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Getting to know ... Erik Karlsson

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Defenceman Erik Karlsson, the Senators' top pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has quickly established himself as a mainstay on the Ottawa blue line (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

Two years ago, he took centre stage as the Ottawa Senators’ top pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

And truth be told, Erik Karlsson was a bit of a mystery man to many of the fans attending the first round of that draft at Scotiabank Place. But the Senators were convinced they’d landed a gem of a blueliner with rare offensive gifts.

With one season now under his belt, the 20-year-old native of Landsbro, Sweden, has already gone a long way toward justifying the immense faith Senators management had in him when they brought Karlsson into the organization. He made the team out of training camp last fall but a month into the year, was sent down to the Binghamton Senators for some American Hockey League seasoning.

By the time the calendar flipped to January, however, Karlsson began to establish himself as one of the Senators’ top blueliners, a 5-11, 175-pound dynamo with breath-taking skills with the puck. He finished his rookie season with five goals and 21 assists in 60 games.  His 26-point total ranked second among all Ottawa defenceman, behind only veteran Filip Kuba.

Karlsson took some time out to talk about hockey, his homeland and whole lot more.

Q: Your favourite hockey memory growing up in Sweden?
A: When I was picked for the Under-16 national team when I was 15. That’s the one I can think of right now.

Q: Who were your hockey idols growing up?
A: There were so many. I’d probably say Nick Lidstrom. (Daniel) Alfredsson was one of them. (Mats) Sundin, (Peter) Forsberg, those guys.

Q: When did you know you could make it to the NHL?
A: Last year was probably when I realized that I could play here.

Q: Your welcome to the NHL moment?
A: When they told me to get a house here and get settled.

Q: Best piece of advice you ever got from Daniel Alfredsson?
A: He helped me a lot, so it’s hard to pick out one thing. But he always told me to be positive, even when it’s going not so good.

Q: What do you miss the most about Sweden?
A: The lunches. It’s food that you don’t have here.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to do when you go home?

A: I like playing tennis.

Q: What other sport would you like to play for a living if you weren’t a hockey player?
A: Tennis player.

Q: How much would it mean to you to play for Sweden at the Olympics?
A: It would be awesome. It’s a thing you really want to do.

Q: What do like to watch on TV?
A: I watch a lot of Two And A Half Man. I’ve seen it all. That’s my favourite show. And I like Friends, too.

Q: Your favourite type of music.
A: I like house music.

Q: What’s the first thing you bought after you signed your first contract?
A: A pair of new shoes.

Q: What do you like to do to relax?
A: Watch TV.

Q: What’s your dream car?
A: It would be a Ferrari.

Q: Three things on your bucket list.
A: Win the Stanley Cup, win an Olympic gold medal and have kids.

Q: Your favourite NHL city to visit.

A: Vancouver. The atmosphere and the surroundings there are so nice.

Q: Talent you’d most like to have.
A: I can’t sing. I like to sing in the car, but I’m not very good.

Q: Your favourite movie.
A: Lord of the Rings.

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