Born May 3, 1988 (age 23) in Gävle, Sweden
Goaltender for the Nashville Predators
With Pekka Rinne more often than not appearing between the pipes for the Preds, one might be forgiven for forgetting about their backup, but he is important too! He began his career with the junior-level Brynas IF team in his hometown, playing there for many years on the U-18 and U-20 squads. They lent him to the Almtuna IS team for all of 2007-08. In 2008, he was picked 207th overall by Nashville in the draft, making him homegrown talent. Part of why he was picked so late is because he was diagnosed with adult onset Still’s disease soon before the draft. This disease is a kind of inflammatory arthritis. It often presents with joint and muscle pain, fevers and a salmon-colored rash. Sheesh, poor guy!
He decided to play another year in Sweden to up his game a little more, going to the top-tier Timra IK now. For 2010-11, he was ready to return to North America. His NHL debut was in October 2010 against Anaheim, when he relieved Rinne. His first shutout came just two months later versus Florida. Then, on my birthday, he got another no-no, making it the second time in his entire career he’d pitched back-to-back shutouts. On the team, he is friends with fellow Swede and MotD Patric Hornqvist. Cool!
Last season, he got an 11-5-2 record, .915% and 2.60 GAA in 22 games, plus one relief game in the playoffs where he held the door entirely shut. This year, he doesn’t seem poised to take too much work from Rinne, but c’mon, Pekka, spread the love!