"It's tough to expect more from him."
Rockford IceHogs Head Coach Jeremy Colliton has seen how tough the transition from the European game to the smaller North American ice can be. However, if a player with the size and skill of Victor Ejdsell can make that jump, they have a chance to become an impact player.
"It was his first opportunity over here and there was an adjustment period," Colliton said of the 2018 American Hockey League playoffs. "It didn't surprise anyone that he ended up scoring some pretty big goals for us and played in important situations."
Ejdsell finished tied for Rockford's lead in postseason goals with seven, also adding five assists.
"There were times where it looked like it was his first experience in North America, but there were also times where we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did without him," said the coach.
Without that long playoff run, Ejdsell would have had his development placed on pause. Instead, the IceHogs reaching the Western Conference Final allowed the 23-year-old Swede more exposure to the North American game - and he began to flash his potential as a result.
"We developed a pretty good chemistry down the road in the playoffs," Ejdsell said. "That was probably a big key to our success down there. Personally, with my game, I think it improved a lot over time too. It was good for me that the playoffs lasted as long as they did. I felt I got more comfortable in the game and got more used to the smaller rinks. That's something that takes time, so that was good for me."
Time and experience led to the forward's offensive upside shining.
"I just tried to play my game and do whatever I think I'm good at, and just try to improve as well, all the time," he said. "The key to being good is do what you do best. I'm trying to do that, be myself and just have fun down the road too. I think I did that well."
Ejdsell says this summer has been a productive one for him as he works on his physical presence off the ice to better perform on it.
"I'm feeling pretty good right now," he said. "I've had a good offseason so far. I have a little more than a month left, so I have to go on the ice more but I've had a good time, training with my coach back in Sweden. I'm trying to get stronger, because that's something I can definitely get better at. I have to be stronger to win more battles in the game.
"I also have to get faster, because it's a fast game. I have to improve that every season. I've been working a lot on that, and it's been good so far."
Heading into camp, Ejdsell is focused on making even more of an impression on the Blackhawks, who traded for him in February.
"I just want to do my game, prove myself and play as high up on the team as I can," he said. "I want to contribute where I'm supposed to be and stuff like that. I'm just trying to do my thing and I'll end up playing where I play."
As his coach in Rockford, Colliton saw Ejdsell's potential. It's now on the player to build on that.
"I don't think we should have expectations on what he's going to do," Colliton said. "He's very skilled, he has a chance to become a player. Timeline, who knows? Let's see how he looks in the fall."