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Top 25 Under 25: Goose is Officially Not Loose

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Wild defenseman Gustav Olofsson comes in at #7 in this year’s rankings. This season is a make or break year for him, and it just got harder.

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NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Today we continue to make our way inside the top 10 of our Top 25 Under 25 series. Coming in at number 7 on this year’s list is a guy most Wild fans have been eagerly waiting to make that “next step”, Swedish puck-moving defenseman, Gustav Olofsson. Olofsson is no newcomer to the Hockey Wilderness Top 25 Under 25 series. Since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2013 he has been inside the top 15 every season. He debuted at #12 in 2014, stayed there in 2015, moved up to #10 in 2016, and most recently settled as high as #6 just last year.

From a Wild fan’s perspective it has seemed the “next step” in Olofsson’s career is like climbing Mt. Everest... It would be cool and all, and doing it is certainly possible, but getting to that summit can sometimes seem simply infeasible.

Yesterday, news broke that Olofsson suffered another shoulder injury during the Wild’s first preseason game of the year in Winnipeg, as reported by Michael Russo of The Athletic. Late in the 3rd period Monday, the Swedish defenseman (sidenote, the Wild love their Swedish defensemen don’t they?) was crushed by Winnipeg Jets star Patrik Laine. The blow caused Olofsson to miss the final seven minutes of the game, and it could end up having a profound impact on his future.

Injuries have derailed the once promising prospect’s career, which right from the jump, got off to a terrible start. Only one game into the season, Olofsson suffered a shoulder injury in his very first stint playing for the Iowa Wild. At the time, this was the third shoulder injury of his young career, and the resulting surgery put Olofsson on the shelf for the remainder of the year.

He then followed that lost season up with a solid year of hockey during the 2015-16 campaign. He got his first glimpse of the NHL in November of 2015 when he suited up for the Minnesota Wild for two games. The time he spent in the AHL during that season showed promise that Olofsson could possibly crack the top 6 as soon as the following year, as he put up 17 points in 52 games. But once again, Olofsson got injured. During February of 2016, Olofsson required his fourth shoulder surgery, once again putting a premature end to his season.

Just wait, it gets worse. What does he do the following year? He sprains his MCL during the first game of the 2016 Traverse City NHL Prospect Tournament. Olofsson was unable to fully participate in training camp and lost a good chance of securing a top-6 role with the big club. He still was able to come back and improve his numbers in the AHL from the year prior, putting up 24 points in 59 games, and once again giving Wild fans hope that he would perform himself into a 3rd pair defenseman role.

Last season was supposed to be the year when Gustav Olofsson would finally make an impact for the Minnesota Wild. He earned a spot on the team out of training camp (injury free I might add), beating out former Gopher Mike Reilly for the final slot on the third pair. Olofsson’s partner was Kyle Quincey, and as we all know, that project was a complete bust that led to the pickup of “locker room guy” and #oneofus Nate Prosser. After the Wild claimed Prosser off waivers in November, Olofsson’s play took a deep dive downward. He struggled to stay in the lineup, battling with Reilly, Ryan Murphy, and Nick Seeler for the 6th spot in the defensive lineup. Olofsson ultimately became “Mr. Healthy Scratch” by the end of the year and during the playoffs.

This season is make or break for the nearly 24-year-old defenseman. He entered camp as a roster hopeful, trying to beat out Nate Prosser, Carson Soucy, and Ryan Murphy for the 7th defenseman role, assuming Nick Seeler is a lock to round out the 3rd pair with free agent signee Greg Pateryn. Now that Olofsson has suffered this injury and is week-to-week yet again, his hope to make the roster seems to be a long shot.

It’s unfortunate and very sad to say, but the end of the road for Goose with the Minnesota Wild could be on the horizon.

Gustav Olofsson’s Career Stats

Season Team League GP G A TP PIM Playoffs GP G A TP PIM
Season Team League GP G A TP PIM Playoffs GP G A TP PIM
2009-2010 Västerbotten TV-Pucken 7 0 1 1 4
2010-2011 Colorado Thunderbirds U16 T1EHL U16 35 5 10 15 18
2011-2012 Colorado Thunderbirds U18 T1EHL U18 38 5 25 30 10
Green Bay Gamblers USHL 3 0 1 1 0
2012-2013 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 63 2 21 23 59 Playoffs 4 0 0 0 0
2013-2014 Colorado College NCAA 30 4 4 8 20
Iowa Wild AHL 8 1 0 1 2
Sweden U20 WJC-20 7 1 4 5 2
Sweden U20 (all) International-Jr 12 1 6 7 12
2014-2015 Iowa Wild AHL 1 0 0 0 0
2015-2016 Minnesota Wild NHL 2 0 0 0 0
Iowa Wild AHL 52 2 15 17 12
2016-2017 Minnesota Wild NHL 13 0 3 3 2
Iowa Wild AHL 59 6 18 24 32
2017-2018 Minnesota Wild NHL 41 0 8 8 14
2018-2019 Minnesota Wild NHL - - - - -
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