It was a short-lived NHL comeback for goaltender Niklas Svedberg. The 28-year-old free agent returned from two years abroad in the KHL with a one-year deal with the Minnesota Wild, but is now reportedly headed back to his native Sweden. A Swedish newspaper, the Kvalls Posten, revealed that Svedberg has agreed to terms with Timra IK of the SHL and two sides are hammering out the details of a contract, per GM Kent Norberg.
Svedberg originally made a name for himself in Sweden, breaking into the elite ranks with MODO at just 17 years old in 2007-08. He played five seasons in the SHL, including three as a starter, and led Brynas IF to the championship in 2012. Following his success overseas, the undrafted keeper signed a two-year deal with the Boston Bruins. Svedberg entered the NHL with high expectations that a combination of underwhelming performance and a lack of opportunity has kept him from reaching. In his first year in Boston, Svedberg was blocked by the emergence of Anton Khudobin as the backup to Tuukka Rask and did not play a single game in the NHL that year for the eventual Eastern Conference champions. However, he did post top marks in the AHL. The next season, Svedberg finally made his debut, but was held to just the one impressive outing as Boston again got reliable backup play, this time from Chad Johnson. Meanwhile, his play dropped off in the AHL. Finally, in 2014-15, Svedberg was promised the backup job in Boston and re-signed with the team. He performed well, posting a .918 SV% and 2.33 GAA, but did so in just 18 appearances as Rask started 70 games.
Seemingly was fed up with his role in Boston and unable to find work elsewhere in the league, Sveberg left for the KHL in 2015 and proceeded to serve as the starter for Salavat Yulaev Ufa for the next two seasons. Although he was the unchallenged starter, Svedberg’s performance in the KHL last year was the worst of his pro career and the journeyman goalie decided he would settle for a backup job in the NHL, signing with the Minnesota Wild last summer. Again, Svedberg’s luck was poor; he expected to replace Darcy Kuemper as the backup to Devan Dubnyk, but instead lost the job in camp to Alex Stalock and did not make an appearance with Minnesota this year. His performance with AHL Iowa was pedestrian as well.
Now, Svedberg seems to be content to just head home to Sweden and make his living as a starter in the SHL. He has his work cut out for him with Timra, who return to the country’s top league after being relegated back in 2013. The team has some promising young talent up front, but the adjustment to tougher competition will be much smoother with Svedberg in net. With that said, a recently promoted team is unlikely to be immediately successful and Svedberg may not put up flashy numbers with the team. As such, it may be hard for him to work his way back into the international spotlight. The NHL may have seen the last of Svedberg.