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Mattias Öhlund

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Mattias Öhlund
Position Defence
Shoots Left
6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
220 lb (100 kg)
NHL Team
F. Teams
Tampa Bay Lightning
Vancouver Canucks
Luleå (SEL)
Piteå (SWE-2)
Born September 9 1976 (1976-09-09) (age 40),
Piteå, SWE
NHL Draft 13th overall, 1994
Vancouver Canucks
Pro Career 1992 – present

Mattias Öhlund (born September 9, 1976) is a Swedish professional ice hockey defenceman and an alternate captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL). Prior to joining the Lightning, he played eleven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Öhlund played two seasons in the Swedish Allsvenskan, the second highest tier of hockey in Sweden, with Piteå HC before being selected by the Canucks thirteenth overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft; he then joined Luleå HF of the Elitserien, the highest league in Sweden, winning the Le Mat Trophy as league champions in 1996. He began his NHL career with Vancouver in 1997–98, the start of an eleven-year tenure with the club. A serious eye injury before his third NHL season was the first of many injuries Öhlund has sustained over his career, and he has only played a full season twice in eleven years. A four-time winner of the Babe Pratt Trophy as the team's best defenceman, Öhlund is the Canucks' all-time leading goal and point-scorer among defencemen.

Internationally, Öhlund has represented Sweden in numerous tournaments, beginning with three World Junior Championships that included Best Defenceman honours as part of a silver medal effort in 1996. He has since competed in three World Championships, earning gold in 1998, and three Winter Olympics, earning gold in 2006.

Playing careerEdit


Öhlund began his playing career with Piteå HC in his hometown, playing two seasons with the team. As a large, mobile defenceman, he was heavily scouted by scouts from several NHL teams during his final season with Piteå.[1] He was the Vancouver Canucks' first pick, thirteenth overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Rather than join the Canucks, Öhlund stayed in Sweden as a result of a dispute over his contract with the team. He joined a new team, Luleå HF of the top Swedish league, the Elitserien. In his first season in the premier league in Sweden, Öhlund scored 16 points in 34 games. The following season Öhlund had 14 points in 38 games as Luleå won the Le Mat Trophy as champions of the Elitserien, their first league championship.[2] Appearing in 47 games with Luleå during the 1996–97 season, Öhlund scored seven goals and had an additional nine assists.[3]

Vancouver CanucksEdit

An ice hockey player, visible from the knees upwards, skating with spectators visible behind him. He is holding a hockey stick and wearing gloves and a sweater with a simple drawing of a hockey stick on the front, and a large "A" below his left shoulder. Not wearing a helmet, he is looking to his right, and has a relaxed expression.

Öhlund with the Canucks in 2009

Four years after being drafted by the Canucks, Öhlund was set to be eligible to re-enter the NHL Entry Draft when he signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on August 1, 1997. Worth US$10 million over five years, including a signing bonus of $7.5 million, it was considerably more than the maximum rookie contract of $850,000 per year the Canucks, as the team that drafted Öhlund, were allowed to offer. Under league rules, the Canucks were given one week to either match the contract or trade Öhlund's NHL rights to the Maple Leafs. Rather than lose him, the Canucks agreed to the contract on August 7.[4]

As part of a promotion for the 1998 Winter Olympics, the first to allow NHL participation in the ice hockey tournament, the Canucks opened the 1997–98 NHL season with a pair of games against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Tokyo.[5] Öhlund thus played his first NHL game in Japan on October 3, 1997. He scored his first goal against Felix Potvin of the Toronto Maple Leafs on October 9, as well as earning his first assist in that game.[6] Playing 77 games as a rookie, he tied Jyrki Lumme for the team lead in scoring among defencemen with seven goals and 30 points.[7] In recognition of his play during the season, he was awarded the Babe Pratt Trophy, given to the Canucks' best defenceman.[8] In addition, Öhlund was nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the best rookie in the league, finishing second in voting to Sergei Samsonov of the Boston Bruins with 11 first-place ballots to Samsonov's 43.[9] His 30 points, the fifth best total among first year players and highest by a rookie defenceman, helped him earn a position on the NHL All-Rookie Team.[9]

In his second season in the NHL, Öhlund was selected to the annual NHL All-Star Game as a replacement for an injured player. Playing for the World team, composed of NHLers from outside North America, Öhlund scored one goal and had an assist as the North American team won, 8–6. With nine goals and 35 points in 74 games, Öhlund led the Canucks' defencemen in scoring and placed fifth overall on the team.[10]

