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Sundstrom Wanting to Play in the NHL

Islanders prospect played the last two seasons in the Swedish Elite League and shined at 2012 World Junior Tournament

Thursday, 06.28.2012 / 3:05 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Sundstrom Wanting to Play in the NHL
Johan Sundstrom scored five points (one goal, four assists) in six games for Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championships (Getty Images)

Islanders prospect Johan Sundstrom is taking steps toward putting on a blue and orange jersey this fall. The 6’3, 191-pound forward is in Prospect Camp this week, fresh off his second professional season in the Swedish Elite League. He signed an Entry Level Contract with the Islanders earlier this summer, after scoring 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 49 games with Frolunda last season.

While the Gothenburg, SWE native is used to playing on the wider international-size rinks, which are 197x98 feet, he is excited about playing on the North American-size sheet, which is 200x85 feet, and has larger attacking zones.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Sundstrom said. “It’s a faster game. There’s more play in the offensive and defensive zones.”

Eric Cairns, of the Islanders Player Development Staff, has watched Sundstrom’s game over the last few years and believes the young forward’s skill set will be a fit with the North American style of play.

“He is a taller centerman/winger that has high-end hockey sense,” Cairns said. “He has great speed with a skill set to score points, plus play smart defensive hockey.”

Sundstrom, who will celebrate his 20th birthday during Training Camp in September, is a veteran of two IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships. In 2011, Sundstrom scored one goal in the tournament as the Swedes lost in the bronze medal game to Team USA. In 2012, Sundstrom was an assistant captain on the Swedish squad that won the gold medal in overtime against Russia.

“It was the highlight of my career,” Sundstrom said. “The second year in Calgary was an amazing trip. We played really well.”

Sundstrom knows there is still work to be done in order for him to reach the NHL. Following this week’s camp, he will head back to Europe to bulk up a little before coming to Training Camp in a couple of months.

“When I go back to Sweden in July, I’ll work hard and get stronger,” Sundstrom said. “You can always get better at everything, but I need to put on a few more pounds.”

Cairns agreed, adding that with the style Sundstrom plays, a few added pounds will make him a more complete player.

“He will mature as a person physically and mentally,” Cairns said, referring to playing in North America, “and get bigger and stronger leading into the year. He likes the bumping and grinding of the smaller ice surface along the walls. He’s going to learn to work in those areas this year.”

Sundstrom will compete during Training Camp for a spot in the Islanders lineup, but may need a year of seasoning with the organization’s AHL affiliate in Bridgeport or in Sweden to continue his development. While Sundstrom knows he won’t crack the roster at this week’s camp alone, he recognizes the importance of learning everything he can while he is here.

“We’ve had some really good workouts with the coaching staff,” Sundstrom said. “I think the camp is more about learning and seeing how the Islanders want us to practice so that I can be here one day.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 21 24 -2 45
K. Okposo 46 14 30 -2 44
R. Strome 46 8 25 16 33
B. Nelson 46 15 15 6 30
F. Nielsen 46 9 16 4 25
J. Boychuk 36 4 18 15 22
J. Bailey 34 8 13 8 21
N. Leddy 46 7 14 15 21
N. Kulemin 46 11 9 1 20
A. Lee 40 13 5 7 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 25 9 0 .910 2.41
C. Johnson 6 5 0 .870 3.38

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