By Warren Kozireski —
Filip Cederqvist is a 6’3”, 196 lb. forward who loves playing along with wall and fighting in the corners for the puck, attributes the Buffalo Sabres are in need of with most of their younger forward prospects and current players identified as on the smaller side.
The fifth-round draft choice (2019) is only 26 games into his first year playing in North America, so the 22-year-old will only get better. Not that the present is bad. As of Jan. 22nd, he had three goals and seven assists playing anywhere from the fourth to the first line depending on injuries, call-ups and the World Junior tournament that cost Rochester the services of fellow prospects Isak Rosen and Jiri Kulich, who played for Team Sweden and Team Czechia respectively.
“It’s been pretty good; it’s been different of course with the style of play,” Cederqvist said. “In the beginning I had an injury and was out for a whole month, so that was bad timing, but I think after the injury I started playing with more and more confidence especially holding onto the puck.”
The Skara-born Cederqvist has a younger brother, Oskar, playing junior hockey as a 19-year-old in Sweden and his father, Peter, had a 14-year playing career at the Division 2 and 3 levels in the 1980’s and 90’s back home.
“He was a pretty skilled guy, so I think I’m getting some stuff from him.”
Cederqvist has never put up eye-popping offensive numbers peaking at 14 goals twice and 36 points during his later developmental years, but he brings the elements of grit and digging the puck out of the corner that every team and line needs. He demonstrated that during the Sabres Prospect Camp games in September and so far, this season in Rochester.
“I would say that. I’m pretty strong, so that is my strength. I’m trying to work on my net game a little bit more. Last year in Sweden I could walk (with the puck) a little bit more down low; it’s a pretty big difference of (space) behind the net, so that’s different, but the coaches are helping me a lot and I (have) started to know where I should go.”
As for not being taken until the fifth round, Cederqvist shrugs it off.
“I don’t care so much about that stuff; I think if you’re a good hockey player you’re going to succeed and I’m just working hard every day to deserve more playing time and more chances. You need to believe in yourself.”
(Rochester Americans Photo)