Kristofer Persson improving in Sweden

By Johan Nilsson

Untitled Document

If Kristofer Persson
hasn’t already, he’ll want to forget last season. The Calgary fifth round pick
in 2002 was with Björklöven in the Swedish 2nd-tier league, but rarely saw any
ice time at all. Björklöven’s coach Janne Karlsson had him mostly
sitting on the bench as an extra forward. Needless to say, it is not easy for an
offensive-minded player to deliver when he is not given much ice time.

To Coach Karlsson’s defense,
however, the 6’4 214-pound right winger did not showcase a lot of determination when he played him and Persson’s problems with groin injuries certainly did not help. When the season
ended, he had scored 5 goals (3 of them in one game) and an assist in 30 games.

During the summer, Persson signed with 2nd-tier league newcomers Skövde, a team that definitely does not have the same depth as Björklöven. With his new team he gets quality ice time playing on Skövde’s most productive line which also includes Johan Andersson and gritty forward Andreas
Elofsson. The 20-year-old Persson leads the team in goals with five in 13 games and is in third place
in scoring with six points.

He has throughout his young career been recognized as a gifted offensive forward with a nose for the net and good defensive skills as
well, and that has not really changed . Persson still contributes offensively, but is also given quite a bit of ice time on the penalty unit where does a decent job with his great reach trying to stress the defensemen. Being of such a large stature, his skating has been a concern. He does not really accelerate very well, but when he reaches full speed he is fast and very tough to stop. If his acceleration is considered a weakness, then his technical skills are definitely strength. At numerous occasions this season Persson has stickhandled smoothly through heavy traffic and finished plays all by himself. Defensemen have a hard time stopping him not only because of his size, but because of his cleverness when being in control of the puck.

On the downside, Persson does float around from time to time and waits for the puck to come to him, instead of working for it. Having such an advantage in size he could also get involved more physically and work the puck in the corners, but that is something you rarely see Persson do.

Persson is still the same flashy and entertaining player that he was in the juniors, but just like then he sometimes tends to disappear from the games and has some consistency problems.

There’s no question that he has the talent to become a quality SEL player in the future, but then Persson will have to bring his best game every night and improve his overall work ethics. As for the NHL concerned he is a long-shot.

Persson’s career statistics

1999-2000Björklöven J18J18 Allsvenskan 84152
VästerbottenTV-Pucken 86284
2000-2001MODO J18J18 Allsvenskan 1683114
2001-2002MODO J20SuperElit 2576132
2002-2003MODO J20SuperElit 2416122810
Örnsköldsviks SKSwe-2 133366
2003-2004BjörklövenSwe-2 3051612
2004-2005Skövde IKSwe-2 135162

Top 10 drafted prospects in the Swedish 2nd-tier league

1. David NyströmHALPhiladelphia107310
2. Tomas KollarSKEDetroit9538
3. Jimmie SvenssonT/JDetroit13527
4. Daniel JohanssonVÄXLos Angeles13167
5. Kristofer PerssonSKÖCalgary13516
6. Andreas SundinMÖRDetroit12336
7. Johan EneqvistHAMMontreal12246
8. Fredrik JohanssonVÄSEdmonton11415
9. Pontus PetterströmSKENY Rangers11325
10. Johan HägglundHAMTampa Bay11235