Where Are They Now? Tommy Salo

Today’s feature begins a series where we will focus on former Islanders goaltenders. The first one is Tommy Salo who spent 5 seasons as a member of the Islanders from 1994-1999.

Tommy Salo’s professional hockey career was spent both in the NHL and overseas from 1990 until his retirement in 2007. In addition to the Islanders he also played for the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche. Overseas he played for Modo Hockey of the Elitserien league in Sweden during the NHL lockout in the 2004-2005 season and for Frolunda in the same league. Salo who is Swedish also participated in the Olympics for the Sweden National Hockey team where he won the gold medal in 1994. He also competed in the 1998 and 2004 Olympics for Sweden.

Tommy Salo began his NHL career with the Islanders and in the 1996-1997 year is when he emerged as the top goaltender for the team. On Islanders teams that had struggled in the mid 1990’s, Salo put up solid numbers in goal averaging just under 3 goals a game allowed. Salo was traded from the Islanders in March of 1999 to Edmonton that sent Mats Lindgren and a draft pick to Long Island and that draft choice was used on RadekMartinek. After his time with the Islanders, Tommy Salo went on to have success with the Oilers where he made two All-Star Game appearances in 2000 and 2002 and a career best 2.22 goals against average in 2001. In 2004 he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche where he played in 5 games for them at the end of the 2003-2004 season and would conclude his NHL career. In total, Salohad a 210-225-73 overall record with 37 career shutouts and a 5-16 record in the playoffs.  (Photo Credit: www.bestsportsphotos.com).

The results of the 2004-2005 NHL Lockout saw Salo go home to his native Sweden where he began play in the Elitserien league for the next 3 seasons. He retired from professional hockey after the 2006-2007 season.  Shortly after the completion of his playing career, Kungälvs IK of the Swedish tier III league announced Salo would be their head coach, a position he held for the next two seasons. Following his tenure with the club, he signed with IK Oskarshamn in 2009. On December 1, 2010, Salo left his post at IK Oskarshamn to become General Manager for his hometown club Leksands IF a position he still holds today.

Tommy Salo was a very good NHL goaltender and while the numbers in the win loss column may take that away, it was still a successful NHL career for him having made the playoffs in 4 of his 6 seasons with the Oilers. The mid 1990’s were a difficult time on the ice for the Islanders but Salo had consistency in net each night for them. His success in the Winter Olympics is one to also remember as the Sweden gold medal in 1994 was when NHL players weren’t allowed to participate in the games. The next goaltender to be featured will be Felix Potvin.

-John Santamaria

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