With long, flowing blonde hair, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby resembles a certain male model named Fabio. Some Hershey Bears fans even call him Fabio. Others refer to him as “Axel Flows” or simply “The Flow.” Last season, Jonsson-Fjallby was known more for his looks than his play during his brief stint in Hershey. However, the Swedish winger is letting his play do the talking thus far this season. His emergence as an offensive threat is one of the biggest early storylines for the Bears.
Last season, Jonsson-Fjallby arrived in Hershey for his first season in North America. The native of Stockholm ended up playing in just 16 games for the Bears. Jonsson-Fjallby was slow to adapt to the North American style of play. The winger tallied just two goals and added one assist in his tenure. He was a -5 in the 16 games he played.
Feeling homesick, Jonsson-Fjallby exercised a clause in his contract that allowed him to return to Sweden on November 13, 2018. The Washington Capitals loaned him to Djurgardens IF in the Swedish Hockey League.
Jonsson-Fjallby did not find much success with Djurgardens IF in the regular season. He netted just one goal and had nine assists in 36 games. However, he found his game in the playoffs. Jonsson-Fjallby scored seven goals and dished out five assists in 19 playoff games, as Djurgardens advanced to the finals before falling in seven games to Frolunda.
The speedy Swede participated in the Capitals Developmental Camp in June and impressed. Washington Director of Player Development Steve Richmond stated that Jonsson-Fjallby was nearly NHL ready. He also played for the Capitals in the Nashville Prospects Showcase tournament.
After spending the first part of training camp with the Capitals, Jonsson-Fjallby was re-assigned to Hershey. He got off to a slow start and was held scoreless through the first four games. After being placed on a line with Brian Pinho and Beck Malenstyn, he broke through in his fifth game with a two-goal game at the Toronto Marlies.
His second goal of the showed off some of his skill set. He dished the puck off to Pinho on the right wing. Jonsson-Fjallby executed two right skate pushes and blew past the Toronto defenseman. At this point, Pinho fed the puck back to the Swede and Jonsson-Fjallby beat Toronto goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo through the five-hole with a one-handed forehand push shot. He added another goal in the third period.
The two-goal game against the Marlies started a four-game, point streak for Jonsson-Fjallby. In his next game, he potted Hershey’s first goal in a 5-1 win over Belleville. The Stockholm native then assisted on Pinho’s game-winning goal against Laval. He also scored the Bears’ lone goal in a 5-1 loss to Rochester. It was a shorthanded tally. The Swede’s point streak came to an end in a 2-1 shootout loss to Utica on October 26.
In nine games, Jonsson-Fjallby has already topped his point total from last season. He has four goals and an assist thus far and is tied with Mike Sgarbossa and Travis Boyd for the team lead in goals.
The winger has found a good home on the line with Pinho and Malenstyn. The three players compliment each other well. Pinho is a good defensive center who makes good decisions. Malenstyn is a bruising forward, who creates space for his linemates and is also a smart player. Jonsson-Fjallby is a player with great speed and good instincts. All three players have seen a lot of time on the penalty kill and have accounted for two of the Bears’ three shorthanded goals (one each for Jonsson-Fjallby and Malenstyn). Together, the trio has made a formidable line and has been a key part of Jonsson-Fjallby’s success.
Hershey hopes that Jonsson-Fjallby can keep producing offensively because it gives the team secondary scoring. If the Swede continues to develop, Jonsson-Fjallby will “flow” his way to the NHL.
By Eric Lord
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