rating through 27 games.[19] However, what appeared to be a breakout season for Näslund slowed down by February, as he was scratched on several occasions and was demoted to the third and fourth lines.[21][22]

In the final year of his contract, he was the subject of trade rumours[21][22] and on March 20, 1996, he was dealt to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Alek Stojanov. This trade would later be regarded as one of the most lopsided trades in NHL history once Näslund displayed his offensive capabilities.[23][24] Going pointless in his first nine games with his new club, Näslund recorded a hat trick in the last game of the regular season, a 5–0 win over the Calgary Flames on April 13, 1996, that put the Canucks into the playoffs.[25] In the off-season, he was re-signed by the Canucks on August 8, 1996.[26] In his first two seasons with the Canucks, Näslund's offensive output did not change significantly. At the start of the 1997–98 season, coach Mike Keenan scratched a healthy Näslund, prompting Näslund to ask the team for a trade. However, the request was denied.[27] It was during this time that Näslund had second thoughts about an NHL career and considered moving back to Sweden.[28]

The following season, Näslund led the Canucks in scoring during a period of rebuilding for the franchise.[29] His 36 goals and 66 points were vast improvements over the 14 goals and 34 points from the previous season. He also earned the Cyclone Taylor Trophy as the Canucks' MVP—his first of five during his tenure with Vancouver—[30] as well as his first of two team Most Exciting Player Awards. In the off-season, he was re-signed by the Canucks to a three-year, $7.2 million contract.[31]

West Coast Express

Näslund and Todd Bertuzzi (right) were joined by Brendan Morrison to form the West Coast Express.

At the Canucks' training camp in Sweden, prior to the 2000–01 NHL season, general manager Brian Burke named Näslund captain of the Canucks, making Näslund the first European-born captain in Canucks history.[30][32] His predecessor as team captain, Hall of Famer Mark Messier has been cited by Näslund as his greatest playing influence, having played alongside him the previous three seasons.[33] In his first year as team captain, Näslund continued to improve and was statistically among the league-leaders in goals and points during the campaign. However, with the Canucks in the middle of a late-season push for a playoff spot, Näslund suffered a knee-injury with ten games left on March 16, 2001, in a game against the Buffalo Sabres. Chasing a loose puck in the third period, he was hit by Sabres defencemen Jay McKee and Rhett Warrener simultaneously, falling awkwardly on his right leg. Requiring surgery to repair the broken tibia and fibula bones in his leg, Näslund was sidelined for the season.[34] His 41 goals at the time of the injury was tied for third in the league, while his 75 points was eleventh.[35][36] Without Näslund in the lineup, the Canucks still managed to secure the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference, but were swept in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche in four games.[32]

Set to enter the final year of his contract, Näslund re-signed with the Canucks on June 28, 2001, to a three-year extension.[36] He spent the off-season rehabilitating his leg, which was held together with a titanium rod and screws following surgery, in his private gym in his hometown of Ornskoldsvik.[37] He returned from his injury the following season, setting a new personal best with a 90-point season which included 40 goals in 2001–02. An 8-goal, 21-point effort in 14 games in the month of January earned him NHL Player of the Month honours,[38] while several days later, at the 2002 NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Näslund scored the game winning goal to lead the World team over North America by an 8–5 score.[39] The season marked the beginning of what was widely considered the most effective line combination in the league for several seasons. Näslund and Bertuzzi had already formed a duo as wingers on the Canucks top line for more than two seasons when head coach Marc Crawford added centreman Brendan Morrison in a game on January 9, 2002. Finishing the remainder of the season together, Bertuzzi and Morrison tallied 85 and 67 points, respectively, to complement Näslund's 90. The high-scoring trio was dubbed the West Coast Express, named after Vancouver's commuter rail service of the same name.

