Where are 2012’s golden Swedes today?
by Lucas Aykroyd|05 JAN 2022
Swedish forward Mika Zibanejad celebrates his overtime goal in the gold medal game at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship in Calgary on 5 January 2012.
photo: Andy Devlin / HHOF-IIHF Images
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When Calgary’s plans to build a new NHL arena fell through in December, it meant a new lease on life for the Scotiabank Saddledome. No matter what happens in the future, the 1983-built, 19,289-capacity venue will always live on in the hearts of Swedish hockey fans.

The Saddledome witnessed Sweden’s thrilling 1-0 overtime victory over Russia in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game. That was just the second time the Swedes have won this tournament besides 1981 in West Germany.

Fans worldwide remember Mika Zibanejad’s dramatic solo dash to score on Russian goalie Andrei Makarov, who was heroic in defeat as final shots favoured the Juniorkronorna 58-19.

Yet Zibanejad was just one member of a championship team under head coach Roger Ronnberg. Marking the 10th anniversary of this triumph, let’s take a trip down memory lane and discover where all the golden Swedes of 2012 are today.

Goaltenders

Anton Forsberg
Then: Backup from MODO Hockey made 15 saves in 9-1 romp over Slovakia
Now: Eight-year NHLer vying for top job in Ottawa with fellow Swede Filip Gustavsson

Johan Gustafsson
Then: Lulea goalie had 2.20 GAA, 88.7 save percentage, and one shutout as Ronnberg’s number one
Now: Former Minnesota Wild prospect now starts for Vasteras IK in HockeyAllsvenskan

Johan Mattsson
Then: Sudbury Wolves starter did not play at 2012 World Juniors
Now: Two-time CHL champ with Frolunda traded in December from KHL’s Dynamo Riga to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg

Defenceman

Mattias Backman
Then: Equalled John Klingberg with three assists en route to gold
Now: Longtime Linkoping blueliner put his career on hold earlier in December due to numerous injuries

Jonas Brodin
Then: Farjestad product totalled four assists alongside Oscar Klefbom on top Swedish pairing
Now: 2017 Worlds gold medalist in tenth NHL season with Minnesota

Fredrik Claesson
Then: Stay-at-home rearguard went pointless in his lone World Juniors
Now: NHL part-timer has split 2021-22 between Tampa Bay and AHL’s Syracuse Crunch

Petter Granberg
Then: Big blueliner impressed with steady play as 2010 Leafs fourth-round pick
Now: After 45 career NHL games with Nashville and Toronto, 2013 Worlds gold medalist spending fourth straight season with original club of Skelleftea

Oscar Klefbom
Then: Joined Canada’s Brandon Gormley on tournament media all-star team
Now: Recovering from shoulder surgery, expected to resume NHL career with Edmonton in 2022

John Klingberg
Then: Lone Swede from Liiga roster (Jokerit) at these World Juniors
Now: Two-time World Champion (2017, 2018) and Dallas assistant captain in eighth NHL season

Patrik Nemeth
Then: Team’s largest player at 192 cm and 98 kg, assisted on Zibanejad’s golden goal against Russia
Now: Approaching 400 career NHL games with Rangers, his fourth NHL club

Forwards

Jeremy Boyce Rotevall
Then: Went pointless as fourth-liner under Ronnberg
Now: Veteran forward has played entire SHL and HockeyAllsvenskan career with Timra

Sebastian Collberg
Then: First of three World Juniors was Frolunda-trained winger’s most productive with seven points
Now: Ex-Habs second-rounder (2012) with BIK Karlskroga, fifth different club in as many years

Filip Forsberg
Then: Future 2014 World Junior MVP limited to one helper in his first of three tournaments
Now: Assistant captain with Nashville in his tenth NHL season

Max Friberg
Then: Potted tournament-leading nine goals, named to all-star team with Yevgeni Kuznetzov and Mikael Granlund
Now: Two-time CHL champ a fixture with Frolunda

William Karlsson
Then: Sparked comeback with first Sweden goal in 3-2 semi-final shootout win over Finns, totalled two points as linemate of Zibanejad and Rickard Rakell
Now: After making Cup finals and winning Lady Byng Trophy with Vegas in 2018, playing third season of eight-year, $47.2-million contract

Johan Larsson
Then: Juniorkronorna captain recorded team-high six assists
Now: Arizona Coyotes journeyman has played more than 460 NHL games

Joakim Nordstrom
Then: Tied Zibanejad for Swedish team lead in goals (four)
Now: After 2015 Stanley Cup with Chicago and 2017 Worlds gold, signed with CSKA Moscow for 2021-22

Rickard Rakell
Then: In second of three World Juniors, led Sweden on faceoffs (64.2 percent)
Now: 2018 Worlds gold medalist from Sollentuna in tenth season with Anaheim

Victor Rask
Then: Leksand forward recorded lone assist and point in 9-4 romp over Latvia
Now: Eight-season NHLer a frequent healthy scratch with Minnesota Wild

Ludvig Rensfeldt
Then: Brynas-trained centre notched a goal and five assists in Calgary
Now: Veteran SHLer signed with Djurgarden for 2021-22

Johan Sundstrom
Then: Swedish assistant captain set up Friberg’s equalizer with under two minutes left in semi-final win over Finland
Now: Three-time CHL champ with Frolunda also played 11 games with Islanders in 2013-14

Erik Thorell
Then: Versatile winger potted three goals and three assists at World Juniors
Now: Signed with HC Sparta Praha for 2021-22, has never played IIHF tournament again since 2012

Mika Zibanejad
Then: Stockholm native’s golden goal set stage for his 2018 world title in Copenhagen
Now: In March 2021, Rangers star tied Bryan Trottier’s single-period NHL points record (six)