Then and Now: Ole-Kristian Tollefsen

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After his fourth season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen signed with the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2009 offseason. Known as a tough and physical defender, the Norwegian played all of 18 games for the Orange and Black before being traded away for a crucial piece in the Flyers’ 2010 playoff run.

Tollefsen endured all his games in the Orange and Black from October 8th, 2009, which was the Flyers’ first loss of the season in a 5-4 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins, to January 30th, 2010, a 2-1 win for Philly over the New York Islanders. In that time the defenseman registered two assists, 23 PIMs, and a plus-one rating.

One of his most notable incidents as a Flyer was his beat down of Trent Whitfield in a Flyers-Bruins’ contest in late October of the 2009-2010 season.

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On February 6th, 2010, Tollefsen was shipped to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a struggling rookie by the name of Ville Leino. The Wings also acquired the Flyers’ fifth-round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, with which Detroit picked defenseman Mattias Backman 146th overall. The Swedish d-man has yet to play in the NHL.

While Leino went on to record 21 points in 19 playoff games in 2010 to tie Dino Ciccarelli for the NHL record for playoff points by a rookie, Tollefsen played in 16 games for the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, before leaving North America to play hockey elsewhere. The defenseman recorded one goal, 44 PIMs, and a minus-one rating in his time with Grand Rapids.

After he was traded to Detroit, Tollefsen represented Norway at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He took part in three games and posted a minus-1 rating, as he received a 25-minute penalty and a suspension for three international games due to his hit to the head of Lubos Bartecko of Slovakia.

For the 2010-2011 season, Tollefsen joined MODO HK of the Elitserien and was named an alternate captain. MODO also featured Mattias Timander, Niko Dimitrakos, and Bartecko. Since they finished last in the 12-team league, MODO faced Sodertalje SK in relegation. Tollefsen and his teammates were saved and remained in the Elitserien for the 2011-2012 regular season.

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The defenseman also enjoyed being the captain of Norway’s team in the 2011 IIHF World Championship. He had an assist and 10 PIMs in seven games for his country, as Norway lost to the eventual tournament winners in Finland by a score of 4-1 in the Quarterfinals.

In the 2011-2012 season Tollefsen returned to MODO and was named captain in his highest point-producing season since he posted 18 points with the Syracuse Crunch in 2005-2006, as he produced two goals and nine assists in 50 games. With the help of some new players in Patrik Hersley, Joonas Lehtivuori, and Freddy Meyer, MODO was able to reach the Elitserien postseason by clinching the eighth and final playoff spot.

MODO was eliminated in the Quarterfinals, as Skelleftea HK beat them in six games and went on to lose in the Finals to Brynas IF. Tollefsen had 14 PIMs and a minus-1 rating in the six-game series.

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Tollefsen was captain of Norway’s team at the IIHF World Championship for a second straight season in 2012, as he registered 20 PIMs and a minus-3 rating in eight games. Norway was eliminated in the Quarterfinals 5-2 by Russia, who went on to win the tournament.

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For the 2012-2013 season, Tollefsen joined Farjestads Bollklubb, another team in the Elitserien. Farjestad finished sixth in the league last season and reached the Semifinals before losing to Brynas IF.