In 2002–03, with the West Coast Express line intact for a full season, Näslund finished second overall in NHL scoring with a career high 48 goals and 104 points. Early in the season, he scored his eighth career NHL hat trick, scoring all three goals in a mere seven-minute span in the second period of a 5–2 win over the San Jose Sharks on October 21, 2002.[40] On December 14, 2002, he scored a career-high four goals in a 6–3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.[41] Named to his third consecutive All-Star Game in 2003, where he was joined by teammates Bertuzzi, Ed Jovanovski and head coach Crawford,[42] Näslund scored a goal in the first shootout in the history of the All-Star Game to help the Western Conference defeat the East 6–5.[43] Later that month, in February, Näslund registered another career-high game with a six-point night (one goal, five assists) in an 8–0 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers on February 24, 2003.[44] The win extended the Canucks' franchise record-setting unbeaten streak to 14 games.[45] Näslund's linemates also turned in career seasons as Bertuzzi recorded 97 points for fifth place in league scoring, while Morrison tallied 71. Together, the trio accounted for 45% of the Canucks' 264 goals.[4] The season culminated with Näslund winning the Lester B. Pearson Award as the players' choice for top player. By beating out Forsberg and Boston Bruins centre Joe Thornton, he became the first Swedish-born recipient of the award.[46] A finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, as well, Näslund finished as first runner-up to Forsberg.

However, despite these achievements, the season ended disappointingly. The Canucks lost their final game of the regular season to the Los Angeles Kings, and along with it, the Northwest Division championship to the Colorado Avalanche. Näslund had also began the night as the league's leading scorer, but lost the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies to Avalanche forwards Peter Forsberg, who recorded three points that night, and Milan Hejduk. After the game, Näslund apologized to the sellout home crowd, to the point of saying that the team "choked."[47] Vancouver won its first round playoff matchup against the St. Louis Blues in seven games after trailing three games to one. The Canucks then lost to the Minnesota Wild in the next round, failing to finish off a 3–1 series lead of their own.[30] Näslund finished the playoffs with 14 points in 14 games.

Näslund with the Canucks in 2004

The following season, Näslund led the Canucks in scoring for the sixth-straight season in 2003–04, finishing with 35 goals and 84 points. He was briefly sidelined in early-December due to a groin injury,[48] but returned to match a personal best for goals in one game, scoring all the Canucks' four goals in a 4–3 overtime win against his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, on December 9, 2003.[49] Named to his fifth and final All-Star Game in 2004, he was named team captain of the Western Conference in Minnesota.[50]

Near the end of the season, Näslund and the Canucks became the centre of attention among sports circles with the Steve Moore incident. On February 16, 2004, Näslund sustained a minor concussion after Colorado forward Steve Moore delivered a questionable hit on Näslund at centre ice. Replays appeared to show that Moore hit Näslund's head with his elbow and shoulder, but referees did not call a penalty. Näslund, who at the time was the league's leading scorer, required 13 stitches and was sidelined for three games.[51][52] He also suffered a hyper-extended elbow when he fell to the ice, which he played with through the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.[53] As the Canucks and Avalanche met again in a game on March 8, linemate Bertuzzi retaliated to the hit on Näslund and punched Moore in the back of the head after shadowing him around the ice late in the third period.[54] Moore was severely injured and the Canucks lost Bertuzzi for the remainder of the season to an indefinite suspension.[55] A close friend of Bertuzzi's, Näslund was deeply affected by the incident, as subsequent lawsuits and public scrutiny took a toll on Bertuzzi's career. Several years later, Näslund stated, "It still bothers me what Todd has had to go through...There's no question he was standing up for all went too far."[56]

Despite the absence of Bertuzzi, Näslund led the Canucks to the Northwest Division title that they had squandered the previous season.[57] The division title placed the Canucks third in the Western Conference standings and set them against the sixth placed Calgary Flames in the playoffs. The best-of-seven quarter-finals series between the two teams lasted to a seventh and deciding game. With the Canucks down a goal and less than a minute to go, Calgary captain Jarome Iginla missed on an empty net attempt. Näslund seized the opportunity to rush the puck up the ice past two defenders, creating a play that winger Matt Cooke, who replaced Bertuzzi on the top line, finished to tie the game with six seconds left in regulation time.[58] However, as the game was forced into overtime, the Flames eliminated the Canucks a minute and a half into the extra period on the powerplay.[59] Näslund finished the playoffs with nine points in the seven games.

