NHL win-win: Experience for Olofsson, historic exposure for Colorado College hockey

February 22, 2017 Updated: February 22, 2017 at 6:50 pm
photo - Gustav Olofsson, Nate Prosser
Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild

©2017 MN Wild photo by Bruce Kluckhohn
Gustav Olofsson, Nate Prosser Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild ©2017 MN Wild photo by Bruce Kluckhohn #612-929-6010 bruce@brucekphoto.com 

Former Colorado College defenseman Gustav Olofsson made his mark in his second stint in the NHL, to the delight of his college team and its fans.

What made it even more exciting for his former coaches and teammates is that he did so playing alongside former Tigers All-American defenseman Nate Prosser in what Minnesota media dubbed the "all-CC pairing" or "The Tigers pair."

It was the first time two former Tigers defensemen were paired together in the NHL and they did it for the Western Conference-leading Minnesota Wild.

One of his former teammates, CC captain Sam Rothstein, is happy to see his friend performing well for the senior's hometown Wild. Olofsson and Carolina regular Jaccob Slavin would have been seniors this season.

"It's really cool to see guys you came in with do well," Rothstein said. "We still keep in touch and (Olofsson) follows the program and wants it to succeed. It's especially nice because of the kind of guy Goose is and what I have heard about Prosser. It's always good to see those guys have success."

"It reflects well on the program and it shows there have been some unbelievable players who have come through here," Rothstein added.

Olofsson was sent down to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League on Wednesday morning after playing in eight games and recording his first NHL points. He tallied two assists against Detroit on Feb. 12.

"It was a good start to kind of ease the nerves," Olofsson said during a media conference. "I think those were some of the easiest points I've ever gotten playing hockey."

The duo was a good third pairing with the 30-year-old Prosser (270 NHL games, 35 points) providing valuable advice and backup for the 22-year-old Olofsson, a native of Sweden raised in Colorado.

"It's unbelievable," Olofsson said. "Everyone makes it easier, especially Prosser. They have made the transition very easy."

There was a learning curve, seen during some defensive breakdowns, but injuries allowed the 2013 second-round Wild draft pick to experience his first extended stay in the NHL after recording two games in his first two professional seasons.

The recent playing time - about 16 minutes a game - is important for Olofsson, who is entering the final season of his three-year rookie deal. Due to two season-ending injuries, his pro games have been limited.

The Wild management took advantage of the situation to see how Olofsson might fit in their plans. The experience should prove valuable.

"(Prosser) knows what it takes to be a pro and I think Gustav is learning from him," Tigers coach Mike Haviland said. "It's outstanding for them and our program because whenever you have national recognition of former players it is a good thing."

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