April 19, 2016

Tom Pederson

Tom Pederson was a high school star with the Jeffereson Jaguars in Bloomington, Minnesota. He then went on to an impressive collegiate career with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Yet NHL interest was close to non-existent on Tom Pederson. There are not too many five-foot-nine, 170 pound defenseman skating on NHL blue lines.

A strong showing at the 1989 World Junior championships may have been the only reason the Minnesota North Stars opted to use their 217th overall pick in 1989 to select Pederson. He had an impressive two goals and ten points in seven games at the World Juniors

“Every scout I talked to, and I knew a bunch of them, said, ‘You are just too small, you are not going to make it,’ ” said Pederson. “I said, ‘You are wrong.’ I wasn’t disrespectful to them, but I told them they were wrong. That was my motivation.”

And proved them wrong he did.

Pederson may have been small but he was aggressive and unafraid. He took on players bigger and stronger than him and never back down. He didn't always win those battles, but he earned everyone's respect in trying. He played with great enthusiasm.

Pederson was a fantastic skater with great speed and agility. His excellent balance on his skates allowed him to compete against the heavy hitters.

Pederson was most effective when marshalling the offense. His skating ability made him a natural to jump in on the attack and to man the point on a power play. He was guilty of taking too many unnecessary chances early in his career, but settled into an effective player.

Pederson became San Jose Sharks property upon the franchise's arrival in 1991. He would play four seasons with the Sharks' franchise, totalling 225 games. He would play another 15 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs late in his NHL career.

All told Tom Pederson played in 240 NHL games, scoring 20 goals and 69 points. He added another goal and twelve points in 24 Stanley Cup playoff games.

Pederson went on to play in Japan and Germany before retiring outright. He settled in Los Gatos, California and then Reno, Nevada and invented an off-ice puck called Green Biscuit.

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