During the NHL labour conflict, he returned to his hometown team Modo Hockey of the Elitserien, joining Vancouver teammates Daniel and Henrik Sedin, as well as former Modo teammate Peter Forsberg. He was originally expected to sign with Modo before the season started, but eventually returned to Vancouver after spending the summer in Sweden.[60] Vancouver radio-station the Team 1040 cited high tax premiums explaining the decision,[60] while Näslund later reasoned that he preferred to be readily available for the NHL, just in case the season could be salvaged.[61] He announced his return in mid-January, in order to meet the January 31 player-transfer deadline for European clubs,[6][61] and played his first game for Modo in nearly 12 years on January 20, 2005, receiving a standing ovation from the home crowd.[62] Due to his late decision to join the team, Näslund appeared in only 13 games, managing 17 points.


Näslund with the Canucks at the 2005–06 season opener.

As NHL play was set to resumed in 2005–06, Näslund became an unrestricted free agent on August 1, 2005. On the open market for several days, he re-signed with the Canucks for three more years on August 3, 2005, at $6 million per season. Vancouver newspaper The Province reported that two other teams had offered deals that matched the contract he signed, but Näslund ultimately chose to remain with the Canucks because he felt the club had a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup.[63] At the time, Näslund said he hoped to retire as a Canuck.[64]

For a franchise record seventh consecutive season, he led the Canucks in scoring, with 32 goals and 79 points. With the new rules set in place by the NHL after the lockout, however, it was assumed by many that players like Näslund would thrive, especially given the Canucks' up-tempo style of play. In fact, as a line, the West Coast Express trio all suffered drops in their offensive stats in 2005–06. Furthermore, the Canucks failed to make the playoffs for the first time in Näslund's tenure as team captain, finishing ninth place in the West. Consequently, many changes to team personnel were expected in the off-season.[65] Longtime linemate Bertuzzi was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for goaltender Roberto Luongo and defence-minded coach Alain Vigneault replaced Marc Crawford as the Canucks' head coach.[66]

In the 2006–07 home opener against San Jose, Näslund scored his 300th goal as a Canuck, tying teammate and Canucks veteran Trevor Linden for the franchise lead and overtaking him later in the season.[67] However, Näslund's offensive production began to dip in 2006–07, due in part to Bertuzzi's departure and coach Vigneault's introduction of a defence-first system.[68] Näslund completed the season with 60 points, his lowest output since 1997–98. Teammate Daniel Sedin had 84 points, marking the first time in seven seasons that Näslund did not lead the team in scoring.[69] In the post-season, Näslund contributed five points before the team was eliminated by eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Anaheim Ducks, in the Conference semi-finals.

Näslund at the Canucks jersey launch prior to the 2007–08 season.

In 2007–08, Näslund set several more career marks. On November 21, 2007, Näslund scored his 11th career hat-trick and tied the Canucks' franchise record for most hat-tricks with ten. The hat-trick was his first since December 2003.[70] Several games later, on December 5, Näslund became the Canucks' franchise leading scorer, assisting on defenceman Mattias Öhlund's goal and passing Linden with 725 points.[71] Later in the season, on January 17, 2008, Näslund played his 1,000th career game against the Detroit Red Wings, scoring a goal in a 3–2 shootout loss.[72] He became just the seventh Swedish-born player to reach the 1,000-game mark.[73] Näslund finished the season with 55 points and was admittedly frustrated with Vigneault's defensive coaching style.[74]

Näslund with the Rangers during the 2008–09 season.

