Thread: Player Discussion: Erik Gustafsson (2012-13 season and beyond)
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04-26-2013, 10:03 PM
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One player who has really had an impact as his ice time has ballooned because of injuries to other is second-year defenseman Erik Gustafsson.

He advanced to the first-unit power play once Kimmo Timonen was shut down with a foot injury.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Gustafsson said. “I was nervous at the start. I have been watching Kimmo all year and last year. Just keep it simple and move the puck. I hope to grow with the opportunity.”

Gustafsson played five games as Timonen’s partner this month.

“I have learned a ton from Kimmo,” Gustafsson said. “I can’t even tell you. Just the poise, the smarts. The positioning. You don’t have to panic. You take it easy. You don’t ever throw the puck away. You try to hit it or take a step and fire it off the glass. Kimmo’s smarts is where you pick up on things.”

Laviolette could not be more pleased with Gustafsson’s development at the end here.

“Gus is approaching 25 minutes,” Laviolette said. “Just an example. He gets another opportunity, another crack at big minutes. He did an outstanding job.”

Gustafsson had a strong game against Boston with a new partner: Andreas Lilja.

“What was impressive was that Gus had to stand on his own [against Boston],” Laviolette said. “I thought Lilja came in and did a terrific job for us. When you are playing with Kimmo on a consistent basis, there is a simplicity to the game that makes it a little bit easier.”

the bold above makes me especially happy. i firmly believe Gus will be in the Flyers top 6 next year barring major changes due in no small part to Kimmo's influence. Gus has shown glimpses of NHL caliber skill in the past but he has greatly improved this season.

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