It’s already been a busy off-season for European players crossing the Atlantic to join the NHL ranks, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. Add forward Filip Sandberg to the list of names expected to be skating in North America next season. The Swedish forward has not been identified as an NHL target by any of the more well-known media outlets on this continent, but Swedish news source Jönköpings Posten, “JP”, makes it sound like a forgone conclusion that Sandberg is headed overseas. (link and article in Swedish)
The JP article specifically names the Detroit Red Wings as a suitor for Sandberg’s services, but expect many teams to be bidding for the young Swede. At 22 years old, the versatile Sandberg can play all three forward positions and shows two-way ability often unseen in Europe. He also has a high level of hockey intelligence, positioning, and vision, making him an ideal play-maker, especially when lined up at center. While his size – 5’9″, 181-lbs. – could be seen as a hindrance to success at the NHL level, it hasn’t held him back so far. For a smaller player, Sandberg is tenacious along the boards and on the forecheck.
Assuming Sandberg signs in the NHL. its yet another big loss for his Swedish Hockey League club, HV71. They signed minor league MVP Victor Ejdsell to a contract earlier this off-season, only to watch him sign with the Nashville Predators as well and put his status with the team in doubt. Then, just yesterday, 21-year-old star stay-at-home defenseman Andreas Borgman announced he would be leaving the team and within hours was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The same quick turnaround could occur following the rumors surrounding Sandberg, as not only does he have great ability and just finished the best season of his career, but he is also fresh off the highest-scoring stretch of his career as well, tallying 14 points in 16 games for HV71 in the postseason. The team did re-sign Sandberg to a two-year extension back in February, but as the JP article states, those contracts mean little when NHL teams come calling. Sanberg seems likely to be joining Borgman in North America sooner rather than later.