Tomas Sandstrom

Tomas Sandstrom was one of the most hated players of his day.

He had a reputation as a shit disturber at best, and as a dirty player at worst. He was very abrasive, always yapping, giving facials with his gloves and keep his stick high whenever someone came nearby. He infuriated opponents regularly enough that they would often try to retaliate, allowing Sandstrom's team to go to the power play. Once in a while they got him good, like, infamously, Dave Brown:

Sandstrom had the finesse skills to make that team pay, too. He combined good size, speed, strength and skill. Nine times in his career, including seven seasons in a row, Sandstrom topped 25 goals or more, including a couple of 40 goal campaigns. He surprised goalies with virtually no backswing to his shot, showing velocity and accuracy regardless. He could even release shots while the puck was still in his feet. He was also an underrated passer.

Despite his reputation as a dirty player, the bottom line on Tomas Sandstrom was that he loved to compete and you had to respect that. That being said, he had a general disregard for his opponent's safety, and that does not need to be respected. He was like an Esa Tikkanen or Claude Lemieux - an elite pest with a good all around game to match it.

Sandstrom was best known as a New York Ranger until he and Tony Granato were traded to Los Angeles. That trade was not without controversy - heading to New York was Bernie Nicholls, the long time popular King who had scored 70 goals along side Wayne Gretzky the previous season.

Sandstrom never put up incredibly unusual numbers along side The Great One, but he did have a real strong playoff in 1993. The Kings made it all the way to the Stanley Cup finals that year, bowing out Montreal. Sandstrom's most famous moment as a King - being winked at by Patrick Roy in that Stanley Cup final.

Sandstrom later joined the Pittsburgh Penguins and Anaheim Mighty Ducks, continued to being overshadowed by superstar teammates like Mario Lemieux and Paul Kariya/Teemu Selanne.

He also briefly played with Detroit, finally winning a Stanley Cup in 1997.

All told Tomas Sandstrom played 983 career NHL games, scoring 394 goals and 462 assists for 856 points. He also registered 1,193 career penalty minutes.


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