Who Is Joakim Nordstrom?

One of the Blackhawks players receiving an increasing amount of attention during the preseason has been 21-year-old forward Joakim Nordstrom. If/When he makes the Opening Night roster, many fans will be asking: who is this kid?


Nordstrom would be the first player from the Hawks’ 2010 Draft class to make the NHL. He was the team’s third round pick (90th overall) in the draft that followed the team’s first Cup win in almost a half century; the demolition of that roster led to the Blackhawks having five picks in the first two rounds of that draft, making Nordstrom the team’s sixth selection that summer.

Over the last four years, Nordstrom has spent most of his time playing with AIK in the Swedish Elite League. In 101 games with AIK in the SEL, Nordstrom contributed only 16 points (eight goals, eight assists). He signed his entry-level contract with the Blackhawks on May 29, 2012, but played most of last season with AIK again.

In 2012, Nordstrom helped lead Sweden to the gold medal at the 2012 World Junior Championships, where he tied for second on the team with four goals, ranked third with a plus-6 rating and posted five points ( four goals, one assist) in six tournament games.

He joined the IceHogs for 11 games down the stretch last year and contributed three assists with 12 penalty minutes.

In four preseason games with the Hawks, Nordstrom is averaging 14:35 per night and has scored one goal. He has skated almost seven minutes of short-handed ice time, and has spent time on PK in each of the preseason games in which he has appeared. He has also seen time on the power play in three of his four preseason appearances, skating 2:31 with an advantage in the Hawks’ shootout loss in Pittsburgh.

Now, he appears to be on the cusp of making the roster of the defending Stanley Cup champions.

The NHL has been patiently waiting for the 2010 Draft to make a significant impact on the league. Only half (15) of the players selected in the first round that year have played in more than 20 NHL games to date, and only six players selected after the first round in 2010 have played in more than 20 NHL games.

14 thoughts on “Who Is Joakim Nordstrom?

  • September 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    We’ll have a pretty Swede PK unit if he makes the team…HammerDoyaKrugerStrom!

  • September 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Thanks for the article, but you don’t really say why he is so close to making the team. His point totals don’t seems to be exceptional. He had 1 goal in pre-season. I’m just wondering what he is doing so well. I assume he is a great stay at home, shut defender. He has to be doing something well to be coming out of nowhere.

  • September 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    As we’ve talked about throughout the preseason, he’s done a really nice job working next to Kruger on PK duty and has assimilated himself into the lineup well with a number of different assignments. He’s a center by trade who has been playing wing and has been good throughout camp. Like Ben Smith, Quenneville is placing a premium on consistency vs potential here by keeping Nordstrom.

  • September 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Jim, I watched him a few times for Sweden wjc’s… the kid is the best skater by far out of the group of Morin, Smith, Hayes, and Pirri… quicker, smooth, agile, nimble…
    he has very good IQ- anticipates where the puck is going… for a skinny shit- he knows when/how to hit a guy that is off balance.

    His speed and skating allow him to be the best fore-checker of the group… + he can actually dish the puck – Center’s vision. But Q most likely loves his skating/transition/quickness. NONE of the other new guys can skate like this guy!
    Perfect addition to checking line w/ a lot of upside to play with top 6 in a pinch- because he can skate w/ 81/88/10 -speed wise! I wouldn’t be surprised that Q rewards him ( or punishes others) w/ top 2 line play- if he does well.

  • September 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    What wall said.

    While he stats are underwhelming, he’s a player that plays a role on a winning team and that role is the same one Frolik had last season. If the need wasn’t a 4th line / PK guy, Nordstrom probably beat out any of those other guys – but it is and it looks like he probably will. He may not be as quick as Frolik, but he’s close and certainly much closer than the other guys.

    His SEL stats don’t bowl you over, and yet he made the final cut on Sweden’s Jr squad that won the Gold Medal – and Sweden certainly isn’t short of good U20 players. Without looking up the stats, I’m going to guess that he beat out a lot of Jr Swedes that had better stats than he did. He seems to be one of those players that isn’t going to wow you – but just makes your team better.

  • September 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    As Jim so poignantly pointed out, there was no mention to WHAT he was doing so well at. It’s his chemistry and play on the PK unit. After Fro’s departure, they are desperately seeking a replacement. Although Morin and Pirri deserve it more, they aren’t filling a need as great as that. Hat’s off to the kid….he recognized the opportunity, hooked up with fellow countryman Marcus Kruger, built that chemistry and has played “lights out” on the PK…..Lightbulb!!! That raised eyebrows on Coach Q. Now, Morin has been playing his arse off. But, since the Hawks are most likely going to keep 5 centermen on the team, and one that can play interchangeably to wing….that eliminates Center-only Pirri (who MORE than deserves his shot), or Morin (winger only). This doesn’t mean for certain that Q will go with Nordstrom, but that IS why Joakim Nordstrom is being considered above Pirri and Morin. Why not all 4 of the top prospects? (Smith, Hayes, Morin, Pirri)….Hawks need to carry 8 defensemen this year with addition of the Olympics. That’s a possible 115-120 game season for those that would play all….that’s absolutely INSANE. So, players will be shuffling back and forth from Rockford all season. And,…if Nordstrom makes the team and doesn’t perform to the high standards,….bamm…back down to Rockford he will go.