Prior to the start of the 1999–00 NHL season, in a pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators on September 21, 1999, a puck deflected off Öhlund's stick and struck him in the right eye.[4] The injury forced Öhlund to miss the first 38 games of the season.[7] He underwent surgery to correct his vision and returned to the Canucks the same season and scored 20 points in 42 games, again winning the Babe Pratt Trophy as the Canucks' best defenceman.[8] The following year, he missed an additional 17 games after undergoing surgery once more to relieve building internal pressure on his eye.[11] Playing in his first game back in the lineup on November 28, 2000, Öhlund scored the game winning goal for the Canucks in a 4–1 win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.[12] Öhlund played the final 65 games of the season, scoring eight goals and 28 points. He also made his NHL playoff debut, recording four points in four games.[3]

The 2001–02 season saw Öhlund play 81 games and record a career-high 36 points, with an additional two points in six playoff games. A knee injury during the 2002–03 season led Öhlund to miss several games;[13] while he only scored 2 goals in the 59 games he played in, Öhlund set a career-high in assists with 27. That was followed by appearing in a career-high 13 playoff games, where he had three goals and four assists for seven points. In 2003–04, Öhlund tallied a career-high 14 goals and played in all 82 games with Vancouver for the first time in his career. For his efforts, Öhlund was named the winner of the Babe Pratt Trophy.[7]

Ice hockey player visible from the waist upwards. Holding his stick vertically down and wearing gloves, a sweater, and no helmet, he has a curious look, focusing on something in the distance.

Öhlund during a pre-game warm-up in 2009

The 2004–05 season was cancelled due to the 2004–05 NHL lockout. Like many other NHL players, Öhlund played in Europe, joining his former team, Luleå HF, on December 21. However eight days later, after playing two games with the team and scoring one goal, Öhlund left the team.[14] As well as briefly playing in Sweden, Öhlund took part in a charity hockey match set up by Canucks teammate Brad May and held in Vancouver on December 12, 2004. Including several NHL players, the game raised nearly $1 million for charity.[15] The NHL resumed play for the 2005–06 season; Öhlund recorded 33 points in 78 games, including leading Canucks defencemen with 13 goals, winning the Babe Pratt Trophy for the fourth time in his career.[7][16]

Early in the 2007–08 season, Öhlund received a four-game suspension, the first of his career, for an incident near the end of a November 16, 2007, game against the Minnesota Wild. In the third period, Wild forward Mikko Koivu hit Öhlund in the head with his elbow, and Öhlund retaliated by slashing Koivu in the leg with his stick, breaking Koivu's fibula.[17] After returning from the suspension, Öhlund became the Canucks' all-time leader in goals among defencemen, scoring the game-tying goal against the Edmonton Oilers on December 15, 2007, to pass former teammate Jyrki Lumme with 84 goals.[18] After bone chips were detected in his knee in early March 2008, Öhlund underwent knee surgery on March 13 and missed the remainder of the season. The leading scorer amongst Canuck defenceman at the time of the surgery, Öhlund finished second amongst defenceman with 24 points in 53 games.[6][19]

With the departure of Markus Näslund in the 2008 off-season, Öhlund became the longest serving player on the Canucks' roster.[20] Before the beginning of the 2008–09 season, Öhlund was named, along with Ryan Kesler and Willie Mitchell as alternate captains to goaltender Roberto Luongo, who replaced Näslund as captain. Due to the limitations of having a goalie as captain, Öhlund was designated the captain's traditional duty of taking ceremonial faceoffs.[21] Beginning the season 22 points behind Jyrki Lumme and Dennis Kearns for the franchise's all-time point-scoring record for a defenceman, Öhlund surpassed the mark on March 15, 2009, with an assist in a 4–2 win against the Colorado Avalanche for his 322nd point as a Canuck.[22] He played all 82 games for the second time in his career, and finished tied for third on the team for points by a defenceman with 25.[6]

Tampa Bay LightningEdit

Mattiasohlund lightning

Ohlund with the Lightning during the 2009-10 season.

Becoming an unrestricted free agent in the off-season, Öhlund signed a seven-year, $26.25-million contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on July 1, 2009.[23] Brought in as a mentor to fellow Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman, whom the Lightning drafted second overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft,[24] Öhlund was named an alternate captain of the Lightning.[25] His first game with the Lightning was on October 3, 2009, against the Atlanta Thrashers; Öhlund had one assist in the game.[26] Ohlund finished his first season with the Lightning with no goals and 13 assists in 67 games. It was the first time in his 12-year NHL career that he did not score a goal during the regular season.

