, 2023-04-15 09:01:05,
Looking back on it now, it’s fitting that Filip Gustavsson found out he was traded as he was taking out the trash.
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, after all, and that’s exactly what the 24-year-old Swede has proven to be for the Minnesota Wild.
Though the Wild haven’t named their starting goaltender for Game 1 of the upcoming opening round of the NHL playoffs, it’s a good bet that Gustavsson will be in net. He has been a godsend this season with a 23-9-7 record, a 2.10 goals-against average, and a .931 save percentage.
Not bad considering Gustavsson entered this season with fewer than 25 starts under his belt. He perfectly summed up his unexpected rise to stardom a few weeks ago, saying, “It’s been a helluva year.”
Indeed. All because of a trade between the Wild and the Ottawa Senators on July 12, 2022, that barely moved the needle at the time.
The timing of everything came as a surprise to Gustavsson. He remembers playing cards with some friends in his hometown of Skelleftea, Sweden, when the trade went down. They stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, and before finally going to bed, he figured he should probably take out the trash.
As soon as he got back inside, Gustavsson checked his phone and saw he had a few missed calls from Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. He immediately called back and learned he had been traded. He got a call from Wild general manager Bill Guerin a few minutes later.
“I was kind of happy,” Gustavsson said. “I had one year left (on my contract), and it was like, if this is my last year (in North America), at least I get to see a new city, make new friends, and play for a new team. I was very happy to get a change.”
It worked out better than anyone could have imagined.
‘You want to at least try to play’
After struggling to gain traction in North America at first, Gustavsson started to envision what life would look like back in his native Sweden.
He ran through the different scenarios in his head. What if he just moved home and played in the Swedish Hockey League? He’d make more than enough money doing that. He’d have a good life close to his family and friends. He’d be happy.
Every time Gustavsson let himself…
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