It was a long journey from Sweden to Regina for Pats forward Filip Ahl, but it’s one he hopes will be a great benefit for his future goals.
Ahl was drafted by the Regina Pats in the 2016 CHL import draft in June, but before that he was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Already a sensation in Sweden, Ahl has played for the country’s U16, U17, U18, U19 and U20 programs as well as some experience in the Swedish professional ranks. The game is a little different in North America though, so he’s here to learn the nuances with his sights set on settling in with the Senators next season.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for me to be here and play on the small rinks here, and use my size more,” Ahl said.
And size he’s got. The forward is 6’4″ tall and 214 pounds, something he said he never took advantage of as much as he could have in Sweden because the game is less physical than the North American game. He’s ready to take advantage of it now.
“It’s much more intense game I think, and that’s what I need,” he said of the WHL.
He’s only been in Regina since Friday, but already Ahl said he’s making strides with the Canadian game, and more importantly shown chemistry with some of his teammates over the Pats’ last three scrimmages.
“Me and Sam (Steel) and (Nick) Henry are playing really good (together) … we’re just getting better and better I think.”
Ahl said it’s nice to be joining a team that did so well last year and has a good chance at making the post-season this year as well. He also praised head coach John Paddock, who he said has already helped him with the adjustment to the game, adding that having a coach with NHL experience – like Paddock does – is a huge plus for him.
“I got a lot of help from the coaches here, and they say what I have to do and I really like it so far,” Ahl said.
Ahl is also off to a good start offensively with the team, where he’s hit the scoreboard in all his scrimmages so far. Something he hopes will be par for the course during the season.
“I’m an offensive player that likes to create a lot of chances. I can both score and I’m a pretty good passer. I really like to be in the offensive zone.”
“I’m really looking forward to the season,” he added.