Many Swedish players in the Sabres organization have played for Rikard Grönborg

All felt the Swedish national coach could make the jump to the NHL

Paul Hamilton
April 29, 2019 - 10:39 am

Photo: Kevin Sousa - USA TODAY Sports


Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Rikard Grönborg is a name that keeps popping up in the Sabres' coaching search. Grönborg is preparing for the World Championship where his team, Sweden, is two-time defending champion. After this tournament, Grönborg will be leaving the national team, and he’s told The Athletic that he wants to coach in the NHL.

The Amerks just finished their locker cleanout this past weekend and all the Swedish players in Rochester have played for him.

Here’s what each players had to say:


Victor Olofsson:

“I played for him in World Juniors and I had him as coach a little bit last year before the World Championships, so I know him pretty well and he’s a great coach.”

“I feel like he’s pretty fair. If you’re working really hard and playing well, he will let you play.”


Lawrence Pilut:

“I’ve had him on the national team a couple of times and he’s a good coach.”

“He’s a detail coach. I haven’t had him too much, but the times I’ve had him he’s very detailed with a lot of video.”


Alex Nylander:

“I had him in World Juniors for one tournament. He was really good to me. He was a great coach helping everybody on the team as much as he could.”

“Obviously he was a good coach because we were playing good hockey when we were with him, he’s just been really good.”

I asked Nylander if he thought Grönborg could make the jump to the NHL. He said, “Yes, I only had him for a tournament, so the stuff I learned through that tournament was a lot. Growing up here I didn’t have a Swedish coach, but of course I think he can be a NHL coach."


Rasmus Asplund:

“I played two World Juniors for him and had him with the National Team in the post season too.”

“In Sweden we say he’s a North American type of guy coaching wise, so he’s honest and knows what he wants and doesn’t leave anything to chance, I mean with every video and everything he’s humble and knows what he wants out there.”

Asplund liked Grönborg too, “Yes I did. He wanted me on the World Junior team, he liked me and I played a lot, so I did.”

I asked Asplund the same question I asked Nylander, if he thought Grönborg could make the jump to the NHL. Asplund said, “Yes of course. He had been living over here too so he’s really familiar with the language, so I haven’t had him that much, but he has everything around him to make the jump I think.”


Sabres general manager Jason Botterill will be in Slovakia for the World Championship next month and he’s one of three men running Team Canada. Botterill would be there anyway scouting European free agents, so if he’s interested in Grönborg, he’ll be able to see him in action and talk to him.

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