Will Schneekloth/Icon SMI)
With many wondering just how much longer Daniel Alfredsson will be lacing up his skates for the Ottawa Senators, it’s easy to understand that fans of the team are already clamoring for an heir apparent from Scandinavia’s biggest producer of NHL talent. One such candidate is Jakob Silfverberg, a player that Senators' GM Bryan Murray was ready to add to his NHL lineup last fall.
But the 2009 second round draft pick felt he needed another year of development in his native country and returned to Brynas IF Gavle. All Silfverberg did this past season was lead his team in scoring with 24 goals and 54 points in 49 games while helping the team take the SEL championship. He then went to North America and played in two playoff games for the Senators. Now Team Sweden has him entrenched on their second scoring unit at the 2012 World Championships.
After a 6-4 victory over Denmark, Jakob shared a few words with Hockey’s Future.
Hockey’s Future: Tonight you won a game that everyone expected you to win. You guys got off to a very quick 4-0 lead before things settled down a bit. Sometimes these types of games are hard to play, because the other team has another forty-five minutes to get back into it, which is exactly what happened. What was your take on things?
Jakob Silfverberg: We started off the first two periods very well. As you say, we got off to a very big lead, but going into the third period, we let up a bit and it showed. They got a quick goal and the fourth goal came pretty quickly after that. It was a good game for us, but was a hard game to play. We had puck control most the time and that’s really ‘our’ game.
HF: Three games, three victories: Are things going exactly as expected?
JS: I don’t know. You just have to take things day by day, game by game. You can’t look too much ahead. We definitely head into every game thinking we’re going to win. That’s the right way to think and so far, it’s been going pretty good.
HF: You’re playing here with a few guys your age who you just won the SEL championship with Brynas. How special is this experience for you boys to not only put on that Brynas jersey together, but now also the blue and gold?
JS: It’s very nice. There are a few us here and to end up a championship season with an appearance in the World Championships right here in Sweden is simply really nice … and it’s an honor.
HF: And has the coach informed you as to why he has decided to keep you boys together with every opportunity, because at least Calle Jarnkrok has been on your line throughout?
JS: I’ve been playing with Calle four or five years now. I played with him in juniors as well and I’ve got to think that that’s the reason he’s keeping us together for now. We certainly like to play with each other.
HF: And how did you like lining up with Calder Trophy nominee Gabriel Landeskog?
JS: Well he’s a quick, fast guy out there. He’s strong on the puck and boy, does he like to hit. He’s a real factor in that department. It’s very fun to play with him.
HF: Tell me about your championship in the SEL. Going into the season, could you have imagined that you guys would go all the way?
JS: In the preseason we were one of the two teams a lot of the experts were predicting would win the championship. We continued on with that thought and well, that’s how things ended up.
HF: And how about yourself: Did you expect to be one of the top goal-scorers in the league?
JS: No, I did not. Before the season, I said to myself that I was going to get bigger and be a better player than the season before that, but I could never imagine it having gone as well as it did.
HF: Now last summer you practically became a household name in Canada after you were all over TSN, because Ottawa Senators General Manager Brian Murray was doing everything possible to have you in Ottawa this past season. How do things stand now? Are you definitely heading over this summer?
JS: I’m not sure if I’m going to the development camp, but I’m definitely going over in August and will attend the Senators’ main camp.
HF: What type of feedback did you get from Ottawa throughout the season? Did they talk to you regularly?
JS: Usually I would send them an E-mail every second week and would tell them how I’m doing and how things are going with the team. That was pretty much it.
HF: Have you talked to Daniel Alfredsson at all about life over there and what types of things you’ll have to get used to when you do ultimately move over to Ottawa?
JS: I’ve talked to both him and Erik Karlsson and have gotten myself informed of some of the things that I’ll encounter there.
HF: Your goal for next season is to be in the NHL?
JS: Yes, I hope I’ll be there, but it’s the toughest league in the world and it’s going to be a tough camp. I hope I’ll end up there, but we’ll just have to see what happens.