For every Artemi Panarin or Dominik Kubalik the Blackhawks find in the European import market, there’s the flip side of a player simply not clicking in North America.
Anton Wedin is a perfect example.
Wedin was mentioned in the same breath as Kubalik last summer, when the forwards were brought over after dominating the professional leagues in Sweden and Switzerland, respectively, in 2018-19.
Kubalik erupted for 30 goals and likely will fetch a hefty new contract this offseason, but Wedin ultimately played in only four NHL games this past season and didn’t notch a point.
Seeing that his NHL career wasn’t taking off, Wedin left the Hawks on Sunday.
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported that Wedin signed with HV71 in Jonkoping, Sweden. Wedin’s agent, Michael Deutsch, did not return a request for comment.
The 27-year-old wing was a useful body to have on the depth chart, and he was fairly productive in the AHL (17 points in 31 games), but his departure won’t make much of a difference.
Wedin joins fellow Swedish Hockey League stars Jacob Nilsson and Philip Holm as part of the European contingent that has left the Hawks in 2020.
Nilsson, signed by the Hawks in 2018, was a solid role player for Rockford but played in only two NHL games in the last two years. He signed on April 26 with Farjestad BK in Sweden.
Holm, a late-summer defensive addition last year who showed promise in the preseason, never played in a Hawks regular-season game before terminating his contract in January and signing with Lausanne HC in Switzerland. Holm’s agent, Peter Wallen, said then that Holm had simply grown tired of waiting in the AHL.
The flameouts and quiet disappointments are inevitable when taking chances on European stars in the prime of their careers, though, and the Hawks certainly have established themselves as one of the NHL’s top franchises in attracting and cultivating such talent.
They aren’t going to stop, either. General manager Stan Bowman said in February that he planned to look for more established pros to potentially bring over this summer.