Nor-way Olden can avoid puns

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:33 PM ET

The gathered media couldnt resist the bad Norwegian jokes as they waited to meet the Maple Leafs latest Nordic prodigy, Sondre Olden.

Bet he drives a Fjord Escort, said one.

Does he play the game in O-slo motion?, deadpanned another.

Olden is hearing the same kind of jibes from teammates at the Leafs prospect camp and is bound to hear a few more in the coming season. But he intends to have the last laugh down the road if he can fill a role at forward.

The mid-round draft choice last month certainly stands tall at this camp, around 6-foot-4, though at just 173 pounds.

If youre big, its easier to get known by the scouts, Olden said Tuesday. So Im happy Im so big. Norway is not a big hockey country, maybe 3,000 players. The guys here think Im Swedish, but I tell them Im proud to be Norwegian.

Olden enhanced his chances to get noticed by leaving his Oslo suburb to play with MoDo of the Swedish junior league. He had 27 points in 32 games, bringing him to the attention of the Leafs European scout Thommie Bergman. He, in turn, pestered amateur scouting director Dave Morrison to take a look and that led Olden to the draft and then the Mastercard Centre for the next stage of his development.

All three of our Scandinavian kids here are impressive Olden, Daniel Brodin, and (defenceman) Petter Granberg, said player development director Jim Hughes. Theyre all here at light speed right now because we just drafted them and got them on planes here to see our city, our practice facility and to meet (general manager) Brian Burke. They all bring a good skill set.


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