WINNIPEG - Carl Klingberg got a little taste of North American pro hockey at the end of last season and it was enough to let him know it suits his palate.
The 20-year-old Swede, who played one game with the Atlanta Thrashers and eight with the Chicago Wolves of the AHL after spending the 2010-11 season in the Swedish Elite League, joined other Winnipeg Jets players and prospects for a skate at the MTS IcePlex Thursday and said he is already feeling comfortable in his new surroundings.
"I'm not the typical European player," Klingberg said. "I'm actually more like a North American player. I like to go straight to the net and take the puck with me. I like to stand in front of the net and hit hard."
Klingberg's numbers were not huge last season — he had five goals and eight points in 49 games in Sweden and scored once in eight games with the Wolves — but he is considered one of the organization's top prospects.
If confidence means anything, he should be in fine shape.
"My goal is to take the jersey and play in the NHL from the start," he said. "I'm going to fight like hell in the camp to get a spot."
Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was familiar with Klingberg before either became part of the organization and he says a learning curve is going to be necessary.
"He's someone that can excel at the North American pro game, but there is going to be that little bit of a learning period," Cheveldayoff said. "It's good that he came over and played some games at the end of the season. The reality is there is a little bit of a transition period but he's a young guy and he's got it all in front of him."
As for making the Jets out of training camp, Cheveldayoff said Klingberg seems like the kind of player who can make it happen.
"He's someone who is a very serious person and a very serious hockey player," Cheveldayoff said.
"Everybody coming into this training camp is going to be evaluated on their own merits and if a player deserves to play we're going to find a way to get him into the lineup."
Klingberg will be in Penticton, B.C., for the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament, which will feature the Jets, Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks Sept. 11-15.
He hopes that and the Jets rookie camp, which starts in Winnipeg on Sept. 10, will help him get an edge prior to the start of main training camp on Sept. 17.
"It's a new start for everyone so I have no idea what's going to happen," Klingberg said. "I can only focus on what I do best and take it from there. It's stupid to focus on whether I'm going to make the team or not because it just takes energy from me. I'm going to be myself, be a happy dude here and try to make the team. Hopefully I do it."
Describing himself as a power forward who can score ("Like an energy guy but not like the usual fourth-liner that fights"), Klingberg believes he has a lot to offer the young Jets team.
"It's a new (coaching) staff and I don't know if they know what I'm going for, but I'm going to show them for sure."