Photo credit: San Jose Barracuda
By Alexandra Evans
SAN JOSE — “It’s been hockey since I grew up,” Barracuda right winger Filip Sandberg said after practice at Solar4America Ice on Friday, November 2.
Beginning in his early youth, Sandberg watched his older brother, AIK veteran Christian Sandberg, on the ice and picked up the sport, practically, in no time.
At age 15, Sandberg relocated from Stockholm to Jonkoping, where he played for HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League from 2012 to 2017. Last season, Sandberg was listed at sixth on the team in points, third in assists, fifth in hits (a total of 44), and third among team forwards with 24 blocked shots.
Sandberg completed the 2016-17 playoffs with 14 points, ranking T-3rd in the league. These points were comprised of six goals and eight assists, for which he ranked T-5th (in goals) and T-6th (in assists). He led his team in postseason points and assists, and to a gold medal win.
In 204 SHL career games, Sandberg has attained 25 goals and 46 assists for a total of 71 points, along with a plus-eight rating. In 2013, he was appointed “Best Forward” in the U20 league.
Sandberg’s strength has translated well from the SHL to the AHL. One of the first things he noted was that the ice rinks in America are much smaller than those in Sweden, so one must think faster when moving the puck and attempting to score. The five-foot-eight, 190 pound left winger has scored four goals so far this season and is very well-coordinated, strong on skates, and getting faster game by game–a goal he set for himself when he first came to play in North America.
“You play against such great players. You don’t have time to think, ‘Where should I go now?’ You need to prepare all the time, then you take some feedback from the coaches and stuff like that. I think it is going to work out,” Sandberg said of the “smaller” ice in North America.
Sandberg is thrilled to be playing in San Jose. He described his contract signing as a dream come true. It will be exciting to watch him grow and progress this season. The NHL just might be in his foreseeable future.