WILMINGTON, MA – Niklas Svedberg’s fire-engine red goalie pads may have been the only thing louder than the ovation the Bruins prospects received when skating onto the ice at Ristuccia Arena on Thursday for the first day of Development Camp.
The 22-year-old goaltender played for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League in 2011-12, recording an impressive 2011-12 regular season, and an even more impressive playoff campaign with a 1.70 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.
Svedberg also blanked his opponents four times in the playoffs, slamming the door shut en route to bringing Brynas their first SEL title since 1999.
His impressive play caught the eyes of the Bruins organization, who signed him to an entry-level contract on May 29.
“My goal all [my] life has been to play in [the] NHL and this is a step on the way to sign a contract with Boston,” Svedberg said.
The Sollentuna, Sweden native mentioned that jet lag wasn’t a factor despite changing time zones.
“I got here on Tuesday so I’ve had time to adjust to the time and everything. So everything’s good so far,” he said.
He also feels great out on the ice.
“It’s just the first day so far but nice to be on the ice again,” the goaltender said. “Haven’t been on the ice so much since we ended our season back in Sweden.”
Despite having acclimated to the local time here in Boston, Svedberg acknowledged the minor differences between North America and the SEL.
“It’s been a good league for me to play in and it’s gonna be a little bit different now with the smaller rinks,” he said.
The ice surface may be smaller, but there is not shortage of healthy competition for the B's prospect. Following the first practice, Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney spoke about the unusually high number of six goalie prospects at camp this year.
“It’s unique that we have six goaltenders,” Sweeney acknowledged.
“I think goaltenders in general take a little bit longer in terms of hitting their peak at the pro level,” he said. “So we want to be patient at that regard.”
Sweeney also spoke about how competing for spots brings out the best in players.
"I think the fact that we’ve created some internal competition is really healthy,” Sweeney said. “You know, Niklas Svedberg coming in with the pro experience and the successes he’s had overseas, I think is going to be helpful for [Bruins prospect] Michael Hutchinson.”
Though Svedberg’s stellar play throughout the season – and bright red pads – may have helped him stand out among the enlisted backstops reporting to camp, his focus this week remains on continuing to improve his game.
“[I’m] looking forward to the rest of the week and probably [learning] a lot I can use to become a better player,” he said. “Just gotta keep on [working] hard to work my way up.”