5 May 1973|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Weight||185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb)|
New Jersey Devils
218th overall, 1994|
Johan "Moose" Hedberg (born 5 May 1973) is a Swedish former professional ice hockey goaltender. During a career that lasted from 1993 to 2014 he played for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Dallas Stars, Atlanta Thrashers, and New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League (NHL), as well as Leksands IF of the Swedish Elitserien, as well as several minor league teams. After several years in Sweden Hedberg moved to North America in 1997 and made his NHL debut in 2000. Internationally he played for the Swedish national team at several tournaments, including the 2002 Winter Olympics and several World Championships, winning gold at the 1998 World Championship.
Drafted by the Flyers
Hedberg was drafted in the ninth round, 218th overall, in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. However the Flyers never invited him from Sweden to a training camp. He was told by the Flyers that he needed to make the Swedish national team, before getting an invitation to training camp. Hedberg spent five seasons with Leksands IF from 1992–97, notching a 2.79 goals against average (GAA) in 116 games. and did make the Swedish team, however he never received the invitation promised to him. He then left Sweden, in 1997, to find work in the North American minor leagues, hoping that a team would notice his abilities. He started with the Baton Rouge Kingfish of the East Coast Hockey League and also played for the Detroit Vipers and Manitoba Moose of the International Hockey League before the Flyers traded Hedberg's rights to the San Jose Sharks in 1998. He returned to Leksands for the 1998-99 season before reporting to San Jose's affiliate, the American Hockey League's Kentucky Thoroughblades for the 1999-2000 season.
At the time, the Sharks were already loaded with terrific goaltenders, all younger than Hedberg, who was ranked no higher than 4th on the Sharks' goaltending depth chart, so after one season, he left the Sharks organization and rejoined Manitoba. Hedberg excelled during his second stint with the Moose in 2000–01, while they were still an unaffiliated team in the final season of the International Hockey League. His play was noticed by the Pittsburgh Penguins' assistant general manager Eddie Johnston. In March 2001, Randy Carlyle, the Moose's coach, pulled Hedberg aside at Winnipeg International Airport and told him he'd been traded to Pittsburgh, along with Bobby Dollas, in exchange for Jeff Norton. He was also informed, by Carlyle, that he was reporting directly to the Penguins.
Pittsburgh Penguins and the Olympics
Hedberg went on to stabilize the Penguins' goaltending position for the remainder of the 2000–01 season. Since Hedberg started a game in Pittsburgh on late notice, still wearing his customized Manitoba Moose helmet which, not surprisingly, had a large moose painted across it, the Pittsburgh crowds quickly nicknamed him "Moose", and would cheer for him after a spectacular save by yelling "Mooooose". This was often heard incorrectly as a boo.
He then outdueled Olaf Kölzig, of the Washington Capitals, and Dominik Hašek, of the Buffalo Sabres, to help the Penguins reach the Eastern Conference final. In 2002, Hedberg set career highs with 25 wins and a club-record 66 games with the Penguins. He was then named as the back-up goalie to Tommy Salo, on the Swedish national team and played in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Hedberg started one game for Sweden, posting a victory over Germany.
Vancouver, the lockout and Dallas
He was finally traded to the Vancouver Canucks by Pittsburgh for a second-round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The Penguins would later use that pick to draft Alex Goligoski. He registered a career-best 2.51 GAA in 21 games with Vancouver during the 2003–04 season. He spent the 2004–05 season playing with Leksands IF of the Swedish Second Division, due to the NHL lockout. There he notched a 2.12 GAA in 21 games.
Once the lockout ended, Hedberg signed with the Dallas Stars as a free agent on 5 August 2005. He then posted a 12-4-1 record and a 2.67 GAA in 19 games with the Stars. On 26 December 2005, Hedberg recorded two assists in a game against the St. Louis Blues. This is the first time a Dallas Stars goalie has ever accomplished this feat, and the first time any goalie in the NHL has done it since Patrick Roy on 29 December 2000. One assist came from a pass that met Stars captain Mike Modano at the Blues' blue line, granting him a 1-on-1 opportunity.
Hedberg signed a two-year contract with Atlanta in July 2006 and served as the backup for starter Kari Lehtonen during the first year of that contract. However, a long-term injury hindered Lehtonen during the 2007–08 season and Hedberg took over as Atlanta's starting goaltender for much of the season. On 16 June 2008, Hedberg signed a multi-year contract extension with the Thrashers. During the 2009–10 season, he shared time with Ondrej Pavelec as the primary starter after Lehtonen missed most of the season and was then traded. Despite Hedberg's good performance he and the Thrashers parted ways after the season.
