December 16, 2015
Tom Wandell was a crafty, responsible center out of Sodertalje, Sweden. His career NHL career scoring totals do not accurately reflect his deceiving skill level.
Wandell was capable of playing all three forward positions, offering his coach great versatility. But he was best at center ice where he played a responsible and patient game. He worked especially hard on his defensive positioning to support his teammates.
Because of Dallas' depth at center, Wandell never really got a chance in his three full NHL seasons to emerge as an offensive player. Buried behind Mike Ribeiro and Brad Richards, Wandell played bottom six minutes most nights where he was a persistent forechecker. Though he was a deft puckhandler which opened up passing lanes, he struggled to make plays at the highest tempo. He also only had an average shot.
Dallas was able to acquire Wandell with a late round draft pick (146th overall) in 2005 as he missed most of his junior season recovering from knee surgery. By 2009 Wandell emerged as the top rookie in the Swedish Elite League. He had actually spent the previous two seasons out of the country, spending a year in Sweden and a year in the AHL.
Wandell joined the Stars full time in 2009-10. In his rookie season he quietly scored five goals and fifteen points in 50 games. He seemed to be showing he was ready for a bigger role when Ribeiro was sidelined in early January. But tragedy struck when Wandell's season was finished due to another knee surgery. He missed the final 32 games of the season.
Wandell played two more full seasons in Dallas, rarely getting that chance to play a bigger role again. In 229 NHL games, all with Dallas, he scored 20 goals and 43 points.
Wandell left the NHL in 2013 to return to Europe.