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Tracking the Storm

Conditioning Camp Vital for Karlsson

Friday, 06.29.2012 / 10:02 AM / 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 MTL 63 41 17 5 171 139 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61