Niklas Svedberg 29 in 2015-2016 with Salavat Yulaev
Henrik Karlsson 25 in 2015-2016 with Jokerit, and 2016-2017 and 2018-2019 with Barys
The native of Sollentuna had a breakout season in his first year in the KHL. Signing with Salavat Yulaev after three seasons in North America, he had an incredible 2015-2016 season, posting 29 wins and five shutouts helping the team reaching the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. In the postseason, Svedberg was just as impressive, backstopping Ufa to the Conference finals, where the Greenmen had to surrender to Metallurg. After a further season in Bashkortostan, Svedberg signed in North America, then returned to Sweden, where he still plays today.
One of the longest import goalies to serve in the KHL, Henrik Karlsson first signed in the KHL with Avangard in 2014. He will then move to Jokerit, where he had an impressive 49 wins in two years. With Barys, he will reach another two times the 25-win mark. Reaching 25 wins in a single season is an achievement that not so many KHL goalies can boast, and Karlsson conquered it three times. After his first season with Barys, he accepted to play for the Kazakh national team as he got his citizenship in the country. Karlsson, who will turn 37 in November, will line up for Nur-Sultan for the upcoming season.
Lars Johansson 9 in 2018-2019 with CSKA
Magnus Hellberg 8 in 2018-2019 with SKA
Two excellent goalies, Johansson and Hellberg didn’t reach the single-season wins standings because they shared their duties with two outstanding Russian goalies in Ilya Sorokin and Igor Shestyorkin, respectively.
Lars Johansson played three seasons so far with CSKA, and the highest GAA he posted is 1.40 — proof of both his ability and the Armymen’s tight defense. He had a record-breaking nine shutouts in 2018-2019 when he helped CSKA winning the Gagarin Cup and was called to the league’s All-Star Game in Kazan. With Sorokin leaving CSKA, it’s expected that Johansson will finally have a chance to be the team’s number one goalie next year.
Unlike Johansson, Hellberg already had his chance to be a KHL team starting goalie in his first season with Kunlun Red Star. After representing Sweden at the Olympic Games and IIHF WC levels, Hellberg moved to SKA, where he initially shared starts with Igor Shestyorkin. However, in 2018-2019, Hellberg was instrumental for SKA’s success in the regular season as he posted his best season in the KHL to date with eight shutouts and 24 wins. Next year, Hellberg will likely be SKA’s number one option on goal.
Patrik Hersley 35 (14+21) in 43 games in 2017-2018 with SKA
Staffan Kronwall 35 (10+25) in 55 games in 2017-2018 with Lokomotiv
Magnus Johansson 34 (7+27) in 53 games in 2008-2009 with Atlant
A fixture in the top-scoring D-men standings, Patrik Hersley had a career-high 35 points in 2017-2018 with SKA. After helping SKA winning the Gagarin Cup scoring more than a point per game in 2017, Hersley had a fantastic campaign in 2017-2018, where he also made the KHL All-Star Game. Naturally, he also represented the Tre Kronor at the Olympic Games in South Korea. With his cannon of a slapshot, Hersley terrified the opposition goalies for the whole season, netting a whopping 14 goals in just 43 games — more than a goal every third game, definitely an impressive figure for a defenseman. After a further season with SKA — with another 14 goals — Hersley signed with Spartak, where he will line up for the 2020-2021 campaign.
Yet another long-serving import, Staffan Kronwall played nine years in the KHL, with only his first one being for another team different from Lokomotiv. With Severstal, Kronwall had 17 (4+13) points, but his production skyrocketed with Lokomotiv, especially in the early years, to peak in the 2017-2018 season. Regularly one of the top defensemen in the league, Kronwall announced his retirement in March after more than 500 games in the league, and an IIHF WC gold medal won wearing the “C” on his Tre Kronor jersey.
In the league’s inaugural season, Magnus Johansson was one of the best defensemen. The veteran blueliner, who signed in Russia in his 35, was a crucial player not only for Atlant but also for the Swedish national team. Johansson also participated in the league’s first All-Star Game on the Red Square, helping Team Jagr defeating Team Yashin. After lining up with Atlant, he returned to his native Linkoping in Sweden, where he retired in 2015.
Patrik Hersley 16 in 2014-2015 in 56 games with Sibir, 14 in 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 with SKA
Staffan Kronwall 10 in 2012-2013 and 2017-2018 with Lokomotiv
Hersley’s name is mostly tied with SKA and his current team, Spartak. However, he had a fantastic season with Sibir in 2014-2015, when he netted 16 goals in his first year in the league. That year was the best for Sibir as they reached the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in the KHL history. Hersley was a crucial figure in the postseason as well, scoring 9 (3+6) points in 12 games for Novosibirsk, who surrendered to Ak Bars.
