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Vejdemo: 'I felt I took a step this year'

Being recalled by the Canadiens was a thrill for Lukas Vejdemo, who continues to make strides and impress

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

VANCOUVER - Talk about turning a frown completely upside down.

Shortly after Lukas Vejdemo and the AHL's Laval Rocket were blanked 5-0 by the Rochester Americans on Saturday at Place Bell, the 23-year-old Swede was informed of his recall by the Canadiens.

"We lost, so I was pretty down," admitted Vejdemo, who joined the big club just in time for their Western Canada road trip. "But, that was good news getting called up. You get your smile up again."

That certainly did the trick, and the former third-round selection wasted little time sharing the good news with his biggest supporters back home - regardless of the six-hour time difference from Montreal.

"I texted my dad, but it was a little late there. He saw it the next morning. He was glad for me," explained Vejdemo, whose father, Roland, and sister, Rebecca, reside in Stockholm. "Of course they were happy back there. They were happy and excited."

As they should be given the body of work Vejdemo has managed to string together in one-season plus of pro hockey in North America.

After registering 13 goals and 29 points in 66 games last year, Vejdemo has eight goals and 16 points in just 30 games during the 2019-20 campaign.

And he's feeling increasingly at ease with the style of play on this side of the pond, too, which bodes well for the future.

"I felt like I took a step this year," stated Vejdemo. "Everything is kind of new when you first get here, but this year I feel more comfortable. I had a good summer with good practice, and I'm feeling stronger and faster."

Admittedly, the Djurgardens IF (SHL) product credits his recent success to making a few tweaks to his training methodology.

"I practiced more on-ice this summer than before. Usually you have a long off-ice season in Sweden, but this time I worked with my hands a little bit more and shortened my stick a bit, too. I feel that's a little bit different," confided Vejdemo. "I had some coaches recommend that I shorten my stick. They gave me that tip to get a little bit deeper. I tried it and I liked it, and so far so good."

Video: Lukas Vjedemo on being recalled by the Canadiens

While it remains to be seen when Vejdemo will make his NHL debut, he's soaking in every single second of his Habs experience thus far.

Upon arrival in Vancouver on Sunday afternoon, he had dinner with countryman Christian Folin. The pair previously met while Folin was on a conditioning stint with the Rocket.

"It's always nice to have another Swede around you. He's a really nice guy. He was with us in Laval for two weeks, so I kind of got to know him from there. It was fun to see him again," said Vejdemo. "We had a good chat. His message was 'Just go out there, enjoy, and have fun.' He was happy for me. We just chatted and had a great time."

Practicing in between Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher on Monday afternoon was a treat for Vejdemo, too. Phillip Danault was given a therapy day, so Julien turned to the newcomer to pivot the top line.

"Going right in with those guys was really fun," praised Vejdemo. "They're skilled, and you just try to play with them."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Lukas Vejdemo m��ne les ��tirements �� Vancouver.@vejde96 leads the stretch in Vancouver. 🧘���������#GoHabsGo

Make no mistake about it, though, when the Canadiens' No. 42 gets the nod, he'll be ready to rock.

"It's a dream come true. You always dream about the NHL when you're a small kid, and now you're here. It feels really good," said Vejdemo. "I'm going to play my style of game, and I will do my best to use my tools and my skating."

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