June 22, 2008

08 Draft: Mr. Irrelevant - Jesper Samuelsson

The 2008 NHL Entry Draft took place this weekend as most people here probably know. Personally I had a very busy weekend in general with both the draft and Midsummer celebrations.

The upcoming week at this blog will probably mean a lot of post-draft news and I will begin it all by translating an article from the newspaper Norrköpings Tidningar about what could be another classic late-round pick by Detroit Red Wings. I'm talking about forward Jesper Samuelsson, who was picked last overall in the draft - Mr. Irrelevant.

This year's Midsummer became something quite out of the ordinary for Jesper Samuelsson. Among the herring and the strawberries, the Norrköping native had time to get drafted by the Stanley Cup Champions Detroit Red Wings.

People have noticed Jesper Samuelsson's successful season in Vita Hästen even outside Sweden's borders.

On Midsummer Day, he was selected as number 211 in this year's NHL Entry Draft. The Detroit Red Wings, with the Norrköping native Jonathan Ericsson in the organization, are hoping to see him on the team one day in the future.

- Really fun! This has been an eventful Midsummer, says Jesper.

He has been in contact with Detroit’s chief European scout, Håkan Andersson, since last fall. At one point, he was on special training in Stockholm to show what he can do.

The Detroit management has obvious been impressed by the 20-year-old's hockey knowledge - to Jesper's big happiness.

- It didn't come totally unexpected, but I was a bit nervous because I had not heard from the club in the last month. I sat by the computer and followed the whole draft, says Jesper.

He ended up having to wait a long time before his name was announced. That he was picked at number 211 has no significance, according to him.

- It doesn't really matter. To be drafted by the best team in the world is big, who wouldn't want that?

Calgary and Ottawa have also showed interest for Jesper, but it ended up being Detroit that got the NHL rights for Jesper in the next couple of years.

There will be no time to rest though as Jesper travels to Detroit on July 5 for a nine-day training camp.

- It's going to be very exciting. A good opportunity to show what you can do and at the same time probably a lot of watching and learning. The training is going to be very hard, he says.

Jesper left Vita Hästen this spring. Next season he will be playing in the SEL with Timrå. He has moved in to a lovely duplex apartment in Sundsvall and has been training with his new team for a month now.

- Everything feels great. The amount of training, two times a day, is a bit different than what I'm used to, but I got into it pretty quick, says Jesper.

When do you think you will play in the NHL?

I've no idea about the time span. I take one step at a time and will have to see when my dream becomes true, says Jesper who has been home and celebrated Midsummer in the archipelago of Östergötland.

Celebrations that became something extra thanks to Detroit.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

I'm all about using a 7th round pick to take a guy who might already be able to play in the SEL. I think that's kind of advantageous opposed to taking the average 18 year old Swede. I know it's hard for them to break in at 19/20 so sometimes you've got guys still playing in junior or loaned out to lower level in Sweden. Samuelsson will be 22 when he has to sign, should be a good indication of whether or not he can come over.

Although I've heard there's an agreement that Samuelsson will be loaned out to Sundsvall if he doesn't make Timra, which sounds likely to me.