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A new understudy for Kiprusoff

Swedish netminder acquired in a trade at draft

Saturday, 06.26.2010 / 4:04 PM MT / News
By Mike Board  - CF.com Digital Content Director
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A new understudy for Kiprusoff
The phone connection across to Sweden wasn't exactly the best. But there was no mistaking the enthusiasm in Henrik Karlsson's voice just moments after learning he had become a Calgary Flame.

"I am really excited that I am going to be a Calgary Flame," said the six-foot-five, 200-pound goaltender who spent the majority of last season in the Swedish Elite League with Farjestads.

Karlsson was acquired by Calgary Saturday at the 2010 Entry Draft from San Jose for their sixth pick (163rd overall).

The Flames had considered picking a goalie in the late rounds but opted to make a trade for the 26-year-old Swede who spent time with the Sharks during the 2010 NHL playoffs as a back-up to Evgeni Nabokov.

Karlsson, who played in 34 games in Sweden last season, posted a 2.45 GAA and a .914 save percentage. He was thinking of going to play in Russia as the Sharks likely didn't have room for him at the NHL level.

"He didn't want to play in their system and there may be a spot for him here," said Flames GM Darryl Sutter.

"I had heard some rumours about being traded a week ago but I didn't think too much about it," said Karlsson.

The big Swede is very familiar with Miikka Kiprusoff, the man he will potentially back-up in Calgary. Karlsson said he watched Kiprusoff plenty when the Flames goalie played in the Swedish Elite League during the NHL lockout season in 2005.

"I have watched him a lot. He's a really good goalie and I can learn from him," said Karlsson.

And he doesn't seem too worried about Kiprusoff being a workhorse who can play 70 to 75 games a season.

"I'll go over with an open mind and give 100 per cent," said Karlsson. "I will try and pick up as much as I can from him."

Flames European scout Anders Steen said Karlsson is a big, but agile goalie.

"A bit of a late bloomer, too," said Steen. "He is the kind of goalie who can face 55 shots and get a shutout. But you never know. He is now coming to a league with the best shooters in the world."

That's a challenge Karlsson is ready for.

"I enjoyed playing on the small rinks in practice when I was in San Jose," he said. "I would say I am a modern goalie. I use my size as much as possible."

This is the second time the Flames have acquired a goalie from the Sharks -- Sutter also traded with the Sharks to get Kiprusoff in 2003.