Quinton Byfield wasn’t the only big Kings-related news at the 2020 NHL Draft. They also azquirred forward Lias Andersson from the Rangers for a second round pick. The Swedish born pivot has previously been selected No. 7 overall by New York at the 2017 Draft.
Following his on-ice activities at Kings camp today, Andersson shared the following:
On being traded and any expectations for the coming season:
Of course, I thought something maybe could have happened during the Draft, but you’re still shocked when it happens that quick. I was super happy when it happened, and a little shocked. I was focused on playing the whole year in Sweden before, but things changed when when I got traded, of course. I’m super happy to be here now and super excited. We haven’t sat down and really talk about [my role or expectations] yet. We’ll see after camp. I’m just gonna try to do my best here and do my do my work. I’m sure if he wants me to play on the team, he knows my role.
On the familiarity of his current linemates, Sammy Fagemo and Carl Grundstrom
We’re talking a lot of Swedish on the ice and on the bench. We’ve played together before, me and Grundy. We’re just trying to work together and help each other out, so it’s been a good start.
On playing center vs. wing
I haven’t played much wing at all. I played center growing up on pretty much all my teams. I had a couple of games at wing. I prefer to be a center, but I can play on the wing too. It’s easier for me to play center because I’ve been playing there my whole life. I know what to do in certain situations, it’s in the back of my head. I can definitely play wing too, if they want me to. Center is my preferred position.
On what he takes from his brief time in the NHL with the Rangers
I’ll just try to take with me and remember the good parts from from my games. Now, I’ll try to take a bigger step forward and take better care of the puck, play the game with a little more maturity and just try to be a better player every day. I’m just trying to be a better player overall, one that can be trusted in all situations.
On the role his dad (a former pro player, now a Kings scout) played in his younger years
He never coached me at any level. He actually was playing hockey until I was 12 or 13, so he didn’t have time to watch my games or coach me. He was just like any other dad, he was a nice dad and drove me to practice when he had time and was supportive. He’s never come to me and tried to make me a better player. I’ve always been the one that asked him [for help]. He’s been super supportive, but never coached me or or anything like that.
On if playing games in Sweden already this season has given him a leg up in camp
Maybe. I think the first a couple of days, when we were skating after being in quarantine for for a while, that was pretty tough. I felt like I started all over again. I’m feeling better now. I’ve been skating for a while and playing some games too, so I feel great. I think that maybe helped me to have the pace up and the game shape up, so I’m feeling good.
On getting a fresh start with the Kings
I’m super excited! I’ve only been here for a couple weeks now, but everything is is awesome here. I’m very, very happy here, It’s such a first-class organization from top to bottom and I’m super happy, super excited to be here.
On what he feels are his greatest assets and what he needs to work on to be a consistent player in the NHL
I think I’m a two-way centerman that can play in both ends. I think I picked up my offensive game a little bit over the last year. I’m starting to take better care of the puck. And what I can work on is I want to be better at everything – not just offense, not just defense. I want to be a two-way center that can be trusted. I want to be good in the defensive end every shift. That’s what I’m working on every day, to play a big role defensively and be a guy that can be trusted both in the offensive zone and the defensive zone.
On if there are any NHL players he tries to model his game after
Yeah there’s one guy on this team actually, Kopi. I’ve watched him a lot growing up. I’m not saying that I’m trying to play exactly like him, but I’m trying to learn as much as I can from him. He’s so smart. I didn’t know he was this smart. So I’m trying to watch him as much as I can because I don’t think you can have a better role model than him. We’re both lefties and I can take a lot of advice from him. I’m just going to study him through camp here.
On how his game improved being in Sweden this season
I actually think I’m a much better player now than I was a year ago. I think I got all my confidence back that I had before. I think I’m a quicker quicker player now – I make quicker decisions and I’m a better stator. I’ve been doing things right, on and off the ice for a while now. I’m feeling more mature, on and off the ice. It was huge for me to be back home for for some time, trying to get get back to where I was. I think I’m a much better player and person now.
On playing with Sammy Fagemo the past few days
We’re from the same… My dad and Sam’s dad played together, so I’ve known Sam for a very, very long time. It’s fantastic to play with him. He’s a very good player – good skater, good shot, so it’s fun to play with him. With Carl, we have a little Swedish line going. It’s good and Sam has been great so far.
On if he thought another opportunity with a different NHL team would come so soon
It was a tough time. When I went back to Sweden, I didn’t think anything about getting traded. I just wanted to to to be happy again and play hockey again. When this chance come up, when I got traded, I was just so happy. As I said, a year ago I had thoughts about going back [to New York]. But, you start to miss it when you’re back in Sweden. You want to play in the best league in the world with the best players. When I got got traded here, and heard rumors that I was getting traded, that was super exciting.
On his plans for this season
My plan is to stay the whole year here [in North America]. We’ll see what the staff wants, but my plan is to stay here the whole year and play a full year here.
Kings Of the Podcast: Ep. Q17 with Christian Ruuttu, LA Kings European Scout
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