Senators hoping they’ve found another late-round diamond in Claesson

BINGHAMTON, New York – The Ottawa Senators have had good luck over the years finding jewels in the late round of the entry draft – such as ninth-round picks Sami Salo and Brian Elliott – and they’re hoping they’ve found another in Swedish defenceman Frederik Claesson, who was taken in the fifth round (126th overall) of the 2011 draft.
The Senators love his attitude.
When the 20-year-old Claesson came to Canada for the world juniors last year, he told the Senators that he wanted to come to North America this year to learn how the game is played on the smaller ice surface.
It is just what the Senators wanted to hear.
Young European players often prefer to stay home while they develop their games.
Schedules are lighter and the style of hockey is not as tough. It’s a lot easier than riding the buses through a 76-game American Hockey League schedule.
So for Claesson to say he wanted to come over now showed some determination.
The Senators had been hoping another Swedish prospect, Jakob Silfverberg, would have decided to North America last year, but he decided to stay in Sweden for another year and only this season has joined Binghamton.
At 6-1 and 205, Claesson has the size but he’ll be a project. Even he knows that. It’s a big adjustment to get used to the smaller ice surface.
“The first game I felt lost and didn’t know what to do,” he said. “And the league is much tougher than in Sweden.
“But it’s coming more and more and I’m starting to feel good now.
“I was thinking about this before I came here, so I knew it was going to be hard, but I’m feeling better and better every game.
“I think it’s going to take some years. We’ll see. I have a three-year contract now, and we’ll see after that.”
Binghamton head coach Luke Richardson said Claesson, who spent last season at now-relegated Djurgardens, is adjusting well and so far has done a good job.
“He’s a good kid, and he’s done really well,” said Richardson.
“Every day, he’s the first guy who comes over and asks, ‘What can I work on?’
“He has a real positive attitude and everybody loves him. He’s a bit of a character.
“It’s nice to get him here when he’s young. It gives him a chance to work on his game and hopefully he can graduate as soon as possible.”

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