As fans of the Detroit Red Wings watch Elmer Soderblom and company rack up points for Team Sweden in the World Junior Championships, it's easy to envision the next Swedish 5.
The Swedish 5 - Nick Lidstrom, Nick Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom and Mikeal Samuelsson - was a moniker given to the five Red Wings who played for the Olympic Gold medal-winning Swedish team in Turin. Others, like Andreas Lilja and Jonathan Ericsson, played for for the Red Wings and the Swedish national teams in that era. (The Swedish 5 was sort of a pale imitation of The Russian 5).
The Red Wings have five Swedes on the junior team right now - Lucas Raymond, Elmer Soderblom, Theodor Niederbach, Gustav Berggren and Albert Johansson. Also, two other Swedes, Albin Grewe and William Wallinder, would have been considered as possibilities for the team had they not been infected by COVID-19.
But while Wings fans are justifiably excited about the future, thanks in part to these high flying nordics, it's entire possible the Red Wings start 2020-21 without a Swede on their NHL roster.
There are three Swedish possibilities to start with the team.
Rookie free agent signing Mathias Brome will try to crack a crowed group of forwards. Rookie defenseman Gustav Lindstrom has a shot at making the Red Wings roster. And goalie Filip Larsson has a very, very slim chance of sticking with the the roster.
How far back in time to you have to go to find a Swedeless Red Wings team?
Well, you have to go Pre-Lidstrom. The 1989 draft pick began his tenure with the Wings in 1991-92.
In 1990-91, Par Djoos and Johan Garpenlov were in the opening lineup to start the season. In 1989-90, Borje Salming played for the Red Wings on opening night.
Finally, we find a Swedeless roster for the Red Wings/Kings game in Los Angeles on Oct. 6, 1988, when the Kings defeated the Wings, 8-2.
It's been 32 years since the Detroit Red Wings opened the season without a Swede in the lineup.