MOSCOW, August 26 (R-Sport) – Former New York Islanders hockey team forward David Ullstrom told R-Sport on Monday that a strong performance with Russia’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl this season will help him punch his ticket back to the National Hockey League.
Ullstrom, 24, signed with the youthful Kontinental Hockey League squad in June after three seasons in North America bouncing between the Islanders and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
The speedy Swede, a fourth-round draft pick of the Islanders in 2008, scored two goals and three assists in 20 NHL appearances last season. He fared better in the minor leagues, picking up nine goals and 17 assists in 33 games with Bridgeport.
“Here I’ve got a good chance to work on my game, my skills while getting enough playing time,” Ullstrom said. “Getting back to the NHL is an important goal for me, but now it’s set as much as possible on helping Lokomotiv.”
Lokomotiv, which is still rebuilding itself after nearly its entire roster was killed in a 2011 plane crash, reached the playoffs last season with a 34-18 record, but was eliminated in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
For Ullstrom, a Jonkoping native, the season will have special resonance because his former teammate on HV71 in the Swedish elite league, goalie Stefan Liv, was on board the Lokomotiv plane that crashed in September 2011. The pair played together for HV71 in 2009-10.
“We were good friends, Stefan and I,” Ullstrom said. “Hopefully I can help carry his spirit.”