COVENTRY, UK – Genting Casino Coventry Blaze can confirm the signing of Swedish defenceman Kenny Kallstrom for the 2013/14 Rapid Solicitors Elite League campaign.
The 23-year-old, who hails from Avesta, spent last season away from his native country for the first time, playing for Strasbourg in France.
Kallstrom has played the majority of his hockey with Leksand in the Allsvenskan, posting 34 points (11 goals and 23 assists) in 145 appearances. He did have a spell with Karlskrona in Division One in 2011/12 and helped them gain promotion.
The 6ft 3in, 187lbs blue-liner also enjoyed a decent junior career, registering 65 points (24 goal and 41 assists) in 92 matches in the J20 SuperElit and winning most points, goals and assists for a defenceman either overall or in regional format across two seasons.
Director of Hockey Operations Paul Thompson said: “When we lost Mike Schutte, we could have made the easy decision and put Michael Henrich on the blue-line and go for another offensive forward and Michael was willing to do that. But we believe Michael is going to be an All-Star forward and a big impact player in the league so we didn’t want to go down that route.
“I had Kenny recommended to me by one of my contacts in Sweden and he feels this player is going to be a gem – he has nowhere reached his potential yet.
“He is excited to be joining us and experiencing a different challenge. Matty [coach Matt Soderstrom] and I had three or four players on the table and some guys had more pro experience. But we are getting a very good hockey player and we are very excited to have him.
“Also, I am sure it will be nice for Matty to have a fellow Swede to keep him company!”
Soderstrom added: “He is a young, dynamic defenceman who is going to help our powerplay enormously. Mike Schutte was a big part of our PP last season – but we relied on him way too much.
“Now we have Sean Erickson and Kenny and that is going to improve our special team. He is a big boy but he is very mobile and has a big shot.
“I am really happy with our team. We have a goalie who is going to be one of the best in the league, our ‘D’ has a lot of size, toughness and speed and we have a number of forwards who are expected to get 20-30 goals plus for us.”
Kallstrom joins Steven Chalmers, Ross Venus, James Griffin, Mike Egener, Adam Henrich, Benn Olson, Russell Cowley, Mike Zacharias, Matt Selby, Dale White, Adam Goss, Michael Henrich, Ryan Ginand, Sean Erickson, Ashley Tait, Brian McMillin and Kevin Harvey on next season’s roster.