Born January 1, 1987 (age 25) in Sollentuna, Sweden
Right wing for the Nashville Predators
Hornqvist is a birthday boy today but he’s also very noteworthy aside from today being the day of his birth. He began playing in Sweden, even swapping teams when a former coach went to another squad. When he was draft-eligible in 2005, Nashville took him 230th–last–overall. However, you’ll see how he’s earned a spot on the team and should’ve been drafted higher, perhaps. Instead of heading right over to America, though, he stuck around in Sweden to improve his game. In 2007, he was named Elitserien Rookie of the Year! Following his MVP performance, Nashville put him on a 3-year contract, though by then he’d chosen to stay in Sweden one more year, a campaign that included a playoff run.
He moved to America and tried to get on the Preds’ 2008-09 roster, but it didn’t go well and he spent the year with the Milwaukee Admirals. Sometimes he did get called up to Tennessee and in 2008 he scored his first goal against Dallas. He continued to improve, making the big time roster in 2009-10, where he suddenly exploded offensively. That season, he tallied 30 goals and 51 points, the goal total leading the team and point total tying for the team lead. Keep in mind that this production came from a man who was literally drafted very last in his year. He continued his production in the most recent completed season, scoring 21 goals and 27 assists in 79 games. He also had 47 penalty minutes in the regular season and 6 in the playoffs, where he produced two goals and an assist in 12 games (Nashville’s deepest playoff run to date). It looks like he’s on track to keep up the pace this season, too.
All in all, not bad for a man born on the first and selected very last.