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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 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 54 15 19 -13 34
J. Skinner 55 19 12 -3 31
V. Rask 53 12 19 0 31
J. Staal 55 12 19 7 31
K. Versteeg 54 10 21 1 31
E. Staal 55 9 21 1 30
E. Lindholm 55 8 16 -9 24
A. Nestrasil 48 8 12 0 20
J. Nordstrom 44 5 10 2 15
R. Hainsey 55 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 7 .909 2.34
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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