On February 19th, 1986, about 10 days before Lugano were crowned Swiss Champions in Davos for the first time in their history, a special player was born in Sweden. A player with an above-average talent who can make children fall in love with ice hockey.
We’re talking about Linus Klasen. Pure class!
He played in the youth organization of Huddinge IK and, after he spent part of the 2004-05 season overseas at the Lincoln Stars (USHL), during the 2005-06 season made his first team debut playing also alongside Dick Axelsson (former Davos) and contributed to the team’s promotion in the Allsvenskan, our NLB.
After he spent another season playing with Huddinge IK in the Allsvenskan, Linus transferred to Södertälje SK in 2007 and played in the SHL – our NLA – for the first time in his career.
Curiously enough, at Södertälje Linus played alongside Pär Arlbrandt – 2 seasons in Bienne between 2014 and 2016 – during the first year and alongside Hannes Hyvönen – about 20 games in the NLA with Fribourg Gottéron and Rapperswil – during the second year.
Linus Klasen remained 3 seasons at Södertälie and during the third season he was even appointed the team’s Captain. On the eve of the 2010-11 season then, the top class Swedish decided to try his luck overseas. The adventure, however, lasted only one season… a season during which he mostly collected 47 AHL appearances with the Milwuakee Admirals (AHL) alongside also our Roman Josi… but also a season during which he made his NHL debut with the Nashville Predators.
COMEBACK IN SWEDEN
In 2011 then, Linus came back to Sweden and agreed terms with the Malmö Redhawks (Allsvenskan) where he was even appointed the team’s Captain. In Malmö though, Klasen remained only 1 season before coming back to the SHL with a leading role!
Between 2012 and 2014 in fact, Linus Klasen – who’s qualities were undisputed – played with Lulea HF alongside, among others, Niklas Olausson (former Bienne), Mika Pyöräla (former Bern), Per Ledin (former Lausanne), Linus Omark (former Zug) and also our Dean Kukan who’s currently under contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
This was his last spell in Sweden as a player who was by then admired in whole Europe. He decided, however, to move to Lugano on the eve of the 2014-15 season!
It took no time to the Bianconeri’s fans to appreciate him. LInus, during his second NLA appearance on September 13th, 2014, in Genève, made it for the first time into the scoresheet. Lugano earned a 4-3 shootouts win at les Vernets and Klasen firstly set up his great friend Fredrik Pettersson for the Bianconeri’s first goal of the night… then he scored the second goal for the team… and finally scored one of the shootouts that earned the extra point to Lugano!
LINK TO THE HIGHLIGHTS OF LINUS KLASEN’S FIRST NLA POINTS (starting from minute 15:00)
From that moment on, we all came to know Linus Klasen – 250 NLA appearances, 244 points at today – for what he really is… namely, a phenomenal player. A player that over time has let grow a unique full beard that earned him the nickname “Barbarossa” (red beard, in italian)!
LINUS… IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT
It’s fair to say that when it comes to defending – even though he has slightly improved lately – he’s not the best player in the league. In addition, his lack of size can be a problem sometimes. Moreover, from the outside the impression is that when things go wrong for him you don’t see him much on the ice. Apparentely, and always from the outside, he looks like that kind of a player that needs to feel important and that needs to play with continuity in order to be at the top of his game.
Yet, when he’s under the right conditions…
He’s one of the few players in Europe who can seriously gift the fans with moments of magic hockey! He’s not particularly fast but he’s so clever, with an astonishing hockey sense that makes him the perfect guy to play alongside.
During the power-play situation, when his teammates move around fast enough, he’s impressive and his passes are literally sweet chocolates that only requires to be smashed in the net. His above average technical skills allow him to mercilessly beat opponents one on one and to be spectacular during shootouts. And let us not forget that he’s got a good shot… it’s just a pity he doesn’t always use it. In this regard, he could be more selfish.
But guys, this is Linus. Take him or leave him. He’s a player that when is under the right conditions to be at the top of his game – just like every real artist – can drive his opponents nuts and he can make his fans salivate!
Moreover, he’s such a decent disciplined player. We actually don’t remember any situation where he committed a bad foul. This is probably one of the reasons why he is respected by all. Without forgetting that, and this in our opinion is very important, he’s a real Professional. With a capital P. Suffice it to see how he handled the situation during last playoffs – spent mostly by watching his teammates from the stands – or even this season when he wasn’t playing regularly. We mean, he never complained out loud and was always ready to help when the team needed him.
Lugano extended his contract until 2020. Rightly so. As we said, Linus is pure class in every way, after all. Both as a player and as a person!