    Two more days. We’ll get all the info we need very soon.
    Let’s go Hawks!!!!!

  • September 27, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    If the Hawks carry more than 7 defensemen, it will only be until a team has an injury and wants to give up a 6th or 7th rounder for Brookbank.

    The things that Wall just said are why it is so much more important to WATCH HOW PEOPLE PLAY rather than to read their stat line. It’s also why hockey is worlds better in person than it is on tv. It’s so much easier to follow how players move away from the puck, and as I (and many others) have observed of Nordstrom, the kid is ALWAYS in the right spot to make the smart play. That doesn’t mean he’s going to score 20 goals or dish out all of the assists (especially if he is on a line with Bollig and Kruger), but he can play 15 minutes a night and not lose you a game.

    I do feel bad for the likes of Morin and Pirri who have worked their ass off to try to make it to the bigs, but it’s all part of the game.

  • September 27, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    If I had to choose one player between Morin, Hayes, Pirri & Smith – I would pick Morin because not only is he a goal scorer, but he also has a bit of nasty to him and it appears to be natural for him. Hayes talks like he wants to play the power forward role and I’m sure he tries, but it seems like it’s not his natural personality. He can probably grow into that role but it’s pretty apparent he has a ways to go in that area to be consistent at it. Smith is similarly missing something … actually missing any one thing that he does good enough to be a starting NHL’er. He’s like the journeyman that can be used for spot fill in duty but not in a full time role. Pirri is an enigma – I really have no idea what his hidden shortcoming is other than seemingly not thought of very highly by the coach.

    So if Nordstrom has one of the two spots locked up, I’m pulling for Morin … even though it seems Q like Smith and it will probably be opening night curtains for Morin, Hayes and Pirri.

  • September 27, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    ER- Kinda scary- but my thoughts – exactly.

    JS- your right about the D – Brookbank is gone if someone wants him…

    Here is another crazy idea… Kostka looked really good until he was rail-roaded into the boards… noticed Q played him at forward (when 29 was a late scratch)…
    At practice he was sitting in between the circles – practicing a lot of one timers…
    Perhaps Q is planning on unleashing Kostka on the PP as the middle man on a 1-3-1 set… this was exactly how the Hawks used Montador (the last time the PP was good about 2-3 years ago)- it was the ONLY thing Monty actually was good at. I guess no one else is Man enough to go there… or the Coaches don’t believe in that PP set… But really they need to try something different- other teams use it- Turned on Canucks game (for 5 min.) and they scored with it!

  • September 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Good point, if we carry 8d then its only until we trade 17 s contract. 6 is a better 7th man… Plus I like 14-7 more too.

    No matter who s on the 23man to start their all going to play, especially in the first 40games. 52 & 26 arnt playing all 82games…

    At the end of the day, with the diff. between 36,67,25 & these guys I think the pk is a hair worse(coming from top3, so not bad at all), not as fast will be noticeably worse(from what were used to… 42 helps there), yea these guys can shoot better so thats less possessions but with higher score perct., IQ is a little better but no experience like 36(even on a off yr for him). Overall it s about the same. Plus we are adding a good role player at deadline.

    Where I think those guys are right, our farm guys now are moar ‘blackhawks brand’ ready than other years, being deepest organizationally… Once T, Danault & Ross get here(and have enough games under their belts…), then were that too. Elite team problems, we ll be soaking it in for many years.

  • September 28, 2013 at 7:21 am

    I think Pirri’s biggest problem, he is simply not the 2C the Hawks are looking for. The Hawks are loaded with 3C and 4C centers, including Pirri, who may become 2C in a year or two. I guess Pirri has not stepped up to take that position from Krugs or Zues. At this point the coaches may be more intent on considering their other options.

  • September 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I haven’t had the chance to watch the Hawks preseason games but I have listened to them and Nordstrom is always around the puck and making a play. For a team loaded w front end talent Nordstrom does a great job of doing little things on a bottom six role which will keep him on the roster. With this being a full season and an Olympic year guys will need days off while should allow all the kids the chance to make a name for themselves. Should be another fun season.

  • September 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Caps game…

    Nordstrom had another great game… hitting, stealing puck, setting up A grade scoring chances…

    Pirri – played mostly well… but then made the “Stalberg type play” an ill-advised pass toward the Blueline that turned into an odd man rush and game tied! Got his pocket picked from behind a few times to leaving Hawks zone… Kid is not ready!

    Hayes was invisible until he broke out in 3rd and roofed a nice shot… IMO- the guy has great hands… but can only skate in one direction. The 3rd line was invisible and the least dominant- until that one shot.

    Kruger- had a very good game… but still suffers from “The Frolik shot syndrome”

    At some point- Q might realize/trust Nordstrom enough to skate him w/ 65/28 or Morin… he plays/skates a lot like Shaw… hits guys that are bigger, steals pucks from bigger/stronger guys… and make nice/quick passes for great scoring chances. To bad they will be wasted passing to 52/16.

  • October 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Absolutely outstanding comments across the board…Nordstrom made the team because he is sound defensively, consistent, and does all the little things well, which make him perfect for the PK…Morin and Pirri who are great kids who deserve their shots, are more one dimensional players…and to a coach like Q, that’s just not very serviceable…which is what guys like Nordstrom, Kruger and Kostka are…

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