As July 1 and free agency approached, Näslund made it clear that the style of play and the player personnel of a team would be important factors in determining which team he would sign with after his contract with the Canucks expired. After the departure of Todd Bertuzzi in 2006, Vigneault failed to find consistent linemates for Näslund in his final two years with the club. As a result, he played on a myriad of line combinations, often with unestablished NHL players.[75] While he did not rule out the possibility of returning to Vancouver, he sold his Vancouver home and described his return as questionable.[76]

New York Rangers

Näslund signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the New York Rangers on July 3, 2008, leaving Vancouver as the franchise's leading point and goal scorer.[77] Upon signing, he revealed New York was his preferred destination heading into free agency, but also admitted leaving Vancouver was a difficult choice.[78] On October 1, 2008, Näslund won the Victoria Cup with the New York Rangers by defeating Metallurg Magnitogorsk by the score of 4-3. Näslund was named an alternate captain to Chris Drury for the Rangers.[79] The next day, he scored his first goal as a Ranger in the NHL's European season opener at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.[80] In his only season with the Rangers, Näslund led the team in goal scoring with 24 goals and was fourth in points, having tallied 46. After adding three points in the playoffs, he announced his retirement from the NHL on May 4, 2009, at age 35.[2]

Näslund had informed Rangers general manager Glen Sather, head coach John Tortorella and his teammates of his intention to retire prior to the team's first-round elimination against the Washington Capitals. By announcing his retirement early in the off-season, he forfeited the $2 million buyout from the second year of his contract (valued at $3 million) that would have been required of the Rangers had he deferred the official announcement.[81]

Return to Modo and retirement

Following his retirement from the NHL, Näslund returned to Sweden with his family. In the meantime, childhood friend Peter Forsberg was attempting a return to the NHL for the 2009–10 season, playing with Modo and the Swedish national team for conditioning purposes. Among the NHL teams interested were the Vancouver Canucks. Näslund had previously tried recruiting Forsberg to play for the Canucks prior to the 2007–08 season, when Forsberg was an unrestricted free agent, without any luck.[82] Weighing in on Forsberg's possible NHL return, Näslund speculated that Forsberg would remain in Sweden to continue playing for Modo.[83] Several days later, Canucks general manager Mike Gillis confirmed Näslund's speculation, asserting that Forsberg intended on finishing the season with Modo.[84] The following day, on November 17, 2009, Näslund announced he was coming out of retirement to join Forsberg with Modo for the remainder of the 2009–10 Elitserien season. The announcement crashed the Modo web server as a result of the heavy volume of people visiting the site. A board member of the club, Näslund said he would play without a salary, along with Forsberg.[85]

Eleven days after the announcement, Näslund played in his first game back with Modo on November 28, registering an assist on the first goal of the game by Forsberg. Modo won the game 4–1 over Rögle BK.[10] The following game, on December 1, he registered two assists, setting up the game-tying goal with two seconds remaining in regulation by team captain Per Svartvadet and the overtime winner by Forsberg.[86] He scored his first goal since his return on December 8 in a 4–1 win over HV 71.[87] On February 27, he notched a hat trick against Färjestads BK in a 10–3 win.[88] Playing in 29 of Modo's 55 games, Näslund scored at a point-per-game pace with 10 goals and 19 assists. At the time of his return, Modo was last place in the Elitserien with 16 points in 19 games.[85] With the addition of Näslund and Forsberg, Modo earned 58 points in the remaining 36 games of the season, but finished one point out of a playoff spot, with Näslund retiring for good thereafter.

The Vancouver Canucks, for whom Näslund played for most of his career, including seven seasons as captain, will retire Näslund's #19 on December 11, 2010 (in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning). Näslund joins former Canucks captains Trevor Linden and Stan Smyl as the only Canucks to have their numbers retired by the franchise.[89]

International play

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Sweden Sweden
Ice hockey
World Championships
Bronze 2002 Sweden
Bronze 1999 Norway
Silver 1993 Germany
World Junior Championships
Silver 1993 Sweden
Silver 1992 Germany

Näslund has represented Sweden in numerous international hockey competitions, including two European Junior Championships, two World Junior Championships, four World Championships, two World Cups and one Winter Olympics, winning three silver and two bronze medals.

