EDMONTON, Alberta -- Kent Nilsson, whose offensive skills helped the Edmonton Oilers capture the Stanley Cup, has decided to return to Europe, the Edmonton Journal reported Saturday.
Nilsson, 30, acquired by Edmonton in March from Minnesota for a second-round draft choice, collected 19 playoff points and was vital in sparking linemates Glenn Anderson and Mark Messier.
The trio formed what was likely the fastest and most explosive line in the league.
Nilsson had indicated since his arrival in Edmonton that there was a strong possibility he would go back to Europe after the playoffs. After discussions with Edmonton General Manager-Coach Glen Sather, he confirmed his decision, the newspaper said.
'I loved it here,' Nilsson was quoted. 'It was fun to be around the Oilers and playing with all these great guys. And winning the Stanley Cup was really special. But it's been a goal of mine to go back to Europe.
'I would have stayed for one more year but they wanted me to sign a three-year contract. If I stay three years, all the opportunities I have to play over in Europe would be gone.'
Nilsson arrived from Sweden in 1977 and played two seasons for the Winnipeg Jets of the World Hockey Association. He then played eight NHL seasons with stops in Atlanta, Calgary, Minnesota and Edmonton. In 547 regular-season games, he totaled 263 goals and 422 assists. His best offensive output was 131 points in 1980-81 with the Calgary Flames.
'He gave us two great offensive lines,' Oilers captain Wayne Gretzky said. 'Getting Kent was the best deal we made.'