As a kid, Nilsson would shoot the puck at his father's garage until he was exhausted. He cherished a dream to become a great hockey forward. He began his career with Stockholm's Djurgarden and then played for AIK. From 1973 to 1977, Nilsson, or "Kenta," as the fans nicknamed him, played 122 games for the two teams, scoring 80 goals and getting 66 assists, only hinting at what was to come.
In the 1977-78 season, he made his debut with the WHA's Winnipeg Jets and earned 107 points, 42 goals and 65 assists in 80 games. He earned the same total the next season 39 goals and 68 assists in 78 games.
Afterwards, Nilsson moved to the NHL, where he played with the Flames for six seasons. In 1980-81, he scored 49 goals and made 82 assists, earning 131 points and achieving third spot in the league after Wayne Gretzky and Marcel Dionne. In 1987, while Nilsson was with the Edmonton Oilers, the team won the Stanley Cup, marking the peak of his success.
In his later NHL years, Nilsson played for the Minnesota North Stars and the Edmonton Oilers, but his game wasn't as good as it had been, so he went to Europe, joining Bolzano in Italy. In the 1987-88 season, he scored 74 goals and made 86 assists. He went on to play for Lugano and Kloten in Switzerland, Austria's Graz and Norway's Valerengen.
After his remarkable hockey odyssey, Nilsson could claim some unprecedented achievements: He had been a WHA champion, Stanley Cup winner and champion of Switzerland and Italy. It seems he earned countless points during his career. In the NHL alone, he played 553 games and scored 264 goals. But Nilsson kept track of his personal statistics: He played 1,095 games, scored 621 goals, made 864 passes and had 236 penalty minutes.
These days, Nilsson is often seen in the crowd at Stockholm's Globe Arena. An alert and discriminating spectator, he watches the games intently as the Edmonton Oilers' European scout.