Are the Ducks Fans Ready for the Jakob ‘Sniperberg’?

Anaheim Ducks’ new acquisition, Jakob Silfverberg, possesses the talent to suggest he could be the Ducks’ next potential young star.

However, it’s unlikely the 22-year-old will immediately replace four-time 30-goal scorer Bobby Ryan as he has to adjust to a new system.

But still don’t sleep on this Swedish sensation.

Although Senators fans welcomed Bobby Ryan to Ottawa, they were just as disappointed to see the 6-foot-2, 196-pound Silfverberg traded. He was previously named MVP with the Brynas in the Swedish Elite League before being drafted 39th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by Ottawa.

Silfverberg’s Rookie Season with the Senators

In his first taste of the NHL level last season, with high expectations, Silfverberg posted 10 goals, 19 points, and a plus-9 rating in 48 games with Ottawa Senators.  He was two behind Kyle Turris for team leader in goals, but he had as many as 17-year veteran Daniel Alfredsson.  He’s a young winger who prefers to shoot the puck, having led the Senators by 16 shots. The winger didn’t slouch in his first postseason experience either. In 10 games he scored two goals, posted two assists with 22 shots and plus-15 shot differential rating. That’s  impressive for a rookie who had to adjust to smaller ice and a brand new style of game,  thrust into an immediate scoring role.

Silfverberg has proven he has an excellent balance of offensive and defensive abilities. He has also posted valuable experience on the second line on the power play and penalty kill.

He’s a legitimate top-six two-way forward. If you haven’t seen this young forward in action, we recommend checking out the highlight reels, paying close attention to his lightning-quick release. It’s like a rocket. When he becomes comfortable using it, it will be lethal.

For instance, in his first NHL shootout, New Jersey Devils veteran goalie Martin Brodeur is still looking for the puck. And then he went on to beat New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist in only his second shootout appearance. It’s not easy to score on two excellent veteran goaltenders.

Silfverberg mesh with the Ducks 

And now he has a perfect opportunity in Anaheim to take the next steps forward in his career.

In his first preseason game with the Ducks, Silfverberg lived up to the hype. Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau switched Silfverberg from his natural right side to the left as he played alongside right wing Teemu Selanne and center Nick Bonino. Just 48 seconds into the exhibition opener, Silfverberg’s short backhand led to Selanne’s quick rebound goal. The big, versatile forward also collected an assist when 2012 first-round draft pick Hampus Lindholm scored to extend the Ducks lead to, 5-1. Anaheim came out victorious in its opener at Honda Center, 6-2, over Phoenix Coyotes.

This season Silfverberg will see numerous scoring opportunities as he learns from the 20-year Finnish veteran. There’s no one better to learn every day habits and grow as a player than from Selanne, who ranks 11th in the NHL with 675 career goals.

Silfverberg is capable of providing some secondary scoring for a Ducks team that could use it after trading Ryan to Ottawa in July. If he indeed skates with Selanne and Bonino, look for Silfverberg to drive the offense on this line. He’s extremely intelligent with the puck and has a quick, accurate, hard shot.

Silfverberg has room to grow on offense as his 7.5 shooting percentage, which was below the NHL average of 9.11 percent in 2012-13, should progress upward with more experience, as he does possess a deadly shot.

Ducks goalie Viktor Fasth is familiar with Silfverberg’s wicked sniper. The two Swedish stars were teammates for the 2011 and 2012 World Championships.

With the solid mix of veteran stars and rising young skaters, Silfverberg could find himself contributing early. If his “Sniperberg” isn’t impressive in itself, look at all his contributions on the other side of the puck. This could be the year Jakob Silfverberg breaks out his laser shot and becomes a force in the league.

Let the “Oh, Ah, Silfverberg” chants begin.

The Hockey Writers
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