Swede time at summer camp

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

For the past few days, Tim Erixon has had his own personal chaperone.

Mikael Backlund has been showing the Calgary Flames newest first-round draft choice the sights while they're in town for the team's summer prospects camp.

"He didn't show us anything stupid or crazy," he said.

"The city, it's great."

Besides, this trip from Sweden is more about work than vacation.

For Backlund, it's the next step to prepare for training camp, where he'll try to unseat a veteran for a spot on the Flames roster. Otherwise, it'll be a trip to the AHL's Abbotsford Heat.

For Erixon, however, it's an eye-opener.

This week's camp, which began yesterday at the Saddledome, is a chance for Erixon to introduce himself to the Flames organization.

It's an opportunity for the 6-foot-2, 190-lb. defenceman to realize where he's at in terms of fitness and development and how far he needs to go compared to those around him.

And for the team's first choice, 23rd overall, from this year's draft, it's a chance to meet some players, who he hopes will be future teammates.

"For sure, it's exciting," he said.

"I've been playing with (Backlund and fellow Swede Henrik Bjorklund) on the national team from time to time. Getting to know them better is great."

And it's a chance for the blueliner to show the team the player he is.

"It will be a great start to the season," he said.

"Hopefully, I do well, but it's the first time on the ice, and that's the worst part of the game, stepping out on the ice for the first time.

"Off the ice, I think I'm pretty good (conditioned). On the ice, we'll see. It's tough after not being on the ice for two months. Don't expect too much.

"Hopefully, I show them what I can do.

What he's expected to become is a solid, two-way defenceman.

Erixon has some offensive flair and strong skating ability, but is also a solid defender.

"I was pretty offensively skilled when I was younger and worked to improve my defensive skill the last couple years," he said.

Plus, he has the benefit of learning about the NHL from his father, Jan, who spent 10 seasons in the NHL as a defensive forward.

"He knows what it takes and can help me a lot, give me small advice and stuff. It's great," Tim Erixon explained.

As for the coming season, Erixon plans to return to Sweden to play for Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League, where he spent almost all of last year, and collected two goals and five assists in 45 games.

"They told me they want me to be a big part of the team. I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

"I think I play my best game when I get to be a big part of the team, powerplay and PK."

The prospect camp continues today with morning power skating sessions -- goalies and defencemen at 9 a.m., forwards at 10 a.m. -- and an afternoon practice at 2:30 p.m.


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