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Filip Gustavsson has re-written the Belleville Sens record book, now has sights set on NHL

March 8, 2022

Filip Gustavsson has always seemed to be ahead of the curve. The Skelleftea, Sweden native, has been a highly successful mainstay in the Belleville Senators crease, so much that the 23-year-old goaltender is the franchise’s all-time leader in wins (38) and games played (85). He readily admits his transition to the AHL wasn’t always as easy as it appeared.

“Everything around hockey was different than what I was used to,” Gustavsson said. “In the beginning, it was a little slow. I didn’t get the success I wanted right away, but the more I played and settled into North American culture, I felt like my game became better, and right now, I’m pretty happy with how I am playing.”

Gustavsson has continued to find his game and is ultimately satisfied with his recent performances, which has helped him rewrite the team record book. He remains humble, downplaying his recent milestones, crediting the support of teammates for his accomplishments.

“It shows that we’ve had great teams here. It was unfortunate when Covid hit because we especially had a good team that year, and I thought we could make it far in the playoffs,” Gustavsson said, reminiscing about the AHL Senators’ performance prior to the cancellation of the 2019-20 season.

Belleville Senators head coach Troy Mann acknowledged that Gustavsson’s achievements haven’t come without their own challenges.

“He’s faced a lot of adversity with the number of extra players going up to Ottawa and with Covid going on. He’s like any other player. He needs rhythm, and sometimes it’s hard to get in a rhythm when you’re the number three goalie [in the organization], and always going up and down, and to me, that’s facing adversity because there’s just no rhythm in his life. He has a very relaxed personality. Once you get to know him, he’s got some comedy to him, so a lot doesn’t seem to faze him. His personality certainly plays into that type of position.”

Certainly, on the right developmental path, Gustavsson continues to focus on his steady growth.

“It’s just about being consistent. I’ve shown that I can play in the NHL when I am at my best. It’s more about the ups and downs,” he noted. In 22 career appearances with Ottawa, Gustavsson has an 8-10-3 record, with a 3.07 goals-against average and .910 save-percentage.

While it seems it’s only a matter of time before Gustavsson is playing regularly at hockey’s highest level. The training and mentoring he received in the Friendly City will be a significant part of his continued success.

“I can’t speak enough about the job [Goaltender Coach] Justin Peters has done with him just from the mental aspect and knowing his personality and what makes him tick internally in terms of getting his best performances, ” Mann said. “Along with his maturity has come his confidence.”

Submitted by: Joel Vanderlaan / @JoelVanderlaan