Ottawa Senators Farm Report — Filip Gustavsson
It was an eventful year for Filip Gustavsson that culminated with him making his much anticipated North American debut with the Belleville Senators as they closed out their season. Much like his demeanor on the ice, Gustavsson has remained even keel through the ups and downs in 2018.
“I’ve enjoyed it most of the time,” said Gustavsson about his whirlwind season which included being named the top goaltender at the 2018 world junior championships. “The World Juniors were really fun even though we lost and I think I played really well in the SHL this year. Then I was traded to an organization where I will have a better opportunity for the future so it was a pretty positive year for me.”
The Sens acquired Gustavsson, defenceman Ian Cole, a 2018 first-round draft pick and a 2019 third-round draft choice from the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of a three-team trade in exchange for Derick Brassard, Vincent Dunn and Ottawa’s third-round selection in the 2018 back on February 23rd and it didn’t take long for the 19-year-old Swedish goaltender to make his way across the Atlantic to start the North American chapter of his professional career.
A little over a month after the deal that landed him with the Senators, Gustavsson stopped by Canadian Tire Centre on his way to Belleville on the same night the Sens were hosting the Oilers on March 22nd. Even though the building was busy on a game night, it was still a memorable evening for Gustavsson.
“My first impression was that it was very professional,” recalled Gustavsson of his stop in Ottawa. “They were playing a game that night but everyone I met took the time to say hello and welcome me to the organization.”
While he was introduced to the franchise that night, he was already very familiar with Senators goaltending coach Pierre Groulx who had travelled to Sweden to work with Gustavsson shortly after he was acquired. The pair have already been very complimentary of each other and Gustavsson believes that has to do with his new coach’s style.
“I like Pierre a lot. He’s more similar to some of my Swedish coaches,” Gustavsson shared. “The American and Canadian coaches are often more hard but Pierre is more like a Swedish coach. He’s very easy and fun to work with. So far we’ve been working a lot on my C-cuts and the movement in a 2-on-1 situation. It’s so much faster so that’s the main thing we’ve been focusing on.”
The adjustments that Gustavsson has had to make since travelling to Canada aren’t just limited to on the ice though. Adapting his game to the smaller North American playing surface has come quickly but he admits he missed a few things from home.
“I miss some of the food and the sauces,” Gustavsson joked. “I moved in with Christian Jaros though and he spent a lot of time in Sweden too so it started to feel a bit more natural by the end.”
After wrapping the season with Belleville, he got the call from the Swedish national team and will once again represent his country on the international stage, this time at the 2018 world championships in Denmark. Following that tournament, he’ll join the rest of the Sens prospect in Ottawa for Development Camp in late June and he’s excited about the opportunity to get to know the organization as well as continuing to improve his game.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the staff even more so I can work more with the strength and conditioning coaches as well as the nutritionist,” he said. “My goal this offseason is to gain some more muscle and be even quicker on the ice and I’m sure the team in Ottawa can help me do that.”