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Klingberg making solid transition in St. John's

Monday, 02.04.2012 / 9:30 AM / Feature
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Klingberg making solid transition in St. John\'s
With the return of AHL hockey to St. John\'s, the Swedish left wing has made the most of his rookie season by scoring 15 goals and helping the team compete for the Atlantic Division title.
Rookie left winger Carl Klingberg doesn't hesitate when asked about playing in St. John's, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador and the easternmost city in North America.

"It's just awesome. The fans are great," he said. "Everyone lives for hockey there."


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The St. John's IceCaps, the primary affiliate for the Winnipeg Jets, have been welcomed with open arms into the city of just over 100,000 residents, selling out every home game this season at Mile One Centre.

Klingberg, a 21-year-old Swedish transplant, feels right at home in St. John's, which is back in the loop this season after six years without AHL hockey. The city was previously home to the Toronto Maple Leafs' top affiliate from 1991 to 2005.

"It's not that big of a difference," he said of the adjustment between European and Canadian living. "The town is awesome and people are friendly. The biggest difference is probably language, but my English is improving."

Drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the second round (No. 34) in 2009, Klingberg spent several years in Swedish professional leagues before making his transatlantic move to North American hockey.

Since then, he has distinguished himself as an asset in the Winnipeg organization, leading all IceCaps rookies in scoring with 15 goals and 35 points and a plus-6 rating in 57 games so far this season.

With its offense strong across the board -- 10 IceCaps, including Klingberg, have hit double digits in goals scored -- St. John's sits on the verge of winning the AHL's Atlantic Division with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 39-20-5-3 (86 points).

"We are a very solid team," Klingberg said. "We have four lines going all the time and we can trust everyone on the ice all the time.

"Everyone goes hard, and it doesn't really matter who goes out there because everyone is playing good and solid. We have four lines that are all really good and we can wear a team down."

Klingberg has played in six games with Winnipeg so far this year after making his NHL debut last season with Atlanta. Although he's remained scoreless and averaged only about five minutes of playing time in the NHL, the feeling of playing at hockey's highest level stays with him.

"It was a good experience," he said. "The game's a little bit faster and you've got to think a little bit faster, but you adjust to that after a while.

"Everything's just a little bit better and you've got step your game up there, for sure."

With the return of AHL hockey to St. John's, Carl Klingberg has made the most of his rookie season, scoring 15 goals and helping the team compete for the Atlantic Division title. (Photo courtesy Jeff Parsons)
From playing in Sweden to Atlanta to St. John's to Winnipeg, Klingberg has had to adjust to all styles of the game in all forums.

"The size of the rink is probably the biggest difference," he said. "It's so much more east-west hockey in Europe, and here it's more north-south and kind of dump-and-chase sometimes.

But he likes the challenge.

"When I came over here, I got to play a lot and in different types of situations, like the power play," he said. "That was awesome to finally get to play a lot and get better."

Now, with fewer than 10 games left in the regular season, the rookie Klingberg has adopted the methodical mindset of a veteran.

"We want to win the whole thing," he said of the Calder Cup. "But you can't think too far forward. First of all, we've got to clinch our division win here and take as high spot in the conference as possible.

"You've got to win every game and make sure you come ready to play every single day."

Author: Samantha Wood | Special to




1 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33


A. Ladd 49 17 23 10 40
B. Little 49 18 20 10 38
B. Wheeler 49 13 23 11 36
D. Byfuglien 49 12 20 9 32
M. Perreault 46 15 14 2 29
M. Frolik 49 10 16 6 26
M. Scheifele 49 7 19 4 26
E. Kane 34 10 12 6 22
A. Lowry 48 6 9 3 15
J. Trouba 33 5 9 5 14
M. Hutchinson 14 4 2 .935 1.90
O. Pavelec 12 11 6 .911 2.52
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