For an organization whose undisputed greatest player ever and face of the franchise is Swedish, in some ways it's surprising past management didn't do more to surround the Captain with a few of his countrymen. Sure, Dackell and Arvedson were around for a time, and who can forget the annual PJ Axelsson to Ottawa dance? Yet for much of the last decade Alfie has continued to skate alone as the lone Senators representative from Sweden.
The Murray regime by comparison seems determined to make up for lost time. Since 2008, of the 21 draft picks the Senators have made, 7 have been Swedes (including the Rundblad-Tarasenko trade). Much of this focus can be attributed to the influence of Anders Forsberg, a now former Sens scout and current head coach of Skelleftea in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). Anders came to the organization on the recommendation of a Detroit contact of Bryan’s, one Håkan Andersson (arguably the most famous scout in the business, who's made a name for himself plucking Datsyuk, Franzen and Zetterberg out of obscurity). As the story goes, it was largely due to Anders and Pierre Dorion’s influence that Bryan was swayed to trade up in ’08 to select Karlsson. Randy Lee recounted the deliberations on the team1200; "(Bryan)...wanted to take some big Canadian kid” but ultimately Anders won out in spite of “Erik looking like a paper boy”.
That decision has few critics today, and Senator management has gone on to select or trade for fellow Tre Kronor compatriots Robin Lehner, David Rundblad, Jakob Silfverberg and Andre Pettersson among others. In light of Ottawa appearing to fashion itself a new Detroit of sorts or in Silfverberg’s words “the Swedish colony in the Canadian Capital”. It seemed as good a time as any to reach out to someone familiar with the Swedish Elite League, and who better than @steffeG (aka SG for the purposes of this interview) an excellent tweeter on all things SEL, who also happens to be a Sens fan.no comments