After playing last season in China for the Kunlun Red Star, former Capital Michael Latta is taking his talents to the SHL. Thursday, Expressen’s Johan Svensson reported that Latta has come to an agreement with the Swedish league team Färjestad BK. The team later confirmed the signing.
Färjestad is signing Latta after they dumped Finnish forward Ville Leskinen earlier this week. However, Färjestad general manager Peter Jakobsson noted that Latta would not be acting as a direct replacement. “We’ve been looking to add to our roster for sometime, so he’s not a replacement for Leskinen,” he said, as translated by RMNB’s Magnus Cadelin.
In the earlier report from Svensson, he noted that the open roster spot was between Latta and another, unnamed North American player. Latta ultimately won out in the end.
— Färjestad BK (@farjestad_bk) November 14, 2019
“We’ve been talking to a lot of people around [Latta] and here we’ve added character, attitude, energy,” Jakobsson said of what Latta could bring to the team. “He’s a handful and also a great guy in the locker room.”
After the signing became official, Färjestad spoke to Latta about his joining the team.
“This is going to be fun,” Latta said via telephone from his home in Canada. “When I found out the deal was done I looked up Karlstad and found it’s a city that looks fantastic. They play a fun kind of hockey too.”
Another former Capital, Marcus Johansson, played with Färjestad before coming to the NHL. Johansson’s brother, Martin, currently plays for Färjestad. “Marcus and all the other Swede’s I’ve met have been great guys, easy going,” Latta said, after being told about the Johansson connection. “As I said, I’m thrilled to get over there and start things.
Latta is expected to join the team on Sunday, and fans have already compared his style of play to a Färjestad alum, Devin “Deeds” DiDiomete.
“For real? I know ‘Deeds’ since way back. We grew up not far apart from each other,” Latta said. “I can promise you this, I’m a much better hockey player than ‘Deeds.'”
Over 51 games played with Kunlun Red Star in the 2018-19 season, Latta scored five goals and tallied 10 assists. Kunlun did not renew Latta’s one-year contract after the season ended, though recently added another former Capital, Devante Smith-Pelly, to their roster.
Färjestad currently sits fourth in the SHL standings through 16 games played, with eight wins, three overtime wins, and five losses. They are also participating in the knockout stages of the Champions Hockey League against reigning champions Frölunda HC.
Headline photo: @latta17
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