In May 2011, while the Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg to become the Winnipeg Jets, Hedberg expressed both regrets for the franchise's relocation and sympathy for the Thrashers fan-base. He stated; "I think it’s sad for the city. I believe this city can support a team and support it in a good way. Obviously, it’s been some chaotic years pretty much from day one with ownership not being on the same page and I think that has hurt the franchise quite a bit...We’ve kind of made this sort of our second home for five years now and, obviously, the Thrashers were the reason we came here in the first place," Hedberg said. "I know all the people involved. I know all the people working in the front office and in hockey operations and I know a lot of the fans around. They’re hard-core fans that really don’t want to lose the team. So, I would have feeling of (sadness). There’s no doubt this could be a good hockey city, but it needs to be done the right way. This ownership has never given it a chance to do that after it got off on the wrong foot."
New Jersey Devils
On 1 July 2010, Hedberg signed a one-year deal with the New Jersey Devils, which included a no-trade clause. He served as a back-up goalie until starter Martin Brodeur suffered a 6 February injury. His contract was renewed on 1 July 2011, which again included a no-trade clause. During round one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he was called on to play two periods in game three versus the Florida Panthers.
On 2 July 2012, Hedberg signed a two-year deal with the Devils. The contract included a no-trade clause. The signing came hours after New Jersey extended the contract of Brodeur two years as well. Hedberg and Brodeur's age would be 41 and 42 respectively when their individual contracts expired.
On 4 July 2013, Hedberg was placed on unconditional waivers for the intentions of a compliance buyout. The Devils bought him out as a result of a trade that sent Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider to New Jersey.
New York Rangers
Hedberg signed a professional tryout with the New York Rangers on 10 September 2013, in the absence of backup goaltender Martin Biron. On 18 September 2013, soon after Biron's return, Hedberg was released from his contract. Hedberg's final professional game was played with the Albany Devils during the 2013–14 season when he was signed to a professional tryout agreement with the American Hockey League team, filling in for the injured Keith Kinkaid.
After retiring from playing, Hedberg rejoined the Devils organisation as a special assignment scout under head coach Peter DeBoer; he also served as goaltending coach of the Albany Devils. On 2 July 2015, he rejoined DeBoer with the San Jose Sharks as their goaltending coach. Hedberg remained in the role until DeBoer and his staff were fired on 11 December 2019.
Regular season and playoffs
|1989–90||Leksands IF||SWE U20||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1997–98||Baton Rouge Kingfish||ECHL||2||1||1||0||—||100||58||7||4.20||.879||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||New Jersey Devils||NHL||34||15||12||—||2||1718||68||3||2.38||.912||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||New Jersey Devils||NHL||27||17||7||—||2||1592||59||4||2.23||.918||1||0||1||37||1||0||1.67||.929|
|2012–13||New Jersey Devils||NHL||19||6||10||—||3||1109||51||1||2.76||.883||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
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- Kovacevic (22 February 2012). "Kovacevic: Recalling our own 'Linsanity'". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012.
- Schwartz, Adam (17 March 2008). "What's In A Name?". NHL.com. Archived from the original on 29 March 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
- "Nas-ty win Sweden finishes final round undefeated after 7-1 win". CNNSI.com. 19 February 2002. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Elias says". Elias Sports Bureau. ESPN. 4 February 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Astorian, Laura (24 May 2011). "Former Thrashers Goaltender Johan Hedberg Speaks Out On Team's Move, Ownership". SB Nation Atlanta. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- Mazzeo, Mike (18 February 2011). "'Moose' coming up big for Devils". ESPN. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- Chere, Rich (2 July 2011). "Devils gave Johan Hedberg no-movement clause in 1-year, $1.25 million deal". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
- "Johan Hedberg on unconditional waivers to be bought-out". North Jersey Media Group. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- "Johan Hedberg signs with Albany to fill in for injured Keith Kinkaid, expected to play this weekend". Fire and Ice. North Jersey Media Group. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- "Boughner Named Assistant Coach, Hedberg Named Goaltending Coach". San Jose Sharks. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
- "Sharks Announce Changes to Coaching Staff". San Jose Sharks. 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
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