PENTICTON, BC -- Rasmus Andersson moved one step closer to accomplishing a lifelong dream, putting the pen to paper on a three-year entry-level contract with the Calgary Flames on Monday.
And his smile showed it.
“It’s an amazing feeling, obviously,” Andersson said. “It’s amazing. When I first heard they wanted to sign me I was thrilled. I’m really excited to be here and it’s more exciting being a part of this organization. It’s a good organization. I think it’s a bright future ahead of us and I couldn’t be more excited to sign my first contract.
“You dream about the NHL. That’s why you start playing hockey, because you want to be as best as possible and you want to play in the National Hockey League as quick as you can. I’ve dreamt about it ever since I can really remember, whenever I started playing hockey.
“It’s a huge thing to sign your first NHL deal. It’s a dream coming true ever since I was a little kid. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Andersson, a native of Malmo, Sweden, left home and joined the Barrie Colts for the 2014-15 season, leading the team’s defence in goals (12), assists (52) and points (64).
The move has proven to be worth it.
Calgary made Andersson their first pick, 53rd overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft in June. Now, they’ve got him under contract.
“It means a lot to my friends and family who supported me all this way,” said Andersson, who finished third in scoring amongst Ontario Hockey League defencemen. “They’ll keep supporting me and I’ll have a lot of phone calls tomorrow when I wake up. They’re nine hours ahead of us. My phone will probably buzz a lot (tomorrow) morning. I know my friends and family are really excited.”
Understandably, everything has come at the 18-year-old quickly.
Last year at this time, Andersson was just starting his draft journey.
“It’s so quick, everything,” the 6-foot, 212-pound blueliner said. “You can’t believe you just get signed after getting drafted a few months ago. Everything is really new for me. I couldn’t be more excited to be here.”
The contract comes on the heels of two strong showings at the Young Stars Classic in Penticton, a tournament pitting Flames prospects against those from the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers in Winnipeg Jets.
A standout in the opening two games, Andersson earned Monday’s game off.
A contract, too.
And it has Andersson is riding high on confidence as main camp approaches Thursday.
“You have a lot of confidence after a thing like this happens and after two good games from my perspective,” he said. “Obviously I have a lot of confidence right now. You can’t get too high either. You’ve got to stay on your level. You’ve got to go to the rink every day and compete for your spot.
“We have a lot of good young players here and hopefully I can be one of the young players that plays on the team. I just have to keep working on my stuff and develop my game.”