Born December 15, 1988 (age 23) in Kvissleby, Sweden
Defenseman for the Philadelphia Flyers
Gustafsson, another entry in the Better Know a Hockey Card series, is still pretty young and new to his time in the NHL. Nevertheless, let’s learn more about him, especially because we’re both December 1988 babies. He began his career by spending time with the junior level divisions of the Timra IK team in Sweden. Then in 2007, he came over to America and began attending Northern Michigan University. He had three years of play with them. In those three years he had 27, 34 and 32 points in about 40 games each season. In fact, he did so well that he racked up some impressive awards for offensive defensemen and was named to many all-star teams for the CCHA.
He went undrafted and signed a three-year entry-level contract with Philadelphia on March 31, 2010. After spending part of 2009-10 and almost all of 2010-11 with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms, he made his NHL debut in February 2011 as a fill-in for Chris Pronger, who at the time was out with a bruised hand. This season, the Flyers plagued with injuries, they have had to fill their team with more rookies than normal. Gustafsson and others are taking up the challenge. Last season Gustafsson produced 5 goals and 44 assists in 72 games with the Phantoms. This season he hasn’t been used as often, just 17 games so far, and has two assists, but he’ll get there. He also resembles a ginger, Swedish version of Tuukka Rask to me for some reason. But hey, now I better know a hockey card!