Sammy Pahlsson, in my opinion, is the best two-way forward of this generation. I have had a chance to watch him play many times over the years and have always been impressed with his abilities. During the 2006-07 season, I was fortunate enough to come across several games where the opposing team iced a line with Jaromir Jagr and Sidney Crosby on it. Sammy Pahlsson’s line managed to shut down both players for almost all of those games.
On December 8th, 2007, I attended a game between the Vancouver Canucks and Columbus Blue Jackets at GM Place in Vancouver. I was able to observe in person as Mr. Pahlsson’s line matched up against the Canucks’ first line that included Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Markus Naslund. Despite being outshot by a wide margin, Mr. Pahlsson’s line managed to contain the Sedins for most of that game.
My point is this: if Mr. Pahlsson’s team has any chance to win against an opponent with such talent as Crosby or Jagr or the Sedins or Naslund, he will be an incredible asset. His defensive abilities are extremely underrated while his offensive contribution gets little notice because he plays on such a low
“Sammy Pahlsson has made his mark as one of the best two-way forwards of this generation.”
This statement, which recently appeared on the Swedish news site aftonbladet.se, might surprise some people. To the average hockey fan, Pahlsson is not a household name. He has never been selected to play in an NHL All-Star game. He has never won a major award. He was never drafted and played his first few years in North America in relative obscurity with teams such as the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League (USHL). But if you look beyond the stats and the awards, you’ll notice that for years now, he has been one of the most valuable players on whatever team he plays for.
Pahlsson is currently playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he was recently traded from Anaheim where he spent seven seasons and helped them win a Stanley Cup championship in 2007. His value to that team should not be underestimated; he often played against other teams’ top lines and was a fixture on their penalty kill unit. In fact, it was during Anaheim’s run to the Stanley Cup when many people first began to take notice of him. So what makes him such
The NHL is a league that loves offense. From Gretzky to Crosby, players whose names are synonymous with scoring come to mind before checking forwards. Yet, there’s a lost art in the NHL–playing both ways. Playing both ways means taking the face-offs and blocking shots, but it also means creating on the offensive end. The best two-way forward in the game today is our own very own Sammy Pahlsson.
Playing both ways is where Sammy’s impact has been most valuable. His 20 goals were as many as other two-way forwards like Travis Moen, David Backes, John Madden, and Steve Ott. His 50 points were as many as other two-way forwards like Max Talbot and John Madden. He also managed to be an average defensive player by being +6 on a bad defensive team.
Sammy led all Ducks forwards in blocked shots (68), hits (176), takeaways (61) and won 53% of his face-offs while playing against the opposing team’s best center almost every night. He was third among all Ducks forwards in playing time behind Getzlaf and Perry, but played nearly three minutes more per game than Corey Perry and six whole minutes more per game than Ryan Getzlaf this season,
Sammy Pahlsson, now playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, is one of the best two-way forwards in NHL history. He is an elite penalty killer, and he has been a dominant defensive player for more than a decade.
Sammy Pahlsson was born in Sweden in 1977. His career started with MODO Hockey in the Swedish Elite League. He won a gold medal at the 1997 World Junior Championships with Sweden. In 1998, he won another gold medal with his country at the Men’s Ice Hockey World Championship tournament.
In 1996, Pahlsson was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks as a sixth-round pick. He played for the Ducks from 2000 to 2007 and helped them win a Stanley Cup in 2007. On March 3, 2008, he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks where he played for a season and half before he was moved to the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2009-2010 season.
He has been known as a defensive specialist throughout his career, but he can play offense too; he had 19 points during his first full season with Anaheim and went on to have a career high of 29 points twice (2004-2005 & 2006-2007). He also scored 11 goals twice (2003-2004 & 2004-2005) while playing for Anaheim
Sammy Pahlsson is one of those players who make you believe there is a hockey God.
You can see him in the left circle, stick held low, ready to poke-check the puck carrier as he attempts to wheel around him. With his other hand he’s waving frantically, calling for the pass that will spring him on a breakaway.
Welcome to Sammy Pahlsson’s world: where he can play defense like Bobby Orr and offense like Wayne Gretzky — at least on some nights.
“He does it all,” says teammate Travis Moen. “He scores big goals for us, he kills penalties for us, plays the power play — and he blocks shots.”
The 29-year-old from Ange, Sweden, has become one of the most intriguing players in the game by showing that being a great two-way player isn’t necessarily an oxymoron. For years we’ve been told that if you are good enough offensively you can’t be trusted in your own end of the ice; if you play strong defensively you’re going to be limited offensively. But Pahlsson has forged his reputation as one of the best checkers in the league while increasing his offensive contributions each season.
In the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, a little-known center named Sammy Pahlsson became famous for his defensive prowess. In an era when the game is dominated by offensive-minded players, Pahlsson was a throwback: he played with grit, determination, and a physical edge. His play helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup.
After the series, I read an article about him in which he said that he felt like he could have been more effective if not for penalties. “I don’t want to stop playing my game,” he continued, “but there are things you can do and things you can’t do. And now I know what I can do.”
In other words: Pahlsson knew that there were parts of his game that were hurting his team more than they were helping. He adjusted his style of play accordingly.
Most people don’t realize this, but most hockey players aren’t great skaters or scorers or passers or shooters; they just know how to put those skills together effectively. Pahlsson did something similar: he took all of his talents—physicality, aggressiveness, defensive skill—and combined them into a style of play that was uniquely effective.
Pahlsson’s style was unusual because it emphasized defense over
Sammy Pahlsson was a member of the 2005-06 Anaheim Ducks, the first team in over 30 years to win the Stanley Cup with a roster that was more than 50% European. The only other team to do so since the league expanded in 1967 was the 1971 Montreal Canadiens. In fact, only three teams since 1967 have even been predominantly non-North American: the 1987 Edmonton Oilers, 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins and 2006 Carolina Hurricanes.
Pahlsson’s role on that Ducks team was as a defensive forward whose job it was to shut down opponents’ top lines and kill penalties. He played most of his minutes at even strength against opposing teams’ best forwards and still managed to finish +10 on the season. He also led all forwards in ice time per game on the penalty kill (3:02) and scored only one point on 5v4. If you are looking for a comparable NHL player, you may want to begin by looking at defensemen.
The second thing you need to know about Sammy Pahlsson is that he is not very fast. He’s not slow, but he’s not fast either. This is an important distinction because it means that if you are trying to compare him to other players, you have to remember that he’s not trying