A version of this feature appeared in the season's first issue of Ducks Digest, available free to fans at every Ducks home game.
Three months later, it’s still known as “the Bobby Ryan trade” around these parts, and that’s certainly understandable. Ryan was a former No. 2 draft pick of the Ducks, scored 30-goals-or-more in four straight seasons and was a popular figure among fans, many of whom were jarred by the news of his trade to Ottawa.
But there might come a time very soon when fans are talking less about losing Ryan and more about what Anaheim got back in that deal. Along with forward prospect Stefan Noesen and a first-round pick in 2014, the Ducks got someone expected to make an immediate impact – promising young right winger Jakob Silfverberg.
The 22-year-old Silfverberg had a strong rookie campaign in Ottawa last season, playing in all 48 games while scoring 10 goals and chipping in nine assists. Drafted by the Sens in the second round (39th overall) in 2009, Silfverberg has represented his home country of Sweden five times, winning medals at the 2010 World Junior Championship (bronze) and the 2011 World Championship (silver). He was a teammate of Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth at the 2011 and 2012 Worlds.
In the days leading up to the start of the season, the likeable, soft-spoken Silfverberg (who uses the word “super” a lot) talked about how he’s getting used to being with the Ducks and living in Orange County.
(This was prior to Silfverberg becoming just the third player in Ducks history to score four goals in his first four games with the team.)Let’s start with the name. How is it pronounced?
I usually tell people it’s JA-kub. In Sweden, we say YAH-kob. But either JA-kub or YA-kub is good. Is Silfverberg a common name in Sweden?
It’s not a common name. My dad [Jan-Erik] was born in Finland, so it’s a Finnish-Swedish name. His parents emigrated from Finland to Sweden when they were pretty young. There are a few people in Sweden whose name is Silfverberg, but not a lot.
Your dad played some hockey in his day, correct?
|“The guys on the team have been super-nice so far and I’ve been enjoying my time here a lot. So far people seem to be so friendly here. They love to help. It’s been a very nice environment.” |
He played in the Swedish Elite League, but he played during a time when you did not get paid. So, he quit when he was 27, I think, after about 10 seasons. He played in a couple of World Championships too. He was a good defenseman, but it was a long time ago. Back then it was a different game, but he’s always been a huge help for me in pushing me to work harder and that kind of stuff. He’s happy for me that it’s been going good. When I grew up, he was a big part of me continuing to work on my game.How has it been getting used to being in Anaheim?
The guys on the team have been super nice so far and I’ve been enjoying my time here a lot. Living in California is very nice. I wanted to stay close to where Viktor lives, so I found a place near him in Irvine. It’s a super nice area, and so far, people seem to be so friendly here. They love to help. Our neighbors have been over to our house a couple times and asked if we need anything. It’s been a very nice environment. Has knowing Viktor helped in your transition to Anaheim?
Yes, for sure. I played in the World Championship with him, and he’s a very nice guy and he’s been taking care of me so far. He’s got a wife [Linda] that’s also super nice, so it’s good that she and my fiancée can spend time together when we’re on the road. Tell us about your fiancée, Clara
We got engaged a couple summers ago. She and I grew up in the same city and have been together almost 6 ½ years. We’re talking a little bit about the wedding, but we haven’t set a date yet. Back to hockey, how would you assess your rookie season in Ottawa?
Looking back on it, I’m very happy about it and I’m satisfied. I got to play a lot of minutes, and I got to play some important minutes too. That’s when you learn, and I think it was a great experience. You always want to score more goals and help the team more, and be that guy who scores game-winning goals. Other than that, I’m very satisfied and I think I learned a lot. Coming into this season, I’m very excited. Was it tough getting traded?
It’s something you’ve got to get used to. But to have such nice guys on the team helps out a lot. They make you feel comfortable. So for me, it’s been pretty easy.
What do you want Ducks fans to know about you?
|“I work hard every shift , I love to battle, and I hate to lose battles. I never give up. I love to win. I’m just a hard-working, two-way forward who loves to shoot. I just want to be a nice guy and work hard on the ice.” |
I try to always be happy. I always put a smile on my face. On the ice, I work hard every shift , I love to battle, and I hate to lose battles. I work hard on both ends. I never give up. I love to win. I think the strongest part of my game is I have a pretty quick and accurate and hard shot, and I try to shoot the puck a lot. I’m just a hard-working, two-way forward who loves to shoot. Off the ice, I’m just trying to be as nice to everyone as possible. I just want to be a nice guy and work hard on the ice. How has it been playing with Teemu?
It’s very easy to play with Teemu. He’s so good with the puck and he sees the game so well. He works so hard out there, and he’s a fast skater. I love to play with guys like that, so I’ve been enjoying it a lot so far. He’s a very nice guy, too. He’s been taking care of me on the ice, letting me know what I’m doing good and what I’m doing wrong. Do you have goals in mind for this season?
When I’m looking back on the season, I want to be able to say to myself that I became a better hockey player. I’m not sure if that means a certain amount of goals or points or anything like that. I just want to be able to say I grew as a player. That’s my goal.