Mattias Sjogren had numerous offers from NHL teams once he wrapped up a successful season with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League and won a silver medal at this year’s World Championships. The 23-year-old forward visited several teams, but after a trip to Arlington and meeting with Capitals officials including Coach Bruce Boudreau, Sjogren said he felt most comfortable in Washington.
“I liked everything when I came over,” Sjogren said in a phone interview. “I saw the training facility, the arena, the coach. I knew I wanted more of a challenge this season and I could see myself in Washington.”
Sjogren signed a two-year deal worth $1.8 million with Washington, which announced the agreement Wednesday. When asked where he might fit in on the Capitals’ roster.
“They’re looking for a third- or fourth-line center, and my goal is to take one of those spots,” said Sjogren, who described himself as “a two-way center. I’m a little bit more defensive and, I think, a hard worker.”
Sjogren didn’t talk about any other option but earning a Capitals sweater on opening night of the 2011-12 season. He expects to go through some of the usual growing pains that players in their first North American season experience, like adjusting to the smaller ice surface and the quicker NHL tempo. Sjogren said he got a taste of the different style of game at the World Championships and that he believes the extra years of experience will benefit his confidence and ability to adapt.
It also won’t hurt that Sjogren already knows Marcus Johansson, whom he has questioned about the Capitals since the team showed interest in him.
“He’s helped. He had a lot of positive things to say about the team,” Sjogren said of Johansson. Sjogren won’t take part in Capitals’ development camp in July, but he said he’ll be in Washington sometime in August to prepare for training camp.
“I know it’s going to be tough to compete for one of those two spots,” Sjogren said. “I know I have to be humble, but I hope I can get a chance to prove what I can do.”
--In other news, Washington has picked up prospect Taylor Stefishen from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft. Stefishen, a left wing, is expected to attend the Capitals’ development camp.