I had the opportunity to meet up with Carl Grundström after Frölunda's first open practice, a public event held late in the afternoon. It featuring a team presentation, an intra-squad skirmish, and a skills competition. It was sort of like an all-star opening for the season, and got the fans a chance to see the players up close. Grundström's white team lost in shoot-outs to the red team with Habs prospect Arrturi Lehkonen.
Patrik Bexell: Welcome to Gothenburg, Carl
Carl Grundström: Thank you.
PB: You had a bit of an injury scare last week, what was it all about?
CG: It wasn't anything big, it was just better to be safe rather than sorry as it was preseason. I wanted to be ready when I returned to Gothenburg for the season. That's the reason I left the game.
PB: You are born and bred in Västerbotten, why did you choose Frölunda rather then Skellefteå when you signed for a new team? Was it the old rivalry between Björklöven and Skellefteå?
CG: Maybe it was that. Just kidding, I think I have a better chance to develop in Frölunda [than in Skellefteå]. They are also quite successful and Frölunda are the champions, that's probably the main reason I choose them.
PB: You have been practicing and training hard the whole summer. How has the training been different here compared to MODO?
CG: I think it's more... I guess, thorough about the training here. There is a goal with your training at all times. It is also more specific training, individualized, that is. It is a lot different, actually.
PB: What have you been focusing on, stamina or strength?
CG: Everything, absolutely everything.
PB: What is your weight now, as I am sure you built up a bit extra during the summer?
CG: I weigh about 194 lbs, I gained a bit since last season.
PB: You went from a relegated team to the team that is the champion (Frölunda), how has that been?
CG: It was a thorough blow to be relegated with MODO, but it feels good to be at a team with optimism and hopefully we will retain the championship this year.
PB: How was it being drafted by Toronto, a true classic team, and a crazy [I think you mean 'excellent', Patrik! -- Acha] hockey town?
CG: It was great fun, I was there for development camp I got a great impression of the team. They are very professional.
PB: Have they spoken to you about what you need to develop further in your game?
CG: We didn't speak about it that much, no.
PB: Do you have an idea about the other prospects in the Toronto system?
CG: Nah not really to be honest, I know Nylander and Matthews obviously but those are the ones I know, I just enjoy watching good hockey so that's what I do.
PB: What are your goals and targets for the season, with Frölunda and with the U20's?
CG: To play the WJC again that's for sure, but my main goal is to get a big role here in Frölunda, that is the most important goal.
I also got to speak with coach Roger Rönnberg about Carl Grundström's potential and chances within a good Frölunda team.
PB: You have a talent, Carl Grundström, to polish for the future, what is his strength as a hockey player?
RR: It is his temperament first and foremost, he is a guy that is boiling when he plays hockey and he has this amazing temperament that drives him forward both with and without the puck. He has an energy that lets him do things on both sides of the puck, he can make things happen with the puck, and he is a terror to face when he doesn't have the puck.
PB: How has he been adjusting to the team?
RR: He has been away with the national U20 team, so he was a bit jet-lagged and didn't get to play as much as he wanted today. We have worked with his physique the whole summer, so now it is time to work on his on ice performance. He is a young player with great potential and he has a lot of things to do to get there physically too.
PB: Where do you see him fit in the team? Third line - fourth line?
RR We have a team where we try to have an even amount of time for all four lines and thats how we will continue to coach this season too. We don't have the traditional first line or second line, and so on. We have four lines that work themselves hard we have four lines that should all perform offensively, that's my philosophy, and Carl will be able to play in all four lines if it comes to that.
Grundström's contract is for two years, and he was drafted outside the first round, just like Mattias Janmark and Artturi Lehkonen. This means he has a valid contract with a European team. He can't go to the AHL while that is in effect, according to the CBA. After this season, he can play for either Toronto Maple Leafs or Frölunda HC.