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October 02, 2014

Robert Nordmark

After being passed over entirely in the 1980 NHL draft, Swedish defenseman Robert Nordmark was drafted 191st overall in 1981. The Red Wings never signed him so he re-entered the NHL draft in 1984. He was passed over again. And then again, and again, until the St. Louis Blues picked him up in the third round in 1987.

It's a good thing Nordmark had another job all those years before finally coming to the National Hockey League. He worked as a firefighter and an ambulance driver in Sweden, at least during the off-season.

Nordmark did continue to play, of course. with Gavle and Lulea. He was a late bloomer, as his draft record suggests. But NHL teams were finally intrigued after Nordmark after a strong showing at the 1987 World Championships.

The Blues took a chance on Nordmark and brought him over immediately. A shoulder injury in training camp got him off to a bit of a rough start. Though he played in 67 games with the Blues (3 goals, 21 points) the team let him go, trading him to Vancouver in exchange for Dave Richter.

Nordmark played three seasons for the Canucks - the same team his cousin - Anders Eldebrink - once played for. His first year Nordmark made a good impression, scoring 6 goals and 41 points. His booming shot from the point helped breathe new life into a weak power play. He moved the puck well and read offensive plays efficiently Defensively he was far from physically imposing but he didn't back down and used his good size effectively. He steered guys away from the slot and blocked shots with his body.

Unfortunately Nordmark battled injuries his last two years in Vancouver, and was never able to build upon his first season. After four seasons in the NHL (236 games, 13 goals, 70 assists, 83 points) he returned to Europe where he played in several countries through the turn of the century.

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