He made his first international appearance for Sweden at the 1990 European Junior Championships, going pointless in six games. He made a significant improvement the following year at the tournament, however, with a 14-goal and two-assist effort. Näslund continued to play in junior tournaments in the next two years, competing in the 1992 and 1993 World Junior Championships, where Sweden won back-to-back silver medals. In 1993, he set a tournament record for most goals scored with 13, to go with 11 assists, in just seven games,[90] while playing on a line with Peter Forsberg. Näslund also made his senior international debut that year at the 1993 World Championships, where he earned another silver medal with Sweden.

Näslund made his second World Championships appearance three years later at the 1996 World Championships. However, he only appeared in one game for Sweden, as he was added to the team late in the tournament following the Vancouver Canucks' elimination in the NHL playoffs. Several months later, Näslund competed in the inaugural 1996 World Cup, but was again limited to one game as Sweden reached the semi-finals before falling short against Canada. Competing in his third World Championships in 1999, Näslund helped Sweden to a bronze medal with a 10-point effort in 10 games.

In 2002, Näslund made his first and only appearance in the Olympics at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. After going undefeated in the round-robin and heralded as gold-medal favourites, Sweden was upset by Belarus in the quarter-finals. The Swedish loss was widely considered one of the most stunning upsets in Olympic history, while Näslund described the defeat in a post-game interview as "devastating...for us and our country."[91] Several months later, he then participated in his final World Championships in 2002, playing with Sweden as the host country. He was added to the roster prior to the quarterfinals following the Canucks' first-round elimination to the Detroit Red Wings,[92] tallying 3 points in 3 games as he earned his second consecutive bronze medal.

Prior to the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Näslund participated in his final international competition at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where he failed to score a single goal in four games played.[93] Although he was named to Team Sweden for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin,[94] Näslund chose not to play due to a groin injury.[95] Sweden went on to win the gold medal, defeating Finland in the final.

Personal life

Näslund and his wife Lotta have three children: Rebecca, Isabella, and Alex. During his tenure with the Canucks, the family resided in Vancouver during the season and returned to Sweden in the summer.[14][96] Like Swedes Nicklas Lidström and his childhood idol, Håkan Loob, Näslund had expressed a desire to raise his children in his homeland Sweden.[97][98] He made headlines when he first publicly contemplated an early retirement from the NHL to serve those purposes during the 2002–03 season.[5] However, he also considered Vancouver his home and cherished his time spent in the city.[96] Upon signing with the New York Rangers, Näslund and his family moved to Connecticut. Following his retirement from the NHL in 2009, Näslund and his family returned to Sweden, where he began coaching his son, Alex's, minor-league hockey team until coming out of retirement to join Modo in November 2009.[83]

In 2002, Näslund and Forsberg founded Icebreakers, an organization that raises money for children's charities through hosting exhibition games featuring current and former professional hockey players.[99] In Vancouver, Näslund ran a program called "Nazzy's Suite 19" that gave underprivileged children the opportunity to attend Canucks games.[100] Along with other Canucks players, Näslund made regular visits to Canuck Place, a children's hospice that provides specialized care for children with life-threatening illnesses. Näslund was also known to visit sick children at BC Children's Hospital.[101]

At the peak of his career, Näslund signed multiple endorsement deals, most notably with Nike Bauer and Electronic Arts.[102] Along with Ilya Kovalchuk and Jarome Iginla, Näslund appeared in advertisements for the Nike brand. In 2004, EA Sports selected Näslund to appear on the cover of NHL 2005, EA's yearly hockey video game.[103]

