One luscious-haired Swede has his eyes set on a roster spot with the reigning Stanley Cup champions.
Axel Jonsson-Fjällby has attended development camps and rookie tournaments before, but this time he’s hoping he’s in Washington to stay.
“I’m not gonna lie, I feel a bit tense. It’s a new adventure and I’ve never gone over there before with my mind set on staying. This time it’s the real deal,” Jonsson-Fjällby told Henrik Sjöberg of Hockeynews.se Friday.
The speedy winger had a breakout season last year, ending with a World Junior Championships silver medal and tied for third in SHL playoff goals, which earned him his first call up to the senior national team, Tre Kronor. That particular call up had an impact while he followed the Capitals as they chased the Stanley Cup.
“I didn’t see much [of the playoffs]. Mostly highlights. I don’t like to stay up late at night. I had a long season with Djurgården and after that the national team tournament.” Jonsson-Fjällby said to Linus Norberg of Aftonbladet last week.
In the end, Jonsson-Fjällby was cut just before the World Championships began in Denmark. However, his terrific season caught the eye of Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney when he was in Sweden during the SHL playoffs. Jonsson-Fjällby’s season earned him a three-year entry level contract with the Capitals in May. When the Capitals prospect heads to North America this time, things are a bit different.
“I’ve got my mind set on staying [in North America]. The nervousness you feel is probably just before you get there and will ease off once I get [to the camp],” Jonsson-Fjällby said. “It’s not gonna be easy, I know that. At the same time, it’s not impossible [to make the roster]. I think they can use my style over there, but we’ll see if they think I’m ready or not, that’s up to the club. And it’s up to me to show them.”
Jonsson-Fjällby is known for his speed, intense forechecking, and penalty killing, something the Swedish audience got to know during the SHL season and the World Junior Championships, where he scored a beautiful shorthanded goal and helped his team reach the gold medal game.
“I gained a lot of attention, maybe because of my style of play. I like that kind of players myself, the ones who doesn’t all dangle away but work hard and still creates opportunities and chances. It’s fun to get attention for that kind of play” he told Linus Norberg of Aftonbladet last week. “I think the smaller rink fits me. I like it and I was on my way over there two or three years ago to play college hockey. But I stayed and I have no regrets about it.”
If Axel doesn’t make the Caps opening night roster, he can be sent down to AHL Hershey or be loaned back to SHL Djurgården.
“It’s a bit of mixed emotions since I don’t know what’s happening. I have to feel my way through it over there — I’ve never played in North America before. I have to see if I’m ready or if I need one more year in Sweden,” Jonsson-Fjällby told Aftonbladet before opening up more on the subject with Hockeynews.se
“My mind is set to make the roster, but of course I need a backup plan too. Either I’ll stay and play for Hershey or I can go back an play another year in Sweden.”
In Djurgården, Axel formed a speedy, shifty line with the Davidsson brothers, Marcus and Jonathan. Jonathan is in a position as Axel, and has the option to return to the SHL if he doesn’t make the Columbus Blue Jackets roster. The Jackets drafted Davidsson in the sixth round in 2017.
“All three of us [brothers Davidsson] might end up in Djurgården after all and that would be fun too,” Axel Jonsson-Fjällby concludes.
AJF (left) was training with the Nylander brothers earlier in the week.
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