Joacim Eriksson talks about past, present and future, hoping to join the Flyers in 2012.
Last season was memorable for Eriksson. Breaking Ed Belfour's shutout record as a 19 year old rookie coming from juniors was special.
Eriksson says good start to the season was crucial, confidence being the key.
"It meant a lot that I was trusted so much through the season. I started playing right away in the beginning of the season and it felt really good, but at the same time I was really nervous and everything was so new to me."
"When you get confidence, everything starts going well on it's own."
Even if the playoffs ended in a disappointment, Eriksson takes it as valuable experience.
"It was an important experience. It's hockey. You have to be able to put it behind you."
"I had many good games last season and I forget the ones that went poorly."
This season, Eriksson's biggest challenge looks to be getting ice time over veteran starter Andreas Hadelöv who has had a very strong season so far.
"You want to compete with the best", Eriksson says. "It's a challenge for me."
"I came here in the summer and thought about it and it felt good."
But Eriksson's Elitserien debut was almost catastrophic. Three goals allowed in the first period. Five in the entire game.
"It was just bang bang bang in the first period."
"But you learn to try to forget. You just had to remain focused and I didn't allow any goals in the second period and then they got two breakaways in the last period, so I didn't have much to say about that."
"Maybe I was a little nervous and all, but it felt good."
Eriksson says he's still getting adjusted to the higher level of play in Elitserien. There is a difference between Allsvenskan and Elitserien.
"I didn't think so at first, but after we started playing, it got tough. Preseason went well, but then it got a bit hard for me. The whole team played a little more reckless, so my job got a little harder. But now I've gotten over it and become sharper in practice. It's really tough competition with Hade and I think it's been very important."
Eriksson says competing with Hadelöv has been useful for him.
"He gives me tips all the time. He's very good at focusing. Even if he's been just standing there for a long while when nothing happens, he's very sharp as soon as something does happen."
"Here when they shoot, they are better shots", Eriksson says about the difference between Elitserien and Allsvenskan. "In Allsvenskan you could save a lot with the right positioning and you could face some pretty easy shots. It also gives you more confidence when you get to feel the puck more often."
"Here you can get breakaways or just one tough cross ice pass and you're dead."
Getting his first Elitserien shuout was kind of a relief for Eriksson.
"It has been a big goal for me. Things have gone better and better and now it's starting to feel very good. The guys are starting to trust me more and I'm starting to trust them more. Now we can just go out there and play. The communication between us has improved."
"I've gotten my first shutout now, so now I'm hoping to get more of them."
Eriksson was close to a move to North America already last summer, but now it seems to be two more years in Sweden.
"For a while I was willing to go over and play in the AHL or something. Then, after a while I decided with my agent that it's better to play in Elitserien instead."
"It was a tough decision, but now it feels right."
Eriksson was not at the Flyers summer camp this year, but the organization and the player keep in touch.
"I've talked a bit with their scout and he thinks things are looking good. They want to see a little more of me in Elitserien."
"I have a two year contract with Skellefteå and I will play these two years here. We'll see what happens after that."
Stefan Stéen, 17, widely considered the biggest Swedish goalie talent in his age group, is already peeking behind Eriksson's shoulder in Skellefteå.
"It's really cool that he's here, he's a great guy. He's there somewhere in the background all the time, motivating me to become even better."
But by the time Stéen is ready to take over in Skellefteå, Eriksson will already be in Philadelphia.
"Haha, exactly. Hopefully it goes like that."
This report was based off of Swedish-language story released by hockeysverige.