Career statistics

Regular season and playoffs

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 Örnsköldsviks SK SEL-3 14 7 6 13
1989–90 Modo Hockey J20 33 43 35 78 20
1990–91 Modo Hockey SEL 32 10 9 19 14
1991–92 Modo Hockey SEL 39 22 17 39 52
1992–93 Modo Hockey J20 2 4 1 5 2
1992–93 Modo Hockey SEL 39 22 17 39 67 3 3 2 5 0
1993–94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 71 4 7 11 27
1993–94 Cleveland Lumberjacks IHL 5 1 6 7 4
1994–95 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 2 2 4 2
1994–95 Cleveland Lumberjacks IHL 7 3 4 7 6 4 1 3 4 8
1995–96 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 66 19 33 52 36
1995–96 Vancouver Canucks NHL 10 3 0 3 6 6 1 2 3 8
1996–97 Vancouver Canucks NHL 78 21 20 41 30
1997–98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 76 14 20 34 56
1998–99 Vancouver Canucks NHL 80 36 30 66 74
1999–00 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 27 38 65 64
2000–01 Vancouver Canucks NHL 72 41 34 75 58
2001–02 Vancouver Canucks NHL 81 40 50 90 50 6 1 1 2 2
2002–03 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 48 56 104 52 14 5 9 14 18
2003–04 Vancouver Canucks NHL 78 35 49 84 58 7 2 7 9 2
2004–05 Modo Hockey SEL 13 8 9 17 8 6 0 1 1 10
2005–06 Vancouver Canucks NHL 81 32 47 79 66
2006–07 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 24 36 60 54 12 4 1 5 16
2007–08 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 25 30 55 46
2008–09 New York Rangers NHL 82 24 22 46 57 7 1 2 3 10
2009–10 Modo Hockey SEL 29 10 19 29 20
NHL totals 1117 395 474 869 736 52 14 22 36 56
SEL totals 152 72 71 143 161 9 3 3 6 10
IHL totals 12 4 10 14 10 4 1 3 4 8

International statistics

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1992 Sweden WJC 7 8 2 10 12
1993 Sweden WJC 7 13 11 24 33
1993 Sweden WC 8 1 1 2 14
1996 Sweden WC 1 0 0 0 0
1996 Sweden WCup 1 0 0 0 2
1999 Sweden WC 10 6 4 10 16
2002 Sweden Oly 4 2 1 3 0
2002 Sweden WC 3 1 2 3 0
2004 Sweden WCup 4 0 3 3 0
Junior int'l totals 14 21 13 34 45
Senior int'l totals 31 10 11 21 32

All-Star Games

Year Location   G A P
1999 Tampa Bay 0 1 1
2001 Denver 1 0 1
2002 Los Angeles 2 1 3
2003 Florida 0 1 1
2004 St. Paul 0 3 3
All-Star totals 3 6 9



Award Year(s)
World Juniors All-Star Team 1993[104]
Victoria Cup (New York Rangers) 2008


Award Year(s)
First All-Star Team 2002, 2003, 2004
All-Star Game 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy 2003
Lester B. Pearson Award 2003

Vancouver Canucks team awards

Award Year(s)
Cyclone Taylor Award 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Cyrus H. McLean Trophy 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006
Most Exciting Player Award 1999, 2001
Molson Cup 2001, 2002, 2003



  1. "Forsberg får Flyers att lyfta" (in Swedish) (2005-12-28). Retrieved on 2008-07-26.
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  39. "Wonderful World", CNN Sports Illustrated, 2002-02-02. Retrieved on 2009-08-15. 
  40. "Naslund hat trick paces Canucks", Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2002-10-22. Retrieved on 2009-08-15. 
  41. "Naslund makes his mark", BBC News, 2002-12-15. Retrieved on 2009-08-15. 
  42. "East-West matchup has distinct northern flavour", CNN Sports Illustrated, 2003-02-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-15. 
  43. "West wins in first All-Star shootout", USA Today, 2003-02-02. Retrieved on 2009-08-15. 
  44. "NHL Roundup: Naslund's Six Points Top Atlanta", New York Times, 2003-02-25. Retrieved on 2009-08-15. 
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  47. "Canucks lose Northwest, now face Blues", CBC, 2003-04-06. Retrieved on 2008-07-25. 
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External links

Vancouver Canucks Captains
Kurtenbach | Boudrias | Oddleifson | Lever | McCarthy | Smyl | Quinn | Lidster | Linden | Messier | Näslund | Luongo | H. Sedin | Horvat