After a fantastic season last year in the SHL, 2016 fifth-round pick Axel Jonsson-Fjallby earned an entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals and gave North American hockey a try.
Jonsson-Fjallby impressed in several preseason games, but ultimately was sent down to Hershey in September. The Swede had an option to return home to SHL Djurgården, and, after two games in Hershey, Jonsson-Fjallby is reportedly taking that option for the 2018-19 season.
ESPN’s Chris Peters first reported the news in English via an aggregated tweet by Swedish outlet hockeynews.se. The news was first reported by hockeysverige.se.
Capitals prospect Axel Jonson Fjallby (aka The Hunter aka Best Hair in the League) is apparently heading back to Sweden after a brief stint in the AHL. https://t.co/wKBHlhoEsu
— Chris Peters (@chrismpeters) October 9, 2018
Axel Jonsson-Fjällby is returning to Djurgården. According to sources of hockeysverige.se, the popular forward is ready for a return to the Stockholm club.
Axel Jonsson-Fjällby did not receive a roster spot on the Washington Capitals after training camp, instead being sent to the farm team, the Hershey Bears. After two matches in the AHL, according to information for hockeysverige.se, Jonsson-Fjällby is ready for a return to Djurgården.
The forward has a clause in his contract which allows a return to Europe in the absence of NHL games, a clause that will now be used.
“The ball is in Axel’s court,” said sports director Joakim Eriksson about Jonsson-Fjällby’s status in a video clip on Djurgården’s website earlier today.
Five days ago, Djurgården’s sports director, Joakim Eriksson, was asked about Jonsson-Fjallby in an interview with Expressen.
“I do not know,” Eriksson said when asked if Jonsson-Fjallby would return. “That is Axel’s decision. They have signed such a contract so that he owns the decision. There is the situation today but I have a continuous dialogue with both Axel and the agent.
“What he said is that he wants to start with AHL with the team and feel for it, then make a decision if he wants to stay there and evolve there or turn home to Europe,” Eriksson continued. “If he returns home to Europe then we know there is mutual love.”
Jonsson-Fjallby likely also faced pressure to return home due to his linemates, the Davidsson brothers (Jonathan and Marcus). The NHL-drafted trio scored 89 points together, including the playoffs.
“Clearly, I want him to come home too,” Marcus said to Aftonbladet. “We three would be even better together this year, now we are both faster and stronger.”
Marcus admitted to being in Jonsson-Fjallby’s ear.
“Yes, we’ve been talking a bit and he’s still thinking about it,” Marcus said.
He believed that his brother Jonathan was chatting with Jonsson-Fjallby too.
“I think so,” Marcus said. “[Axel] is probably thinking very much and considering different options right now.”
During an interview with RMNB after the Bears home opener, the Swedish prospect did not give any indications he was preparing to leave.
“I mean for me obviously it’s a different type of game, type of hockey, with a smaller rink and all,” Jonsson-Fjallby said. “It’s also more of a physical game than I’m used to. I think the game was a tight game, could’ve gone both ways, but we lost today. Looking forward to tomorrow.”
Hershey’s next game is Friday against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
10:30 am update: The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reports that Jonsson-Fjallby is currently in Hershey for the team picture.
Axel Jonson-Fjallby is still with the Hershey Bears. He’s at the Hershey facility today for the team picture. No plans for him to return to Sweden at this time, per the team.
— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) October 9, 2018
10:56 am update: The Hershey Bears are pushing back on reports from Sweden that Jonsson-Fjallby is leaving the team by posting a video of Liam O’Brien pointing to AJF during the team picture, saying “still here.” AJF does not acknowledge the report or look at the camera himself.
@OfficialBigTuna just needs a second of your time to help clear the air. @axelfjallby and the team just finished a team picture and now hit the ice for practice at Giant Center. #HBH pic.twitter.com/S0zkbJmvV0
— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) October 9, 2018
11:47 am update: A Capitals representative tells RMNB that there are no plans “at this time” for Axel to return to Sweden. RMNB asked the Capitals to clarify what “at this time” means and if AJF will play in this weekend’s games.
1:45 pm update: The Capitals say Jonsson-Fjallby has not indicated that he wants to head back overseas. AJF’s status could change in the future, but at this time, there are no plans for him to head back to Sweden.
Translations by Magnus Cadelin.
Cara Bahniuk also contributed to this report.
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