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Thursday, August 29, 2019

Lost Cards: 1987-88 OPC Thomas Gradin

 In 1978 off-season, the Canucks delved into the European market.  Within three days, they signed Swedish leagues players Lars Zetterstorm, Lars Lindgren, and Swedish NHLer Roland Eriksson.  A week later they traded for their future team career points leader, Swedish player Henrik Sedin, I mean Thomas Gradin.
  Gradin was easily the best of the four Swedish players the Canucks acquired in the summer of 1978.  Originally drafted by the Chicago Black Hawks, 45th overall in 1976, Gradin never signed with the Black Hawks.  Two years later, the Hawks traded Gradin to the Canucks for a second round pick, with the Hawks option of 1979 or 1980.  The Hawks passed in 1979, Canucks drafted Brent Ashton, 26th overall, which left the Hawks with 28th overall pick in 1980 (Steve Ludzik).
  Gradin scored 51 points in his rookie season, including 3 points in his first career NHL game.  Thomas led the Canucks in points during the 80-81 season, 69pts, and the 81-82 season, 86pts.  During their surprising run to the 1982 Stanley Cup finals, he led the team with 19 points.

1986-87 OPC Thomas Gradin

  Gradin left the Canucks for the Boston Bruins as a free agent in the 1987 off-season.  At the time, he was the Canucks franchise leader in points, 550.  Gradin scored 43 points in 61 games during his only season with Bruins and his final NHL season.  Gradin left the NHL and returned to the Swedish league in 1988.  He retired in 1990, but made a brief return to professional hockey in Sweden in 1997.
  Gradin returned to the Canucks organization 1994, as a scout.  He was instrumental in the Canucks pursuit and acquisition of the Sedin twins in the 1999 NHL draft.
  Gradin's last NHL card was in the 1985-86 set.  I had a chance to rectify two oversights on OPC's behalf.  Gradin was never pictured in the glorious mustard yellow home jersey of the Canucks.  So I took artistic license and used an older picture of Gradin for the 86-87 OPC above.  If OPC can use old pictures, then so can I.  Second was giving Gradin a career capping card as a member of the Boston Bruins.

1987-88 OPC #270 Thomas Gradin

1987-88 OPC #270 Thomas Gradin

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