Sunday, 4 September 2011

Klingberg "Unsure" If Jets Want Him

Highly-touted Swedish prospect Carl Klingberg is coming off a season where he played in one game for the Atlanta Thrashers. The 20 year-old also played eight games with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL last season, notching his first professional North American goal while with the Wolves. Klingberg is like any prospect at this point: a little green, but has huge upside with his speed, size, and skill. So it was a bit of a surprise that he was unsure if the Jets wanted him now that the franchise was in Winnipeg, especially when you consider all the firepower Winnipeg doesn't have on its roster right now.

"I knew Atlanta was believing in me a lot, but you can't think about that now," Klingberg told The Canadian Press. "If I would still play in Atlanta now and Atlanta would be still in the NHL, I would probably think I had a big chance. But now I have no idea.

"It's stupid to focus and think about what kind of chances I have because it's just taking focus away from what I have to do on the ice."

Yeah, that's probably a good idea. Outside of a handful of guys currently on the roster, Klingberg is definitely an on-the-radar prospect for the Jets at this point. From everything being indicated by Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, there's a good chance that if Klingberg focuses on the task at hand, he could make the opening night roster.

"For our purposes, we're going to take a look at a lot of these players for the first time as an organization," Cheveldayoff said. "Because of the lateness of getting the team and everything we didn't have a development camp, so we haven't had a real opportunity to take a look at some of the younger guys yet. Training camp's going to be an important time.

"With all players, we're going to let them come in and establish their own level. There's no preconceived notions of who's going where and what's going to happen."

Is there anything else that a young player can ask for other than a clean slate?

Personally, if I were Klingberg, I wouldn't worry too much about his chances. Kevin Cheveldayoff has a pretty good idea of where his progress is right now thanks to his work over as the GM of the Chicago Wolves in the past, and it appears that Cheveldayoff is sticking to the franchise's idea of growing from within. That would mean that Klingberg - one of Winnipeg's best prospects right now - is certainly going to factor into the picture at some point over the next two seasons.

He's a 6'3", 200-lbs. winger who, from all indications, likes to throw the body as much as he does scoring goals. He has decent hands, but his shot needs to improve a little. He can skate, and he does a good job in his own end for the most part. He'll be a part of the Jets franchise one way or another this season as he'll either break camp as a Jet or head to St. John's to be an IceCap. Either way, there's a good chance he'll suit up with the Jets at some point in the upcoming season if he continues to improve.

"I'm just going to focus on playing my best hockey and I'll see how long it takes me," Klingberg said. Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me. And as a fan of the Jets, I certainly can tell you that I want to see Klingberg improve upon his one-game introduction to the NHL from last season.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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