When the Anaheim Ducks made Max Friberg their fifth round selection, 143rd overall in 2011, the scouting reports tabbed the five year veteran of the Swedish development ranks as a solid two way player. EliteProspects described the winger as 'strong and speedy with an excellent work rate and great attitude, a two-way forward with strong board play and skating hard on the forecheck.' Friberg joined Paul Kariya as a Ducks draft pick who was named to the World Junior Championship All Star team when he did so with Sweden in 2012, then spent a pair of seasons with Timrå IK in the Swedish Hockey League compiling 13 goals and 13 assists in 103 games before moving to North America.
Now with three years and two full seasons in the AHL, Friberg has acclimatized to the North American game. After making his debut with Norfolk, playing six games following completion of the 12-13 SHL season in Timrå IK, 13-14 was his first full AHL year and saw him put up 17 goals and 23 assists while taking 55 minutes in penalties in 76 games. This past season was his best professionally, as he set career highs in the three offensive per game rates.
While playing in the Admirals season opener Friberg suffered a dislocated elbow that knocked him out until the final weekend series of November, but once he returned he immediately started producing putting up a goal and two assists in the three games. Friberg recored a point in nine of his 14 appearances with Norfolk before earning a call up to make his NHL debut against the Vancouver Canucks on December 28. Over that stretch he recorded five goals and six assists, including the power play winner against Bridgeport on December 20.
After his appearance in Anaheim Friberg had a three game point streak in January (his second longest of the season behind a four game stretch in December), but suffered his longest scoreless slump of eight games from January 31 to February 20 before dishing a pair of assists against Worchester. March was his most productive month, as he put up three goals and six assists in 12 games including a season high three point night (which he would do again assisting three times at Binghamton on April 7) with a goal and two assists against Albany on March 27. Six of his 15 goals on the year were game winners, and Friberg had nine multiple point nights en route to leading Norfolk in goals (tied with Chris Wagner) and points.
(Friberg's 14-15 stats from hockeyDB.com)
In Friberg's one appearance with Anaheim he saw 8:47 of ice time (lowest in the game, but more even strength time than Rickard Rakell) delivering a pair of hits and blocking a shot. While the shot attempt ratio was not good at 7:14 with him on ice, the Ducks did create a pair of scoring chances with him on but also gave up a trio of high danger chances against. Vancouver didn't convert on any, and Anaheim would go on to win in overtime on Cam Fowler's rebound tap-in and a subsequent wipe out celebrating with Devante Smith-Pelly.
While not having the inspirational story quality of Stefan Noesen, Friberg continues to be an example of how getting value in later rounds of the draft helps build/keep competitive teams in the discussion. That Friberg was able to lead the Admirals in scoring despite missing a good deal of time is to his credit, as is him rarely going more than three games without contributing on the score sheet in some manner. Another prospect to watch as the Ducks continue the influx of Swedish skill on the squad, Max Friberg figures to keep himself in the discussion for more opportunities with the big club with continued production in San Diego moving forward.