Make no mistake about it, Mattias Ohlund had a remarkable NHL career and played a significant role during his time in Tampa Bay. Ohlund can be looked back on as a valuable veteran presence who was a key factor in developing fellow Swede Victor Hedman’s career.
The Lightning signed the big 32-year-old defenseman to a lengthy seven-year contract in 2009, the same offseason Hedman was drafted. The issue was not the money committed to Ohlund- he was certainly worth the money. The term of the deal on the older defenseman would be quickly regrettable, reinforcing the belief that you can’t sign players well into their 30’s to significant term.
Ohlund finds himself at the top of the worst free-agent signing list through no fault of his own because he was only healthy enough to play two of the seven years he signed for. Multiple significant knee issues forced Ohlund’s career to come to a premature ending. For seemingly an eternity after his final game in 2011, Ohlund was continually listed on the roster until his contract expired in 2016.