The Washington Capitals lost forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby to the Winnipeg Jets via a waiver claim in early October after the young Swedish winger was unable to make the Caps out of Training Camp.
Since then, AJF has gotten into 23 games for the Jets and tallied two points. Sunday night’s game inside Canada Life Centre will be his first against the team that drafted and developed him.
“It will be fun,” Jonsson-Fjallby told the media pregame. “First time for me to play an old team that I played for. Pretty much the only team I’ve played for since coming over here. They drafted me so they got a big part of my heart. It will be fun to play them.”
AJF was originally taken by the Caps in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft. After that, he spent 152 games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL across four seasons and eventually made his NHL debut last season. In 23 games with the Caps during the 2021-22 campaign, he recorded four points (2g, 2a).
The fleet-footed forward couldn’t stick with the big club in DC and is now a part of a Winnipeg Jets team that is atop the NHL’s Central Division.
“I played 20 games last year with Washington,” Jonsson-Fjallby said. “This year too I thought I had a good chance, but they decided to send me down. I was really happy to come here and get a real shot at it. It’s been feeling good and we’ve been a great team this year. It’s a good feeling.
“I think the way I play, that’s what (Rick Bowness) wants from me,” he continued. “Exactly what I’m good at he wants me to do. Skate hard, forecheck hard and I’ve been trying to do that and it works for me and works for the team.”
Former Capitals assistant coach Scott Arniel is now also with the Jets. AJF says that Arniel played a big part in him being picked up by the Jets.
Arniel was behind the Caps bench for four seasons before jumping over to Winnipeg into an associate coach role this past summer.
“I’m very grateful for that,” Jonsson-Fjallby said. “I didn’t know that Arny liked me like that as a player. I’m really grateful for that.”
In terms of who he is most excited to see and compete against among his old teammates, AJF leaned more toward the guys he spent time with in the AHL.
“Joe Snively,” he answered. “They called up Lucas Johansen. It’s more the guys I played with in Hershey. Also, the Swedes, (Marcus Johansson) probably playing. It’ll be fun.”
Finally, the 24-year-old winger was asked about Alex Ovechkin’s chase of hockey history and what it was like to be The Great Eight’s teammate.
“It was really cool,” Jonsson-Fjallby said. “I watched him growing up. Just him making history is really cool to see. He’s a great guy. He’s a great player.
“Don’t let him shoot,” he finished while smiling.
Screenshot courtesy of the Jets
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