June 12, 2011 The official guide to the Capitals new signing Mattias Sjögren
It’s Saturday evening, and since I have absolutely nothing planned for tonight, or for the weekend for that matter, I thought I’d sit down with this one and finish it. I like to talk, whether that’s in text or verbally doesn’t actually matter. The point is, I like to talk a lot, and I’m a Färjestad fan. Who’s Mattias Sjögren? We’ll get to that a bit further down, but the point is he’s gone from my team in the SEL, to my team in the NHL. You see the connection between all these points, don’t you? Without further ado I present to you, The Mattias Sjögren Index.
Mattias Sjögren (C/RW, Rögle BK/Färjestad BK, 87/11/27, 6’2, 216 lbs, L shot)
Sjögren started his career in youth club IF Lejonet. You might, as a Caps fan, recognize the name somewhere. Don’t have to, but it’s also the mother club of a certain ’09 #1 draft pick Johansson. Both natives of Landskrona, so I guess I have to say applaud them for producing NHL-talents. Anyway, Sjögren is someone you might call something of a late discovery. He’s not a late bloomer, per se, in my opinion (since the term late bloomer usually implies you develop your talents at an age like G Viktor Fasth’s, for one example). He just wasn’t of the NHL draft-calibre at that precise age. Which did produce headaches for himself, since so many clubs were interested in signing him now (interview).
Looking at his style of play, well. many doubted he’d actually take a spot on the 11/12 Capitals roster. I admit, right off the bat, no I wasn’t so sure either. Prior to the Caps signing him, I’d only seen his campaign with Tre Kronor, and the lone season he had in Färjestad. However, coming over several old games he did with Rögle stemming all the way back from ’08, it’s clear he’s been somewhat of a hidden talent.
There’s been many a posts on the wide pond of the internet, about the competence of George McPhee and his team. I can understand it. Looking at several FA-signings, not to mention several draft picks, GMGM and Scouts could’ve performed much better. That’s the way things is, I suppose. Doesn’t mean we have to like it. But there’s no need to look negatively on this one. I think the Capitals will get huge value out of Sjögren, and that McPhee did a great spotting here (albeit he wasn’t alone, as widely recognized.)
Sjögren is a complete 2-way center who’s had at least 4 years in 2 leagues, + several campaigns of international hockey, to develop and hone his skill in. He’s played lower league hockey in Rögle, and played Elite League hockey with both Rögle and Färjestad. He got a lot of minutes from Rögle in his last two seasons, which was about the time he started to get recognition. While he never was a player who drove in points and achieved a PPG status, Sjögren is a defensively schooled center of big build with nice technical skills who takes tough minutes, a specialist on the PK and is very positionally responsible, a decent skater and dishes out big hits with nice precision and timing. Could work more still on his shot though. But, not failing to mention he’s just getting better at grabbing points for each year. I’ll post up some stats from his latest seasons and talk a bit more around him.
(w/ rögle) 07/08 – GP: 45 G: 4 A: 10 P: 14
(w/ rögle) 08/09 – GP: 43 G: 6 A: 7 P: 13
(w/ rögle) 09/10 – GP: 54 G: 11 A: 11 P: 22
(w/ färjestad) 10/11 – GP: 51 G: 7 A: 17 P: 24
As mentioned, and shown above, Sjögren’s development as a hockey player in general has been a straight line, and it’s only been going upwards. He wore the “A” for Rögle the season prior to signing for Färjestad, and was in general considered a fan favorite there by many. What can be highlighted about Sjögren is that out of all, he’s a team player who gives his everything in every shift he does. And in a team like the Capitals currently possesses, while I’m definitely not saying there aren’t players who does this already, Sjögren is young, he’s a beast who eats minutes already, specialized and put a lot on the PK, and is ready to give it his all every single night to earn his spot.
So yeah, I do think the Capitals have found their man for years to come, in Mattias Sjögren. Was a very humble, soft-spoken personality off the ice from what I’ve gathered, and while some Caps fans have expressed their doubts and dislikes ever since the Sveriges radio interview with him appeared where he stated that money was part of the deal: don’t worry. First off, that’s not what he said, and secondly: is there any player who doesn’t like to earn the high cash? Sjögren was never the player who, in Rögle, got the highest crop of money. I don’t think that’ll be the case in DC either. He’ll play to earn the money he gets, and I don’t think he’ll be going up and down. Give him time, like MJ90 got, to get used to the North American rinks and style of play, and you’ll get long term out of a player like Sjögren. He’s a catch, as they like to say.