When the rookie camp roster was unveiled one noticeably absent name was that of Carl Klingberg who earned high praise from Thrashers GM Rick Dudley during the annual Prospect Evaluation Camp in July.
Klingberg signed an entry-level contract with the Thrashers on May 31 and seemed to be one of the rookies who would be battling for a roster spot this fall, but the acquisitions of gritty players like Andrew Ladd, Ben Eager, Patrick Rissmiller and veteran Fredrik Modin may have made his odds of making the team look fairly long.
At prospect camp Klingberg talked openly about going back to Sweden to further develop his skills if he didn’t make the Thrashers roster rather than play in the more physical AHL in 2010-11. Klingberg thinks he has the grinder game down pat and figured more time in Sweden would help him develop his all-round game.
With a crowded roster and Swedish Elite League games kicking off on the same day training camp opens (Sept. 17) Klingberg will be staying in Sweden with Frolunda rather than risk alienating his team by skipping the first two weeks of the season for what would likely be a long-shot chance of making the roster. The scrappy Swede wasn’t happy with his ice time last season and ducking on on his team to start the season probably wouldn’t help him earn more.
Oddly enough, one of his former Frolunda teammates might have done him a big favor by signing with the Thrashers. Fredrik Pettersson was Frolunda’s leading goal scorer last season (here’s a Q&A and video interview with him) but now that he is committed to playing for either the Thrashers or Chicago Wolves there should be some quality ice time to be earned back in Sweden for young players like Klingberg (and fellow Thrashers prospect Nicklas Lasu). Pettersson speaks highly of both Klingberg and Lasu and wished them both good luck with Frolunda this season where both players are listed on the team roster for 2010-11.
So barring an unexpected change it looks like the Thrashers second-round pick from 2009 will stay in Sweden this season and likely come over to North America next summer when his Swedish Elite League contract expires.