SUNRISE, FL – Florida Panthers Assistant General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced today that the club has agreed in principle with its top two European prospects, Swedish left wing Kristian Huselius and Finnish left wing Niklas Hagman. Both players led their teams in goals last season and have represented their countries in numerous world tournaments.
Huselius, the Panthers’ second choice (47th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, led the entire Swedish League last season in goals (32), assists (35), points (67), power play goals (10), shorthanded goals (5), and game-winning goals (9) in 49 games. It marked the first time a player swept all six categories in Swedish League history and it is believed to be a first in any major European league. Playing for Vastra Frolunda, the 22-year-old (11/10/78) tied for the team lead in plus/minus (+15) and added a team-leading nine points (4-5-9) in five playoff games. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Huselius stands 6’ 1” and weighs 195 pounds. Huselius also participated in the World Championships in Germany this past year helping Sweden to a 3-2 bronze medal victory over the United States. He finished tied for seventh on his team in scoring with two goals and three assists in nine tournament games.
“Kristian is a gifted offensive player who adeptly combines excellent puck handling skills with tremendous speed,” stated Fletcher. “After an initial adjustment period to NHL-style hockey, we expect him to be a quality offensive player for our organization for years to come.”
Hagman, the Panthers’ third choice (70th overall) in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, finished first in goals (28) and second in points (46) in 56 games with Karpat Oulu of the Finnish Elite League. The 21-year-old (12/5/79) finished third in team playoff points (4) and tied for first in goals (3) in eight playoff contests. Hagman was born in Helsinki, Finland, and is 6’ 0”, 200 pounds.
“Niklas is a solid two-way forward who uses his excellent speed to aggressively forecheck and kill penalties,” said Fletcher. “This past season he finished third in goal-scoring in the Finnish Elite League, so we are confident he can contribute offensively as well.”
From the Panthers press Release