International play Edit

Medal record
Competitor for Flag of Sweden Sweden
Ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Gold 2006 Turin
World Championships
Bronze 2001 Germany
Gold 1998 Switzerland
Silver 1997 Finland
World Junior Championships
Silver 1996 United States
Bronze 1995 Canada
Silver 1994 Czech Republic

Early in his career, Öhlund was selected to play in three World Junior Championships for Sweden. Beginning in 1994, he contributed two assists in seven games as part of a silver medal effort. As the medals were determined by a round-robin format, Sweden fell one point short of Canada, losing 6–4 to them in their final and deciding game. After a bronze medal in 1995, Öhlund returned for a third straight World Junior tournament in 1996 to record five assists and was named the tournament's Best Defenceman. He was additionally named to the Tournament All-Star Team as he captured his second World Junior silver medal.[7]

He made his debut for the Swedish senior national team in 1997 at the World Championships, his first of three appearances in the tournament. Öhlund scored two goals and added an assist in 11 games as Sweden captured a silver medal. He returned the following year in 1998 to match his previous statistical output while earning his first gold medal with Sweden. In his third World Championship appearance, the 2001 World Championships, Öhlund tallied five points to help Sweden to a bronze medal.[7]

The 1998 Winter Olympics was the first of three consecutive Olympic games Öhlund appeared in. He played in all four games for Sweden and registered one assist as Sweden finished in a tie for fifth place, out of medal contention.[27] Four years later, Öhlund was selected for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. However, in pre-Olympic drug testing by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Öhlund tested positive for the banned substance acetazolamide. The substance was inadvertently ingested after Öhlund took Diamox, a drug he had used previously while undergoing eye surgery.[28] As the ingestion was unintentional, he was cleared to play. After a dominant round-robin, Sweden was eliminated by Belarus in the quarter-final game—considered one of the biggest upsets in international hockey history and the darkest moment in Swedish hockey history.[16] Öhlund finished the tournament with two points in four games.

In the following Olympics, Öhlund helped Sweden to the 2006 gold medal in Turin. After earning two assists in six games, Öhlund was forced out of the tournament after getting hit into the boards and fracturing his ribs during a game against Switzerland.[29] Unable to play in the final against Finland, he nevertheless received a gold medal from the IOC. Canucks teammates, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who also played on the championship team, offered to give Öhlund one of their gold medals if the IOC would not give him one, while his replacement on the team, Niklas Kronwall, made the same offer.[30]

Additionally, Öhlund competed in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, which preceded the 2004–05 NHL lockout. In four games, he recorded one goal and one assist.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Growing up in Piteå, Öhlund idolized fellow Swedish defenceman Börje Salming, who played 17 seasons in the NHL.[7] He is married to wife Linda and has a daughter, Hannah, and a son, Viktor. They resided in Tampa during the hockey season,[31] but will be living in the Tampa Bay region, and return to Öhlund's hometown of Piteå, Sweden, in the summer.[32]

Career statistics Edit

Regular season and playoffsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1992–93 Piteå HC Swe-2 22 0 6 6 16
1993–94 Piteå HC Swe-2 28 7 10 17 66
1994–95 Luleå HF SEL 34 6 10 16 34 9 4 0 4 16
1995–96 Luleå HF SEL 38 4 10 14 26 13 1 0 1 47
1996–97 Luleå HF SEL 47 7 9 16 38 10 1 2 3 8
1997–98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 77 7 23 30 76
1998–99 Vancouver Canucks NHL 74 9 26 35 83
1999–00 Vancouver Canucks NHL 42 4 16 20 24
2000–01 Vancouver Canucks NHL 65 8 20 28 46 4 1 3 4 6
2001–02 Vancouver Canucks NHL 81 10 26 36 56 6 1 1 2 6
2002–03 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 2 27 29 42 13 3 4 7 12
2003–04 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 14 20 34 73 7 1 4 5 13
2004–05 Luleå HF SEL 2 1 0 1 4
2005–06 Vancouver Canucks NHL 78 13 20 33 92
2006–07 Vancouver Canucks NHL 77 11 20 31 80 12 2 5 7 12
2007–08 Vancouver Canucks NHL 53 9 15 24 79
2008–09 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 6 19 25 105 10 1 2 3 6
2009–10 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 67 0 13 13 59
NHL totals 837 93 245 338 815 52 9 19 28 55

International statistics Edit

Year Team Event   GP G A Pts PIM
1994 Sweden WJC 7 0 2 2 2
1995 Sweden WJC 7 1 0 1 4
1996 Sweden WJC 7 0 5 5 32
1997 Sweden WC 11 2 1 3 12
1998 Sweden Oly 4 0 1 1 4
1998 Sweden WC 10 2 1 3 8
2001 Sweden WC 9 2 3 5 12
2002 Sweden Oly 4 0 2 2 2
2004 Sweden WCup 4 1 0 1 0
2006 Sweden Oly 6 0 2 2 2
Junior int'l totals 21 1 7 8 38
Senior int'l totals 48 7 10 17 40

All-Star GamesEdit

Year Location   G A P
1999 Tampa 1 1 2
All-Star totals 1 1 2
  • All stats taken from[33]



Award Year(s)
NHL All-Rookie Team 1998


Award Year
World Junior Championships Best Defenceman 1996
World Junior Championships All-Star Team 1996

