LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 8: Johan Motin #3 of Team Sweden carries the puck away from Patrick Kane #11 of Team USA Blue during an exhibition game on August 8, 2007 at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York. Team USA Blue defeated Sweden 5-3. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
His trip to the 2009 Edmonton Oilers Development Camp may have been a bit longer than what most had to travel to get here, but the journey was well worth it for 19-year-old Swedish defenceman Johan Motin.
“It took me 18 hours to get here and I was very tired afterwards, but I am very happy be here”, he commented at camp on Tuesday.
Motin was drafted in the 4th round, 103rd overall to the Oilers in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and while he is expected to play with the Springfield Falcons this upcoming season, he has his sights set higher than the AHL.
”I am here to do whatever it takes to get to the Oilers,” he said. In the meantime Motin has set a few more short-term goals for himself.
“At camp I want to get to know the guys, how the team works and to try to come into the game as fast as I can,” he said during his second day of camp. “Another focus for me is my skating as I feel that’s the hole in my game, so that’s what I am going to try and develop here and throughout the whole season.”
Oilers management remains happy with last year’s fourth round selection. In an interview with Oilers Assistant GM Kevin Prendergast he stated, “Motin had a good year again. Here’s a young man that is in his 2nd year in the Swedish elite league and for a 19 yr old he’s big at 6’2” and 205 lbs. He’s not flashy he just takes care of business in his own end. He’s going to be taking a big step coming over and getting an opportunity with the big club but we anticipate he will play the full year in Springfield.”
Motin had a very promising 2006-07 campaign when he stepped in playing solid in the Swedish Elite League. In 2007 he won a bronze medal as part of the Swedish World Under-18 team. In 2008, his convincing performance playing against men made him an early favourite to be the first Swede drafted that year. Also, in 2008 he represented Sweden in the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic where he earned himself a silver medal.
“We liked him in the 2008 World Juniors because he’s a defensive defenseman that makes a simple play, clears the front of his net and gives himself up to be a solid defender. He’ll now have an opportunity to play next year in Springfield as a 20 year old and a player that we think has a good future down the road. He’s done what we’ve expected him to do,” said Oilers head scout Stu MacGregor.
Oilers management is also relying on his time in the Swedish Elite league to help with his transition into pro hockey, and eventually the NHL. Prendergast commented, “Anytime you are young and are playing with men it’s difficult and his team made it to the finals in the Swedish Elite League where he was playing an average of 12-to-14 minutes a night and that’s a good bonus for us for him to play with that kind of pressure.”