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Farjestad features familiar faces

Monday, 09.21.2009 / 11:22 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - Senior Writer
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Farjestad features familiar faces
Farjestad BK, a.k.a. "the Red Wings of Sweden," is loaded when it comes to NHL connections, and we're not just talking in the team offices, where former NHL players Hakan Loob, Thomas Rundqvist, Jorgen Jonsson, Kjell Dahlin and Roger Johansson conduct their business.

Sixteen of the 25 players on Farjestad's roster have ties to the League, including three players who have NHL experience and two more that were drafted this past June.

Farjestad BK will face Detroit on Sept. 30 in their home rink, Lofbergs Lila Arena, in Karlstad. It will be the Wings' final tune-up before their regular season begins Oct. 2 against St. Louis in Stockholm as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere.

Here is a look at who the Wings are up against:

Antti Pihlstrom (Getty Images)
Henrik Karlsson -- The undrafted 25-year-old goaltender signed a one-year deal with San Jose in August, but is spending one more season in Sweden before making the move overseas.

Per Jonsson -- The defenseman, 21, was drafted 209th by Calgary in 2006, but has yet to play a game in North America.

Jonas Holos -- The Norwegian-born defenseman was drafted in the sixth round (No. 170) by Colorado in 2008. He's still under contract with Farjestad, but plans to head to Denver, perhaps as early as next season.

Ari Vallin -- The 31-year-old Finnish defenseman never was drafted, but he made it to the AHL in 2006-07, totaling 7 assists in 24 games for the Rochester Americans.

Arto Laatikainen --
Drafted in the seventh round (No. 197) by the Rangers in 1999, the Finnish defenseman never has played a game in North America. He's playing his second season in Sweden after 10 seasons in Finland.

Severin Blindenbacher -- The defenseman was a 2001 ninth-round (No. 273) pick by the Phoenix Coyotes, but never came to North America. After nine seasons in Switzerland, Blindenbacher is playing his first season in Sweden.

Johan Andersson -- The center was drafted by Chicago in the sixth round (No. 181) in 2003, but never has played a game in North America.

Jesper Mattsson -- The 18th pick in 1993 by Calgary played 174 games in the AHL, but never suited up in an NHL game. The right wing has been playing in Sweden since midway through the 1997-98 season.

Marius Holtet -- The 25-year-old Norwegian-born center was a 2002 second-round pick (No. 42) by Dallas. He played four seasons in the AHL before signing with Farjestad prior to last season.

Henrik Bjorklund --
The Flames made the slick-scoring right wing, who just turned 19 on Sept. 22, the No. 111 pick in the 2009 Entry Draft.

Kent McDonell -- The Ontario native was drafted twice -- first in 1997 at No. 225 by Carolina, and again in 1999 at No. 181 by Detroit. The right wing played 32 NHL games with Columbus from 2002-04. He also has played in 304 AHL games.

Lee Goren --
The 31-year-old Winnipeg native was taken No. 63 in the 1997 Entry Draft by Boston and played 67 games over four seasons with the Bruins, Florida and Vancouver before heading to Sweden in 2007. The right wing played three seasons at the University of North Dakota and 448 games in the AHL. He won't play against Detroit as he doesn't return to Farjestad until late October.

Antti Pihlstrom -- The Finnish forward has the most recent NHL experience of any of Farjestad's players, having played 53 games with Nashville last season. He signed with Farjestad this summer after completing his two-year contract with the Predators.

Dragan Umicevic --
The left wing was drafted No. 184 by Edmonton in 2003, but has played his entire career in Sweden and Russia.

Marcus Johansson --
The playmaking center was taken No. 24 by Washington in this past June's Entry Draft. He is the third Swedish center the Caps have taken in the first round in the last four years (Nicklas Backstrom, 2006; Anton Gustafsson, 2008).


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