HELSINKI – When Sweden inserts the Sedin twins into its lineup, it’ll be adding two former NHL scoring champions in the Vancouver Canucks superstars. Let’s look at how Art Ross Trophy winners have fared historically at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
This elite group includes nine Canadians, three Swedes, two Russians, and one Czech – 15 players in total.
The number may seem low: that’s because the NHL did not start sending players to the World Championships until 1977.
There have also been long stretches when the Art Ross Trophy has been monopolized by a handful of players. Between 1981 and 2001, for instance, nobody won it except for Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Jaromir Jagr.
Since 1977, Bryan Trottier is the only Art Ross Trophy winner (1979) never to have played at the Worlds. The four-time Stanley Cup champion with the New York Islanders played for Canada at the 1981 Canada Cup, but suited up for the United States at the 1984 Canada Cup.
Interestingly, in only two cases has an Art Ross Trophy winner won the Worlds in the same year: Alexander Ovechkin (2008) and Yevgeni Malkin (2012).
Here’s a snapshot of the Worlds highlights for these NHL points kings. The years in which the player won the Art Ross are listed in parentheses.
Phil Esposito (1969, 1971-74): Racked up seven goals and three assists in Canada’s fourth-place finish at the Worlds in Austria after a six-year absence. Did not enjoy having to wear a helmet.
Guy Lafleur (1976-78): Lasted just one shift with Canada at 1981 tournament in Sweden after taking a crushing hit from Dutch defenceman Rick van Gog.
Marcel Dionne (1979): Three-time Canadian bronze medalist (1978, 1983, 1986) played at four World Championships. "Little Beaver" was Canada's all-time leading goal-scorer at Worlds (21) until surpassed by Dany Heatley in 2008.
Wayne Gretzky (1981-87, 1990-91, 1994): “Great One” won 1982 scoring title in Finland with 14 points in 10 games after Edmonton was upset by Los Angeles in first round of NHL playoffs. Canada took bronze.
Mario Lemieux (1988-89, 1993-94, 1996-97): Lone tournament for “Super Mario” was 1985 in Czechoslovakia. Scored twice in 3-1 win over Soviet Union and finished with 10 points as Canada claimed silver.
Jaromir Jagr (1995, 1998-2001): Czech legend’s first Worlds was 1990 – has played eight in total. Two-time gold medalist (2005, 2010) and bronze medalist (1990, 2011) has cracked three tournament all-star teams, and, with Peter Forsberg, is one of just two Art Ross Trophy winners in the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club (Olympic gold, World Championship, Stanley Cup).
Jarome Iginla (2002): Played one career World Championship (1997), winning gold with Canada. Has also captured two Olympic golds (2002, 2010), opening door for him to join Triple Gold Club if Pittsburgh Penguins win 2013 Stanley Cup.
Peter Forsberg (2003): Best-known internationally for scoring shootout winner versus Canada at 1994 Olympics, this Triple Gold Club member owns two World Championship titles (1992, 1998) and three silvers (1993, 2003, 2004). Most dominant outing was Switzerland 1998, where Swedish power forward totaled 6-5-11 to take tournament all-star and Best Forward honours.
Martin St-Louis (2004, 2013): Nifty Tampa Bay Lightning star settled twice for silver medals (2008, 2009) after Canada lost finals to Russia. Despite racking up 10 points in 2008 and 15 in 2009, did not make 2010 Olympic team in Vancouver.
Joe Thornton (2006): Two-time Worlds participant had more success in his second stint (2005) than his first (2001). Coming off a Swiss championship with HC Davos during NHL lockout, big pivot led Canada with 16 points and was named tournament MVP as his NHL-stacked side lost to Czechs in final.
Sidney Crosby (2007): One appearance so far at Worlds (2006), winning tournament scoring title with 16 points. Infamously took a nasty cross-check from Sweden’s Mika Hannula in semi-finals in Latvia. As with Gretzky in 1982, Canada wound up in fourth place.
Alexander Ovechkin (2008): Three-time NHL goal-scoring leader never fails to represent his country when available. Five Worlds medals with Russia to date, including two golds (2008, 2012), one silver (2010), and two bronzes (2005, 2007). Two-time all-star (2006, 2008).
Yevgeni Malkin (2009, 2012): With 19 points in 2012, became just second Art Ross Trophy winner in history to capture World Championship scoring title in same year – after Gretzky (1982). Crosby’s superstar Russian teammate with Pittsburgh also won silver (2010) and bronze (2005, 2007).
Henrik Sedin (2010): Vancouver ace entering his fifth World Championship this year – last one was 2005. Won two bronzes so far (1999, 2001).
Daniel Sedin (2011): See Henrik.