Magnus Johansson +33 in 2008-2009 with Atlant
Klas Dahlback +24 in 2018-2019 with CSKA
Johansson’s campaign in 2008-2009 was impressive not only for his 34 points, but also for his incredible +33 rating — a feat that no other Swedish defenseman came even close to repeating, and is still one of the best-ever performance by a blueliner.
Klas Dahlback is less flashy than Johansson and doesn’t shoot as powerfully as Hersley, but is equally reliable. In his two seasons with the Armymen, he posted +24 and +22 ratings, earning a new contract for the next two seasons with the Red Army. CSKA will change a significant part of his roster next year, and it will be interesting to check whether Dahlback will manage to keep on his high plus-minus ratings.
Tony Martensson 61 (23+38) in 54 games with SKA in 2011-2012
Mattias Weinhandl 60 (26+34) in 56 games with Dynamo in 2009-2010
Forget about Omark. A decade ago, the leading Swedish players were Martensson and Weinhandl — both posting single-season career-highs superior to what Omark ever reached. Martensson first signed in the KHL for the league’s inaugural season. Playing with Ak Bars Kazan, he found incredible chemistry with Alexei Morozov and Danis Zaripov, helping the Tatarstan franchise winning the first-ever Gagarin Cup. After a year at home, Martensson returned to the KHL in 2010, signing with SKA. On the Neva river’s shores, Martensson played five highly productive seasons, reaching his peak in the 2011-2012 campaign when he posted an impressive 61 points — 20 more than SKA’s second scorer, Patrick Thoresen. However, he needed to wait until his last campaign with SKA, in 2015, to finally lift his second Gagarin Cup. After his tenure in the KHL, Martensson played in Switzerland and Sweden and announced his retirement in April.
Different from Martensson, Weinhandl never won the Gagarin Cup. However, he always scored tons of points, especially with Dynamo. With the Blue-and-Whites, the Tre Kronor forward posted an impressive 26 goals and 60 points. He also helped Dynamo winning the prestigious Spengler Cup back in 2009. After his four years in the KHL, Weinhandl returned to Sweden, then had to retire for post-concussion symptoms in 2014.
Mattias Weinhandl 26 in 56 games in 2009-2010 with Dynamo Moscow
Martin Thornberg 26 in 52 games in 2012-2013 with Torpedo
Linus Videll 24 in 49 games in 2018-2019 with Dinamo Riga
Richard Gynge 24 in 57 games in 2016-2017 with Neftekhimik
A highly productive player, Thornberg only played four seasons in the KHL. The Swedish had his best season in 2012-2013 with Torpedo, when he scored an impressive 26 goals, including a natural hat-trick against Spartak in Sep. 2012. On that day, Thornberg scored all the goals for his team in the home 3-0 win over the Red-and-Whites. After lighting the lamp in Nizhny Novgorod, Thornberg moved to HC Lev, where he reached the Gagarin Cup finals in 2014, scoring seven goals in the postseason. After a less impressive season with Lokomotiv, the Swedish scorer returned home, where he lined up last year.
One of the best Swedish players in the league in the latest few years, Videll had perhaps his best season in 2018-2019, when he and Matt Maione were lethal on the powerplay for Dinamo Riga. He netted 24 goals that year, but the Latvian franchise failed to reach the playoffs. After his impressive campaign in Riga, Videll moved to Barys, where he keeps on playing.
At his top, Gynge was an impressive scorer at the KHL level. In 2016-2017, he was in his best shape and posted 24 goals with Neftekhimik. He kept on scoring at a high pace with Traktor in the next year, but injuries and inconsistency cut his career short in the KHL. In the following year, the 33-years-old veteran will play in the SHL.
Linus Omark 42 in 55 games in 2016-2017 and 42 in 59 games in 2019-2020 with Salavat Yulaev
Tony Martensson 38 in 54 games in 2011-2012 with SKA
If there’s a category where Omark is second to none, it’s assists. The flamboyant Swedish veteran is at the top five of single-season assist rankings, ranging from 42 to 39. Limpa also had an impressive 30-assist campaign in 2014-2015 with Jokerit, his first adventure in the KHL. After five seasons in Ufa, however, Omark decided to leave the league and signed a two-year deal with Geneve Servette in Switzerland’s top league.
For the purposes of this series, players who took a second nationality after moving to the KHL are counted according to their nationality when the first joined the league.