Tracking the Storm

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.”



SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72