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Conditioning Camp Vital for Karlsson

Friday, 06.29.2012 / 10:02 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Conditioning Camp Vital for Karlsson
Erik Karlsson was in the midst of the 300-yard shuffle earlier this week.

Michael Smith
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Then, his shoes ripped.

“They looked [bad],” he said of his now-trashed Adidas pair, smiling. “The whole side was just a hole.”

Canes’ Head Athletic Trainer Pete Friesen was able to get him a new, more reliable pair. Buying good shoes: one of the many lessons Karlsson has already learned during the Carolina Hurricanes’ week-long conditioning camp.

Also vital?

“The rest. Going to sleep earlier,” he said. “It’s a tough test each day.”

Perhaps neither is the most important piece of information he’ll take from this experience, even if his stall-mate and fellow draft pick Trevor Carrick teased him about his shoes.

For the 17-year-old, Lerum, Sweden native, the most important aspect of this week is getting a taste of the North American game. Playing in Sweden’s top professional hockey league Elitserien, Karlsson has grown up with a style focused more on finesse and playmaking.

He’s quickly noticed the pronounced difference in the North American game, even just in drills and light scrimmages.

“The game over here is tougher,” he said. “There are a lot more hits, and it’s a tougher game.”

Listed at 6-feet and 162 pounds, Karlsson is currently built more for the European game. His size is likely the reason teams passed over him in the draft, as the Canes picked him 99th overall in the fourth round. He’s got the hands and the speed but needs to pack on some strength to be able to handle the rigors of the NHL.

Knowing this, he’ll head back to Sweden with a certain goal in mind.

“There are big guys [here], and everyone is really good,” he said. “Now I know how they play over here, so I will go home and work on that.”

Karlsson, who was the only European-born player selected by the Canes in the draft and, consequently, the only one at camp, signed a one-year contract with Frolunda. He will play in Sweden for at least another season and may explore the option of playing in North America after that.

“I’m going to think about it. I like everything here. It’s great,” he said. “So we will see next year what’s happening.”

In just four games with Frolunda’s Under-18 team last season, Karlsson exploded for 10 points (3g, 7a). With Frolunda’s junior team, where Karlsson spent the majority of the season, he recorded 14 goals and 19 assists (33 points).

Next season, Karlsson said he hopes to play around 10 games with Frolunda’s elite team and the rest with their junior squad. He also has plans of making the cut for Sweden’s World Junior team.

“That would be a great experience and really fun,” he said.

Karlsson already has international experience under his belt, as he skated on Sweden’s silver-medal-winning national team in the Under-18 Worlds. In six tournament games, he had 3 points (1g, 2a) and was a plus-2.

During his week-long stay in North Carolina – which, combined with Pittsburgh for the draft weekend, is his first time in the States – Karlsson is soaking up all he can manage at and away from the rink.

The weather, for instance, is nicer here, he said. Hot, but nicer.

“It’s cold in Sweden,” he said. “Here, it’s about 100 degrees.”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81