Meet the Chicago Blackhawks' Speedy New Forward Viktor Stalberg

Tab BamfordSenior Writer ISeptember 8, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 28:  Viktor Stalberg #45 of the Toronto Maple Leafs handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena on March 28, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Leafs 5-4 in a shootout.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Viktor Stalberg, F

6’3  210   DOB: 01/17/1986

Stalberg was acquired by the Chicago Blackhawks this summer in the trade that sent Kris Versteeg to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and is being viewed as (hopefully) his immediate replacement.

Drafted in the sixth round (161st overall) by Toronto in 2006, Stalberg was one of the Leafs top prospects entering last year. In 2008-09 the Swedish-born forward posted 46 points (24 G, 22 A) in 39 games at the University of Vermont (where he was on the Hockey East All-Academic Team in 2007-08) before signing with the Leafs. He appeared in two playoffs games for the Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, and tallied one assist.

Last year Stalberg began the year with the Marlies and posted 33 points (12 G, 21 A) in 39 games in the AHL, but eventually saw time with the Leafs. In 40 NHL games last year, Stalberg scored nine goals and added five assists in 14:13 in average ice time. He was minus-13 for the NHL season, and added 30 penalty minutes in that brief action. Stalberg also contributed 64 hits and 18 blocked shots to the Leafs in those 40 games.

More than anything else, Stalberg is known for his speed. His acceleration is elite, and he’s described as having a good shot and as a “natural sniper.” He’s effective on the forecheck and plays hard. He is less than four months older than Versteeg, five inches taller and 30 pounds heavier (according to the official roster). If the Hawks place him on a line with either Patrick Kane or Marian Hossa as the opposite wing, Stalberg could be set for a big season.