By Matt Vevoda
In California for the first time in his life for Ducks conditioning camp, HampusLindholm has already been won over by the weather alone.
“I really like California,” said Lindholm, the sixth overall pick in last week’s NHL Draft. “It’s like a very good summer in Sweden. That is here all year. It’s a good place to stay if you want to get some color on your skin.”
“If you want to play hockey and be a great player, this is where you have to be," Lindholm said. "It’s just fun to be around and see how everything works. You look to keep improving your own game. It’s a good experience.”
Lindholm and the other seven members of this year’s Ducks draft class are all currently participating in the club’s conditioning camp at The Rinks - Anaheim Ice. Friday was the second day of the program, with attendees continuing to receive instruction from Bruce Boudreau and the rest of the coaching staff.
It’s been quite the turnaround for the newest members to the Ducks organization. After Lindholm was picked last Friday, the rest were selected by in rounds 2-7 on Saturday. Soon after, they were all boarding planes for Anaheim to see where they could potentially be calling home.
“I had only been in Canada before,” said Lindholm, a native of Helsingborg, Sweden on his North American travels.“If you want to play hockey and be a great player, this is where you have to be.It’s just fun to be around and see how everything works. You look to keep improving your own game. It’s a good experience.”
Anaheim has had some of the league’s most talented defensemen in recent years, from Scott Niedermayer to Chris Pronger and current up-and-comer Cam Fowler. The Ducks envision Lindholm as the team’s next bright star back on the blue line. The 18-year-old, who will play with Rogle in the Swedish Elite League next season, sees his style of play as one that could make thatcome to fruition.
“I’m like a playmaker you could say,” Lindholm said.“Going from the d zone to the offensive zone, making nice plays, that is probably how I play the game. I’m pretty stable in the d zone. I like to play a simple game and then go forward to the offense.”
For goaltender Frederik Andersen, the player he feels he most plays like is one near and dear to Ducks fans’ hearts – Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who played with the team from 2000-10. “If I had to choose one goalie, I don’t really compare goalies to one another that much, but I have a lot of stuff that he does too with the butterfly,” Andersen said. “I’m pretty calm in the net. I try to make the defense comfortable with me back there.”
Andersen comes to the Ducks organization having already once been drafted, by Carolina in 2010 (seventh round, 187th overall). Unable to come to terms with the Hurricanes, he re-entered the draft this year and was selected 100 spots up the board with the 87th overall pick in the third round.
That boost should come as no surprise though. The 22-year-old is coming off a season in which he posted eight shutouts with Frolunda in the Swedish Elite League. That mark topped current New York Rangers goaltender and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist’s previous club record of seven shutouts set during the 2003-04 season. Andersen has also become a staple on the Denmark national team, playing in the last four IIHF World Championships for his country.
"I got drafted a lot higher this time," Andersen said. "That was maybe a step forward. It’s not too often you get drafted twice. I’m glad about the Ducks. It’s an exciting situation for me.”
“The first 10 games I had a goals-against of like 0.5,” Andersen said. “It started so great for me and it kept going pretty much the whole season. I got drafted a lot higher this time. That was maybe a step forward. It’s not too often you get drafted twice. I’m glad about the Ducks. It’s an exciting situation for me.”
As for Kevin Roy, he simply set the USHL on fire. Not the biggest guy on the ice at just 5-9 and 156 pounds, he overpowered his competition with the Lincoln Stars by becoming the first player in the league since 1993-94 to score 50 goals. He also finished with 104 points (most in the league since 1988-89) in 59 games played and was named the league’s Player of the Year. (The Ducks also have the 2011-12 USHL Defenseman of the Year, Andy Welinski, at conditioning camp).
Capping off Roy’s year was Anaheim selecting him with the 97th overall pick in the fourth round last Saturday. “It was unbelievable,” the 19-year-old said.“I was at my house with my family. When I learned, I was very happy. It was a great family moment for sure.”
All together for the first time since last week’s draft in Pittsburgh, the Ducks’ 2012 draft class is now a week removed from a moment they will never forget and back at work on the ice. Like all the players at conditioning camp, they are looking to leave an impact with the coaching staff in hopes of one day cracking the team’s lineup on a nightly basis.
“It’s good to meet all the trainers and coaches in the whole organization,” Andersen said.“You try to make a good impression and see what’s going to happen this year.It’s exciting to learn new stuff and get another look at yourself.”
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