With the likes of both Mikael Wikstrand and Linus Johansson announcing their return to Karlstad, the team welcomes back another familiar face this week. We will also see a pair of new faces to the SHL in the coming season, although one will be hidden behind a mask.
Having spent his entire SHL career with Färjestad, there was no doubt where Joakim Nygård would be playing if and when he returned to the SHL. Over the past two seasons he has spent time with the Edmonton Oilers organization but did not find much success. Having played just 9 games with the Oilers during this shortened season, and registering zero points, Nygård has decided to return to the only home he has ever known in the SHL. Over his 9 seasons with Färjestad he has registered 86 goals and 71 assists in 340 games played. He also helped get Färjestad to the SHL finals back in the 2013/14 season, but were unable to claim the Le Mat Trophy. With his decision to return to Färjestad he becomes the third former player from Färjestad to return to his previous team in recent weeks.
The announcement of two former captains returning, Mikael Wikstrand and Linus Johansson, over the past couple of weeks should be good news to the Färjestad faithful. Wikstrand has spent the last two seasons with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL and Johansson spent last season with a pair of KHL teams. They both bring experience and leadership back with them into the locker room. It has not yet been confirmed whether this past seasons captain, Sebastian Erixon, will be returning to Färjestad. Having not yet announced the captaincy for the coming season, it would be a good bet either Wikstrand or Johansson will reprise their leadership role.
Another long time SHLer, Simon Hjalmarsson, will be leaving the league next season. The 32 year old has spent the last 5 seasons with the Frölunda Indians, capturing three CHL titles and winning the SHL title back in 2018/19. Hjalmarsson will be joining Graz99ers in the ICEHL in Austria. This isn't, however, his first stint outside of Sweden as he spent two seasons with CSKA Moscow in the KHL.
A pair of North Americans will be making their SHL debut this coming season as Matt Tonkins and Ryan McKiernan will be joining Frölunda and Rögle respectively. Tonkins comes in to help Frölunda between the pipes. The 26 year old from Edmonton, Alberta has spent the past two seasons with Chicago Blackhawks affiliate Rockford Ice hogs. Rögle is hoping McKiernan can bolster their defensive core and provide offence from the blue line. The 31 year old from White Plains, New York is no stranger to European hockey as he has spent the last 6 seasons in the German and Austrian Leagues, he also has one season in HockeyAllsvenskan with AIK back in 2014/15.
Other notable moves this week include Christian Folin joining the Frölunda Indians, Carl Johan Lerby rejoins the Malmö Redhawks, Joel Mustonen moves to Örebro and Hynek Zohorna will be joining Oskarshamn.