‘The battles are tough here, and the emotions are high, but I like that.’
Texas Stars goaltender five shutouts in 54 games for Färjestads BK during its Swedish hockey season’s championship year in 2011-12. He was Team Sweden’s No. 3 goalie at the 2012 IIHF World Championship, where he caught the eye of Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk.
At a rangy 6 feet 4 inches, Nilstorp is deceptively quick to the puck and surprisingly tough. When opposing centers lean back into the crease against him, he is not afraid to mix it up with them and push back. In North America, the game is really played in a NorthSouth style. Here, things happen quicker, magnifying mistakes and producing constant pressure.
“The battles are tough here, and the emotions are high, but I like that,” Nilstorp said. “Even with all the differences and things I am still learning, I think the game here is more fun to play as a goaltender. Here, they will shoot from anywhere, so I have to always be ready.”
Nilstorp, the third oldest player on the Stars’ roster, is in a different stage in his life from most of his teammates. He’s played pro hockey long enough to have that calmness and composure about him, and even though he is not a vocal leader, those attributes add to the team.
“Things are going better and better,” Nilstorp said. “It was difficult at the start, especially in the size of the ice. Sometimes it feels like a completely different game — the players are stronger, and they shoot better and faster. I am still working on getting comfortable.”
Cristopher Nilstorp, at age 28, is an American Hockey League rookie but he is in his eighth season of professional hockey.