Axelsson returns to Sweden

P.J. Axelsson, who appeared in 797 NHL games (all with the Bruins), has signed a four-year deal with Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League, his former club. The signing closes the door on Axelsson's Bruin career, which included 103 goals and 184 assists. Axelsson, the team's seventh-round pick in 1995, established himself as one of the league's best defensive forwards.

"When you look at Bruins history, the classic Bruins, it's lunchpail hockey," said Neil Abbott, Axelsson's agent. "P.J. was a Bruin through and through, true to the core. With his hard work and determination, he gave it his all. I never saw any client work harder and have more fun doing it than P.J. He loved wearing that jersey."

Fluto Shinzawa, Boston Globe

Axelsson first left Frolunda in 1997, after being drafted by the Bruins in the seventh round in 1995, and he's been in Beantown an awful long time. Playing for an iconic Original Six franchise, he's now 10th all-time in games played as a Bruin and is only 34.

His best-ever season was only 17 goals and 36 points, but Axelsson's been one of the top 20 or so defensive forwards in the NHL for much of his career. The active players this past season who have played their entire career with only one franchise and more games than Axelsson are Mike Modano, Joe Sakic, Nick Lidstrom, Martin Brodeur, Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Alfredsson, Patrick Marleau, Patrik Elias, Jere Lehtinen and Tomas Holmstrom.

I bet we'll see Axelsson next at the 2010 Olympics.

Another player off to Frolunda is Joel Lundqvist, who played last season in Dallas and is the identical twin brother of Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

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