CALGARY, AB --
For Calgary Flames goaltender Henrik Karlsson
, his first year in the NHL was all about adjustments.
Adjusting to North American ice. Adjusting to a different culture. Adjusting to new coaches. Adjusting to new teammates.
From an outsiders perspective, he seemed to make the transition effortlessly. He played in 17 games last year, posted a .905 save percentage, notched a 2.58 GAA and recorded points in 10 games.
He proved he was capable of backing up workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff
and signed a two-year contract with the club in the offseason.
All and all, it looked like his inaugural campaign was a resounding success. However, Karlsson feels all of the fine-tuning he needed to do slightly hampered his on-ice performance.
"Last year was my first year over here so there was a lot of new things. Everything was new and a lot of energy was spent on the wrong things.
"For me, it's just I'm here with much more confidence and focus on what I'm going to do. Now I feel relaxed and focused."
Karlsson has yet to see a full game in the preseason, playing two half-games over the past week. He played the first 30 minutes during the Flames 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and carried the load for the opening half of the contest against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.
The Flames fell 3-0 to the Oilers but Karlsson felt his performance in that game was drastically better than the win against the Canucks.
"I felt good actually until that cheap goal," he said after the 3-0 loss. "I guess it's better that those kind of goals happen during the preseason. Overall, I felt pretty good.
"I just take it step-by-step and I think I'm on the right way. I've been feeling better and better in practice. I had a better feeling than the game against Vancouver. It's going the right way."
This summer, the Flames hired Clint Malarchuk to take over the goaltending coaching duties and Karlsson couldn't help but go out of his way to mention how smooth the coaching transition has been.
"I had a great couple of weeks here with Clint," Karlsson smiled. "I think we're on the right way and we're getting better. Everything he says is spot on. It's working really good between us."Follow Torie Peterson on Twitter | @ToriePeterson