SAN JOSE—Tuesday, September 12 wrapped up this season’s four-team NHL Prospect Showcase hosted by the San Jose Sharks, who took down the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Swedish prospect Filip Sandberg, 23, took time to speak with Mercury News, NHL.com Correspondent Eric Gilmore, and San Francisco News about his transition (and potential) from the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) to the NHL.
Sandberg stands at 5 feet and 8 inches tall and weighs 190 pounds, which is on the short end of the spectrum for NHL players; Mercury News rightfully stated that about four years ago, NHL scouts would have disregarded a prospect around that size.
Nashville Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson (who stands at 5 feet and 9 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds), according to Sandberg, set the stage as he showed throughout his NHL career that speed can compensate for being shorter than the average NHL player.
Sandberg definitely has speed going for him, as demonstrated in the Sharks’ match against Anaheim when he scored the only goal of the game. He will likely acquire more as the season progresses. He told San Francisco News on that the ice is “a lot smaller” in America than in Sweden, so one must think faster when attempting to score.
“You don’t have as much time with the puck,” Sandberg said on Sunday. Then on Tuesday he contended, “I’m not that fast, but I’m pretty fast.”
“You play against such great players. You don’t have time to think, ‘Where should I go now?’ You need to prepare all the time, then you take some feedback from the coaches and stuff like that. I think it is going to work out.”
Confidence is key, right, Filip?
Sandberg noted that current Sharks players Melker Karlsson and Marcus Sorensen also played in the SHL before joining the franchise. They succeeded during each season preceding their NHL career and also put up good numbers during their first season with San Jose; as rookies, Karlsson put up 24 points (13 goals and 11 assists) in 53 games with the Sharks in 2014-2015 and Sorensen had 38 points (18 goals and 23 assists) in 62 games with the Sharks and Barracuda last season.
“He plays a little similar [to Sorensen]. I think this guy has a better shot, and he seems to put up good numbers. He was a leading scorer in the playoffs of the Swedish league [HV71 Jonkoping], which is a hard league to score in. He’s another one of those typical Swedes who just has a great work ethic,” said Barracuda Coach Roy Sommer.
Here is a one-minute clip of Sandberg playing for the HV71 Jonkoping on December 26, 2012.