Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) – There weren’t too many people that thought much of it when the Buffalo Sabres drafted Filip Cederqvist in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Cederqvist has grown quite a bit since then, and thanks to the guidance of the Sabres’ director of player development Adam Mair, Cederqvist has been signed and is considered a decent prospect in Buffalo's system. Cederqvist mentioned that he’s been really lucky to have Mair helping him the past two years.
In Saturday’s game at the Sabres Prospects Challenge against the New Jersey Devils, Cederqvist scored the type of dirty goal that Buffalo fans just love. He planted himself in front of the net, screening Nico Daws, and then was opportunistic when Oskari Laaksonen’s rebound was laying in the crease just waiting for Cederqvist to bang the puck home.
“Last year, most of my goals were like that: In front of the net, trying to be strong there," said Cederqvist on Sunday.
“When I was in junior, I had a tough time crashing the net. But in the last two years, I’ve been working hard to go to the net more and I think that’s really paid off and has helped me to produce points.”
Cederqvist is now listed at 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, which certainly catches the eyes of Rochester Americans assistant coach Mike Weber.
“He’s an absolute monster. He absolutely crushed the bike test. He went so hard he almost broke the bike," Weber said of Cederqvist.
“He’s really strong, really powerful. You know how hard it is to score goals, and you’ve got to get to the blue paint. You’ve got to get to the net-front. From what I’ve seen of him, he’s a guy that’s extremely willing to get there. He’s got the frame to handle the beating and the pressure, and he’s got nice hands in tight to finish.”
Cederqvist needed to get more games in to get better. During the 2020-21 season, he played three games in the Swedish Hockey League and 51 games in Sweden's second-highest professional league for Tingsryds AIF, scoring nine goals and 27 assists for 36 points.
Last year, Cederqvist got a full season in the SHL for Djurgardens IF, netting 14 goals and 18 assists for 32 points in 49 games.
“I got to play a lot, and that was really helpful for my confidence and development," Cederqvist said. "I think I’m ready to give this a shot.”
Russian winger Aleksandr Kisakov doesn’t know English, but he has fellow Russian Vsevolod Komarov to hang out with. Cederqvist’s English is pretty good, but Linus Weissbach and Isak Rosen haven been showing him the way.
As almost all Europeans do when they first come to North America, the smaller ice surface is an adjustment. Cederqvist is no different.
“Of course it’s going to be a big difference, because I’ve almost never played on a small rink. So I think it’s going to be different, but when I start learning where the space is, I think my game is good for a small rink,” he said.
Cederqvist has now gotten two games on the smaller ice and says he feels pretty good about things.
“The first game was a pretty new experience for me and it was really fast, but I think yesterday it felt better,” Cederqvist said.
Cederqvist still has one more game to maybe play on Monday, but he’s loved the past week so far.
“It’s a great experience. It’s really nice to be here and start working,” Cederqvist said.
Join me for Monday’s game against the Ottawa Senators at 1:30 p.m. ET on The Bet 1520. Ottawa lost badly to the Montreal Canadiens, 7-2, on Sunday to fall to 0-2-0. Montreal finished the Prospects Challenge with a 1-2-0 record.
***Photo: Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres)