Site Editor's Note: Yes, we are nakedly pandering to the Danish vote on a lazy Sunday, but we always enjoy contributions from our international readers, and the following FanPost is a nice run-down of the now-growing recent history of Danes selected via the NHL Entry Draft.
Previously, Lighthouse Hockey has looked at the development of Danish hockey in 2010 and via this translation of a Nielsen interview here. Also, a pre-World Championships article out of Copenhagen this spring provided insight into how the Danes are trying to move to the next level and away from just-glad-to-be-here underdogs. Original post follows:
Let me start by saying, that I’m something as rare as a Danish Islanders fan. I started following NHL intensely when Frans joined the Islanders.
Since then I have seen almost every Danish draftee breakthrough in the NHL. Here is a list of all the Danish players drafted since Frans Nielsen in 2002:
Frans Nielsen (87th overall in 2002): No explanation necessary.
Peter Regin (87th overall in 2004): He’s a very talented center playing in Ottawa, but he has been injured quite a bit the last couple of seasons. When he was on the top of his game, he played 2nd center in Ottawa. Now if he stays healthy he’s probably 3rd center behind Kyle Turris. His NHL stats are: 151-19-33-52
Jannick Hansen (287th overall in 2004): A solid top 6 powerforward in Vancouver. He’s a tough guy to play against, and he’s very responsible defensively. Besides from this he has a pretty good point-production. His NHL stats are: 271-40-64-104
Morten Madsen (122nd in 2005): He’s a center drafted by Minnesota, but he has never played a game in the NHL. He’s currently playing in the Swedish Elite League and he’s an important part of the Danish national team.
Lars Eller (13th overall in 2007): He was drafted by St. Louis, but he only played 7 games as a Blues-player. He was then traded to Montreal where he now has two full seasons under his belt. He’s a decent NHL’er, and he can play as a center or as a winger. He did score 4 goals in one game during the 11/12 regular season, so that’s pretty amazing. His NHL totals are: 163-25-22-47
Mikkel Bødker (8th overall in 2008): You guys probably know him as Mikkel Boedker. He plays in Phoenix and he’s a very physical player, but he was perhaps rushed into the NHL in his first year as a pro. After that he played two years split between AHL and NHL. During the playoffs 11/12 he shoved some of his potential, and he’s still just 22 years old. He will become a very good player in time. His stats: 208-27-42-69
Philip Larsen (149th overall in 2008): The first Danish NHL-defenseman. He plays in Dallas and he had 55 games last season, so he’s becoming a regular defenseman in the NHL. He’s an offensive defender that’s very good on the powerplay. By the way he was a plus-11 guy last season. His stats: 63-3-11-14
Oliver Lauridsen (196th overall in 2009): He’s a very big defenseman (6´6" and 220). He had three years in college and next season he’s probably playing in the AHL. He might get a few games with the big guys. In time he could become a decent 3rd pair defenseman in the NHL. He definitely has the right physical attributes.
Frederik Andersen (187th in 2010 and 87th in 2012): Frederik is a very big goalkeeper that was drafted for the first time back in 2010 by Carolina. However, since he didn’t sign with Carolina this summer he reentered the draft in 2012. This time Anaheim picked him up. Last year he played in SEL and he had a very, very good season. He had 8 shutouts and beat Lundquist’s old record of seven. His regular season stats in Sweden: G-39, GAA-1.62, SVS%-94.3.
I think he’s going to play in the AHL next year, but he might become the backup for Jonas Hiller in Anaheim.
Nicklas Jensen (29th overall in 2011): He was drafted by Vancouver in 2011, and he might be the best prospect in their organization. I think he’s going to play in the NHL next year. He’s definitely going to play there someday.
To sum up, 11 players (including Frans) have been drafted since 2002. Six of them play in the NHL on a regular basis, 1 is definitely going to play in the NHL one day (Nicklas Jensen), 1 will probably never play in the NHL (Morten Madsen) and the last 3 may or may not have NHL careers.
My suggestion to Garth Snow is therefore to always go for a Danish guy in the draft. Then there’s 80-90 percent chance he will be in the NHL one day.
By the way I can’t promise it's 100 percent correct English, but I have done my best so I hope you guys understand it. Feel free to comment.