Monday morning, new Nashville Predator Viktor Stalberg talked with the media all the way from his home country in Sweden. Friday, Stalberg signed a four-year deal worth $12 million as an unrestricted free agent. Stalberg sounded eager to play under head coach Barry Trotz as a top six forward.
Stalberg on joining the Predators: "I'm very excited about the opportunity there. I had a great three years in Chicago, but I'm looking for a different team — a different opportunity for me. They have a great team in Nashville. They are very well built and well coached."
Stalberg on being a good fit: "I think the way they play — they play an up-tempo game. It makes it hard for you to break out of your zone. [My speed] is something I will be looking to use here. [They have] a great goalie and a great defensive core. What they did in free agency will help us out next year. They have a really good coach. And talking to Barry, he liked how I played and what I could bring to the team."
Stalberg on potentially being a thirty-goal guy and playing top line minutes: "I'd like to think so. I get the chance to play those top minutes where you can turn your career into [an elite forward]. Just looking at the past two years, I've played around 14 minutes. I think the potential is there and I will have the opportunity to play with some pretty talented offensive players in Nashville. I'm looking forward to a chance there and hoping I can bring that offensive change."
Stalberg on the Preds' core: "Just looking at Nashville after playing them the last couple of years, they are a team built from the back end starting with Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber. [Rinne] is one of the top goaltenders in the league. Especially drafting Seth Jones is going to help them big time. I think they have a good thing going and hopefully we can get back to the playoffs next year.
Stalberg on bringing leadership after winning the Stanley Cup: "[In Chicago], we were expected to win every game and that was I'm going to try and bring to Nashville. Being around and seeing what the Cup does to people is exciting and hopefully I get the chance to experience that in Nashville."
Stalberg on going from winning the Stanley Cup, then trying to sign with a team after: "It's been a pretty busy week for sure. I try not think about it too much because I want to enjoy the Cup parties. … It became pretty clear later on that Nashville was the right fit for me."
Stalberg on if he got a fair shot at being a top six forward under Joel Quenneville: "Yes and no. I don't think they gave me the opportunity really to be comfortable. Especially the last two years, I scored 22 goals and still not playing as a top six forward. I don't think I was really given the opportunity. Certainly, you can't be mad at that either because, just look at that lineup. That's just the way it is. Probably the last couple of years, they were the best team in hockey when you look at the roster. At the same time you want to be on a good team winning, [but] I wasn't given the opportunity to reach my potential."
Stalberg on winning the Cup: "It is still hard to grasp that we won it. The support we had in Chicago was amazing. I was with Daniel Alfredsson at a golf tournament and he said to cherish the moment."