Kristian Huselius could not have had a much greater season than this past one. He was chosen MVP by the players in the SEL and received the “Golden Helmet”. 111 players had voted Huselius as the #1 player in the league out of 255 players total. Everyone had the opportunity to vote on three players, #1, #2 and the #3 in the league. Here’s how the voting ended:
1. Kristian Huselius, Frölunda
2. Mikael Renberg, Luleå – Returning NHL’er who was very dominating
3. Mikael Tellqvist, Djurgården – Toronto prospect was the best goalie in the league.
4. Tim Thomas, AIK – American goalie who was virtually unstoppable.
5. Jörgen Jönsson, Färjestad – Returning NHL’er who’s perhaps the most complete player in Sweden.
After last years season Huselius made the decision to stay with Frölunda instead of joining the Florida Panthers. He was offered a 3-year contract worth 20 million Swedish crowns, approximately 2 million US Dollars. Huselius felt that it was the correct decision although he thought about signing the contract. And it sure was the right choice looking at his incredible season in the Swedish Elite League.
SEL Regular Season
· Huselius scored the most points: 67 in 49 regular season games which was 13 points better than the 2nd best player, Mikael Renberg, and 14 points better
than Juha Riihijärvi’s 53 points.
· Huselius scored the most goals: 32 , 9 better than Orszagh’s 23 goals.
· Huselius was registered for most assists: 35
· Huselius scored most goals in power-play: 10
· Huselius scored most shorthanded goals: 5
· Huselius scored most game-winning goals: 9
No one can say that Huselius didn’t deserve to win the Golden Helmet, which is the finest among the awards in Swedish Elite League.
So why did everything go Kristian’s way?
Well, there are a couple of reasons actually. First of all Huselius was more mature and he had had his ups and downs during his earlier seasons.
2nd of all he saw plenty of ice-time, not only due to his enormous play but also because the coach, Tommy Boustedt. Boustedt really likes and appreciate Huselius’ way of playing hockey. They both identify with each other and Boustedt is perhaps more understanding than Huselius’ former coaches, who weren’t that fond of his artistic play.
A third reason is line mate, Jonas Johnsson. Johnsson is a big and powerful player and with Huselius and Johnsson on the same line Frölunda had arguably the most dynamic duo in the league. They complemented each other in an impressive way.
Frölunda didn’t reach the 2nd round of the playoffs, and instead they lost 4-1 in the series against Färjestad. Färjestad was led by its top players, Jörgen Jönsson, Marcel Jenni, Christian Berglund and Radek Hamr, and they were just too strong in the series.
Although Frölunda lost they still played well and many thought that they would actually be capable of winning the series after the 9-3 victory in game three.
In the same game Huselius had his best night throughout the season. He scored 2 goals and 3 assists and more importantly he could have scored another 5
Huselius was everywhere. He tore Färjestad’s defense apart and there was no way of stopping him. The question is whether a Swedish player ever has
dominated a game like Huselius did that very night.
When Frölunda had lost the series, 9 points had been registered by Florida’s top prospect, 4 goals and 5 assists in 5 playoff games
The World Championships
The expectations for Kristian Huselius before the tournament were very high. Everyone had seen what he was capable of doing in the league. However something was wrong with Huselius play. In the pre-WC games against Finland, Switzerland and Slovakia, Huselius was more or less invisible. He didn’t skate as usual and it seemed that he was afraid of using his great technical skills in order to provide offense.
His not very convincing play continued when the tournament finally started and Huselius’ game was very inconsistent. An odd thing is that he had the most problems playing well against the poorer teams like Ukraine and Austria. But overall his World Championship tournament wasn’t totally bad, he sometimes shined like in the game against Finland and the bronze game against the USA.
In 9 WC games Huselius managed two goals and 3 assists.
Huselius has been thinking a lot on the NHL and it is no secret that his biggest dream is to play in the “big league”. He turned down Florida’s offer
last year and it’s hard to imagine that he’ll do the same thing this year. Huselius might be a little bit scared of not making the Panthers team and being in the danger zone to be sent down to the minors. He knows that he doesn’t play very physical and his defense isn’t that good, although it’s not really bad either.
One thing is for sure, Huselius is leaving the Swedish Elite League as a King.
This article was provided for the Panthers page by Johan Nilson, the Editor of Elite Prospects, Hockey’s Future sister site.
As always, if you want to be put on the Panther mailing list to recieve automated updates to the page, please E-mail me here.