After being recruited by his former team all summer, Toby Enstrom has finally made the decision to return to Sweden for the upcoming season. The veteran defenseman has signed a one-year contract with MODO, the club he played with before coming to the NHL.
It will be a big jump for Enstrom, who goes from playing in the NHL to the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second league. MODO was relegated from the SHL in recent seasons, and are trying to claw their way back up to the highest league in the country. He’ll also be joining his brother Tommy Enstrom who returned to the club in 2016-17 and wore an “A” as an alternate captain last season.
If this is the end of his NHL career, Enstrom will leave after 719 games in the league all played with the same franchise. Selected 239th overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2003, when Enstrom made his debut in 2007 for the club he didn’t look back. Scoring 38 points as a rookie, he immediately became the most reliable defenseman in the Thrashers organization and logged more than 24 minutes a night in his first year. Eventually hitting a career-high of 51 points in the 2010-11 season, Enstrom would then join the Thrashers as they relocated to Winnipeg, where he played another seven seasons.
Unfortunately things didn’t end on a high note for Enstrom, who sat as a healthy scratch in the playoffs and was overtaken by younger options in Winnipeg. He certainly could have helped an NHL team in 2018-19, but instead will return home and likely dominate the lower league. Turning 34 in November, he remains an excellent example of how undersized defensemen were overlooked for years in the NHL draft, as only Brent Burns, Shea Weber, Dustin Byfuglien, Dion Phaneuf and Brent Seabrook rank ahead of him in points among defensemen from the 2003 group.