On November 13, the Washington Capitals announced that 2016 fifth-round pick Axel Jonsson-Fjallby was loaned back to Djurgårdens IF, his Swedish Hockey League team. The move officially ended Jonsson-Fjallby’s season in AHL Hershey after tallying three points (2g, 1a) in 15 games.
The move was hardly a surprise considering an early October report by hockeysverige.se stating Jonsson-Fjallby had decided he wanted to come home. “After two matches in the AHL, Jonsson-Fjällby is ready for a return to Djurgården,” the article wrote. “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.”
Thursday, Jonsson-Fjallby made his season debut for Djurgården and recorded a primary assist in the second period.
After the game, he spoke to C More Sport and was asked about that hockeysverige.se report.
“That was true, but I couldn’t leave Hershey until November 14 due to my contract,” Jonsson-Fjallby said as translated by RMNB’s Magnus Cadelin. “It is what it is, I’ve learned a lot over there. Now I’ve only got Djurgården on my mind and the goal is to win the championship.”
The Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals pushed back on the report when it came out in October. Bears alternate captain Liam O’Brien filmed a video for the team’s Twitter account to “clear the air,” pointing out Jonsson-Fjallby was “still here” for photo day.
@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
When RMNB reached out to the Capitals, a team representative told RMNB that Jonsson-Fjallby had not indicated that he wanted to head back overseas “at this time,” but left open the possibility that could change in the future. Other Caps media members echoed that message.
In an interview with Aftonbladet Thursday, Jonsson-Fjallby elaborated on his decision to leave.
“It’s not a failure,” Jonsson-Fjällby said. “I just felt I would develop better in Djurgården. I didn’t make the Capitals roster and decided this was best for me. I went back in consensus with the Capitals. I learned a lot over the past 2.5 months, both on and off the ice. When I get back next year, I’ll know more about life over there than I did before I went over this time.”
Jonsson-Fjallby also addressed his wild first day back home, which included a nap, jet lag, and hockey.
“The plane landed at noon and I headed right here to Hovet Stadium to sign some papers,” Jonsson-Fjällby said. “Then I went home to get some sleep. The coach didn’t want to use me in the first period, knowing I was a bit tired. But it worked out well.”
The forward tallied an assist in the second period and finished the game with 12:40 of ice time and two hits.
Jonsson-Fjallby posted a picture of himself smiling and wrote “Good to be back! 💛❤️💙” on Instagram.
Jonsson-Fjällby had a breakout season with Djurgården last season, where he was one of the team’s best players during the playoffs. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Washington Capitals in May.
— C More Sport (@cmoresport) November 15, 2018
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