Over the summer, Tobias Lindberg, selected by the Sens 102nd overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, decided that in order to give himself the best opportunity with the Senators he would leave his native Sweden and join the Oshawa Generals of the OHL to begin his adaptation to the "North American style" of hockey. To date, his transition has been phenomenal and he's seen improvements up and down his game.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Lindberg in Ottawa to talk about his season, his development, moving to Canada and more...
For people that haven't seen you play, how would you describe your style of play to them?
I’m a big, fast winger who can play on either the right or left side. I play a pretty physical game but I've got good hands too and can put up points.
What was the biggest reason you chose to play in Oshawa this season?
Mostly to show the Senators that I can play on a small rink and adapt to the more physical play. I really wanted to show them that I can play the North American style of hockey.
How have you adjusted to playing in the OHL?
In the beginning, it was tough. I played a more “east-west” game but now after 50+ games I've learned to use my size and strength a lot more. I’m happy that I came over to play for Oshawa.
Are there specific aspects of your game that have improved based on playing in the OHL?
My physical game has been “night and day”. In European hockey you don’t hit that much but here you have to do it every shift. Also, my play along the wall has been something that Sens management has talked to me a lot about so I need to keep getting better at that. But my physical play has gotten much better since having come over.
What's been the most difficult adjustment for you?
In the beginning, it was leaving my family and friends. That was tough. But now, I've got great teammates and made a lot of friends so it’s becoming easier as the season goes on.
Your offensive numbers have been really strong this year. Are you happy with that part of your game?
After I adapted better to the North American style, I feel that the points have started to come for me. I always want to keep improving though so I've been working hard and concentrating on the offensive side of my game a lot this year.
Outside of hockey, have you enjoyed living in Canada?
It’s kind of similar to Sweden. People are nice and treat you well. In the beginning it was difficult, being lonely and not really having any friends but now I love it here.
There's been a pretty big drop in your PIMs this season (only 8) compared to last year in the SuperElit (93). Is that a result of playing a North American style?
The big difference is that in the OHL you can talk to the referees after a penalty call. You can ask them: “why did you make that call?” or you can even yell at them and they can take that and yell right back at you. In Sweden, if you say a single word to the referee you get a 10 minute misconduct penalty right away. So of my 93 penalty minutes last season, probably 80 of them were from talking to the refs. (laughs)
What aspect of your development do you feel you need to really focus on?
I feel like I need to keep getting stronger because it’s a much more physical game here and you play a lot more games. In the OHL we have a 68 games season and I’m still getting used to that so I feel like I need to continue to get stronger physically so I can play all 68 games at a high level.
What lessons or concepts did you take away from Development Camp last summer and how have they helped your development.
Mostly to play “north-south” hockey; don’t bring pucks back, keep moving forward all the time, drive the net and shoot a lot because it’s a smaller rink.
Are you excited to attend the Sens Development Camp now that you have a years’ worth of OHL play under your belt?
I’m really excited. My goal is to play for the Ottawa Senators one day so I can’t wait to show them what I've learned and hopefully they’ll see all the improvements.