(Voorhees, NJ) – With the additions of Chris Pronger
, Ray Emery and Ian Laperriere
this summer, the Flyers sent a message to the rest of the NHL that they planned on playing a more aggressive and rugged style of hockey.
Just when it looked like general manager Paul Holmgren was done with his offseason attitude adjustment of the roster, however, he added one more component. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, a 25-year-old defenseman who had been with Columbus the last three-plus seasons, signed a one-year deal with the Flyers on July 30.
|Ole-Kristian Tollefsen signed a one-year deal with the Flyers on July 30, 2009. (Getty Images) |
Tollefsen, originally drafted in the third round by Columbus in 2002, is yet another player that skates with an edge to his game, as evidenced by his numerous fights and highlight-reel hits with the Blue Jackets during his time there.
“I think that’s one of the main things about this team,” said Tollefsen, when asked about the Flyers’ toughness. “It’s not going to be fun to play against us. That’s how [we’ll] win games.”
Although he has not been in the league all that long, Tollefsen already has the reputation of being a hard hitter that looks to finish checks with his 6-2, 211-pound frame. He takes pride in that facet of his game. (Editor's note
: check out this hit on YouTube against Buffalo's Ales Kotalik during a game last season
“I think every guy in the NHL has to be good at something to make yourself known in the league, and that’s one of my upsides, obviously. Hopefully I can keep on doing that here.
“I’m a reliable player. I take care of my own end first. I’m not really an offensive guy, but I can jump in whenever I get the opportunity and I will stick up for teammates and bring a lot of energy to the rink.”
Tollefsen, who is just one of five Norwegian-born players to ever skate in the NHL, remained home in Oslo after signing with the Flyers. He began skating at the beginning of August, which is a little earlier than most players, because he has not played since February when he sustained a season-ending knee injury. He appeared in just 19 games last season, recording one assist and 37 penalty minutes.
“Right now it’s feeling good, but it obviously takes some time to get back,” he said. “I’ve been skating since August 1 and it’s getting better pretty much every day. [There have been] no setbacks, and hopefully we’ll keep it that way.”
He arrived in Philadelphia on August 27, and is impressed with the organization so far. He’s not surprised, though, as his good friend and former Flyer Patrick Thoresen (also from Norway) had nothing but good things to say about the club.
“They take really good care of you, and if there’s something I need, they’re on top of it right away and they help you all the way along,” said Tollefsen. “I’ve been downtown a couple of times and it looks like a nice city.”
He’s getting to know his new teammates as well, since the only one he ever played with before was Brian Boucher during the goaltender’s very brief stint in Columbus in 2006.
“I think I played one game against Philly, so it’s not too familiar,” he said. “It takes a little time, but it’s good in a way. That’s why I’m here a little early, just to get to know the guys and see the city and everything.”
Tollefsen will get to partake in the 2010 Olympic Games with Norway, as the NHL will once again have its players in the tournament in Vancouver.
“Obviously, it’s something I’m looking forward to.”
He doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself, however. Getting established as a key component of a blue line corps that already appears loaded, while at the same time returning from a major injury, will be at the top on his priority list.
“I want to have a good start here. As I said earlier, I’m really excited to get back into it.”