Swede will get his chance

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

A nagging groin injury hindered Robin Figren's chances of making a big impact last year with the Calgary Hitmen, now he's been given that opportunity with the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Not quite 100% from off-season surgery in Germany to fix a sports hernia, the Stockholm, Sweden, native is ready to be one of the Oil Kings' offensive threats heading into their inaugural season.

"My groin injury had been nagging me since Christmas and I didn't have the year I wanted," said Figren.

The 19-year-old posted solid numbers in his first WHL season. Despite the groin problems, he potted 10 goals and 17 assists in 62 games and added eight points (four goals and four assists) in 18 playoff games.

"Coming in here there will be some pressure to help lead the team offensively but I enjoy the pressure," said Figren, who hasn't seen any action during the first ever pre-season tournament at Servus Credit Place in St.Albert.

"The groin isn't quite where it needs to be yet, but it's getting better and better."

Oil Kings bench boss Steve Pleau isn't about to rush Figren into action. The Swede is off to Long Island for the New York Islanders camp on Sept. 11 and Pleau is going to wait for their team doctors to give Figren the green light. The Islanders chose Figren with their third round selection, 70th overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft.

"Once he gets healthy and is able to condition himself to play in the league we feel he can be a top-two line player for us," said Pleau.

"We need him to score goals for us."

Figren is one of three players headed to NHL training camps over the next week. Two of Edmonton's most experienced defenceman, Bretton Stamler and Cameron Cepek, will be headed to the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadians respective camps.

"I gained a lot of experience going there last year-- you really have to work your ass off. When I came back (to Calgary) I just wanted to come back and have a good year, but the league was way tougher than I thought," said Figren.


Photos