Vancouver Canucks team awardsEdit

Award Year
Babe Pratt Trophy 1998, 2000, 2004, 2006


  • Vancouver Canucks' franchise goals leader among defencemen - 93
  • Vancouver Canucks' franchise points leader among defencemen - 325


  1. Legends of Hockey (2009). Mattias Öhlund Page. Legends of Hockey. Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  2. Rud, Jeff (2006). Canucks Legends: Vancouver's Hockey Heroes. Vancouver: Raincoast Books. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 National Hockey League (2009). National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 2010. Toronto: Dan Diamond & Associates, Inc., 496. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 CNN/SI (1997-08-07). Canucks match offer sheet for Swedish D Mattias Ohlund. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2009-10-01.
  5. Hughes, Morgan (2003). Hockey Chronicle: Year-by-Year History of the National Hockey League. Lincolnwood, Illinois: Publications International, Ltd., 592. ISBN 0-7853-9624-1. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Tampa Bay Lightning (2009). 2009–10 Tampa Bay Lightning Media Guide. Tampa: Tampa Bay Lightning, 37. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Vancouver Canucks (2008). 2008–09 Vancouver Canucks Media Guide. Vancouver: Hemlock Printers Ltd., 63. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Vancouver Canucks. 2008–09 Vancouver Canucks Media Guide, 209. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 National Hockey League (1998). 1999 NHL Yearbook. Toronto: Worldsport Properties, 60. 
  10. Podnieks, Andrew (2000). The NHL All-Star Game: Fifty Years of the Great Tradition. Toronto: HarperCollins, 259. 
  11. CBC Sports (2001-10-05). "Ohlund's contract extended". Retrieved on 2008-07-30.
  12. CBC Sports (2000-11-28). "Ohlund returns to lead Canucks over Ducks". Retrieved on 2009-05-17.
  13. CBC Sports (2002-12-17). "Canucks depth to receive first true test". Retrieved on 2009-05-17.
  14. Podnieks, Andrew (2005). The Lost Season: A Year in Hockey Without the NHL. Bolton, Ontario: Fenn Publishing, 113. 
  15. Podnieks. The Lost Season, 23. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 National Hockey League (2006). 2007 NHL Yearbook. Toronto: CCMC, 199. 
  17. Jamieson, Jim. "Ohlund gets 4 games for Wild slash", The Province, 2007-11-19. Retrieved on 2009-10-13. 
  18. Harland, Kyle (2007-12-16). "Shootout Shoot-down". Retrieved on 2009-10-03.
  19. Associated Press (2008-03-13). "Canucks' Ohlund out for season following knee surgery". Retrieved on 2009-10-13.
  20. Pap, Elliott. "Ohlund wants Sundin to choose Vancouver", Vancouver Sun, 2008-07-07. Retrieved on 2008-07-30. 
  21. Pap, Elliott. "Canucks name Luongo new team captain", Vancouver Sun, 2008-07-07. Retrieved on 2008-09-30. 
  22. Pap, Elliott. "Ohlund is a 'real stats boy'", Vancouver Sun, 2009-03-15. Retrieved on 2009-10-03. 
  23. Pap, Elliott. "Ohlund bolts for big cash in Tampa Bay", 'Vancouver Sun', 2009-07-02. Retrieved on 2009-07-02. 
  24. Tampa Bay Lightning (2009-07-01). "Lightning Sign Free Agent Defenseman Mattias Ohlund". Tampa Bay Lightning. Retrieved on 2009-10-05.
  25. Cristodero, Damian. "Tampa Bay Lightning makes new defenseman Mattias Ohlund alternate captain", 'St. Petersburg Times', 2009-10-02. Retrieved on 2009-10-05. 
  26. "Thrashers rip Lightning 6-3 in opener". National Hockey League (2009-10-03). Retrieved on 2009-10-05.
  27. National Hockey League (1998). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book 1998–99. Toronto: Dan Diamond & Associates, Inc., 129–31. 
  28. CBC Sports (2002-01-18). "Canucks' Ohlund tests positive for banned substance". Retrieved on 2008-07-30.
  29. TSN (2006-02-23). "Sweden's Ohlund knocked out of Olympics". Retrieved on 2009-10-05.
  30. McIntyre, Gordon. "Ohlund to skate, Salo needs tests", The Province, 2006-02-28. Retrieved on 2006-12-02. 
  31. "Mattias Ohlund in a sunshine state with Bolts", Vancouver Sun, 2009-10-26. Retrieved on 2009-11-05. 
  32. MacIntyre, Iain. "Not forever a Canuck, classy Ohlund plays on", Vancouver Sun, 2009-02-02. Retrieved on 2009-10-03. 
  33. NHL (2009). NHL Profile. Retrieved on 2009-03-20.

External links Edit

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