During last week’s development camp, most of the focus seemed to on Colton Sissons, Filip Forsberg and Kevin Fiala. One of the players that fans should be looking forward to making the jump though, is Pontus Åberg. Last year, Åberg played 52 games for Färjestads BK in the Swedish Elite League where he registered 31 points (15G-16A). This upcoming season will be his first in North America as he’ll begin with the Milwaukee Admirals. Transitioning from the European to North American game can present some challenges, but it’s something the 2012 2nd Round pick (37th overall) is looking forward to facing.
“I’m excited for my first year over here,” said Åberg. “I’m going to try to show them my best and adjust to the smaller rink. I think it fits me pretty well, so I’m looking forward to next season.”
It always helps to at least know someone from your country that has been playing in North America. The Swedish prospect has some insight from another player looking to make an impact in the organization.
“I know Forsberg and all the Swedish guys,” said Åberg. “Some guys have been to the camp before, too. [Forsberg] and I are going to a camp in Sweden this summer, so we can catch up there. It’s going to be fun to play with everyone next year.”
Åberg isn’t new to development camp for the Predators and he’s one of the “veterans” in regards to prospects that attended camp.
“I’m one of the old guys here,” said Åberg. “I’m more prepared this camp than before. I’ve gained some muscle and weight. I practiced a lot this year and knew I had to get better.”
Getting better is going to be important as he’s going to be facing more NHL-caliber talent when playing with the Admirals. A player must adjust his game to fit with the physicality and smaller rink of the North American style of the game.
“I think the game is faster with the smaller rink,” said Åberg. “They play harder, so you have to keep your head up. There are a lot of body checks over here, so it’s going to be fun.
Åberg is a good skater, but will have to work on his consistency. He has the ability to produce and has excellent hockey sense. His biggest up-front challenge will be adjusting his game where the bodies tend to fly more than in Europe. It’s all part of the process in growing up in the system, so it’ll be exciting to watch how he adjusts his game and develops in Milwaukee this season.