Färjestad BK defenceman Jonathan Blum has admitted the straight knockout system in the CHL this season could give Cardiff Devils a big opportunity to go through.
The Swedes will take on the team who ended the disrupted season at the top of the standings after the draw was made on Wednesday, with Devils returning to Sweden for a fourth time.
But Blum warned that a different mentality is needed from him and his team, who finished second in the SHL regular season standings when the sides do meet in October.
“I know it’s different this year because of Covid and they’re starting with a round of 32 instead of a group, but we’re excited to get going and start the season again,” he said.
“In the groups, you can have a bad game or two and still manage to get yourself into the knockout rounds.
WATCH: The full draw CHL draw for 2020/21
“Here, it’s only one home game then one away game and you have to make the best of it. One bad night could be the end of you so it needs a different mentality.
“I think anything’s up for grabs. Who knows if fans will be able to be at either game or not, but they can make a difference.
“It’s only two games so you have to expect the best of every team and we’ll be focussed and ready when the time comes to play Cardiff.”
The Swedes and the Devils were both beaten by eventual winners Frölunda in last season’s competition, but decent seasons domestically were ended abruptly because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Blum is excited for the new season and another European adventure with the team, who are located in Karlstad, on the bank of the river Klarälven.
While he admits his knowledge of Cardiff is limited, he says the reputation of the British game has grown worldwide.
He added: “I was excited for it and it’s a cool opportunity to go somewhere you haven’t been. I have really been exposed to hockey in the UK and that’s the great thing about the CHL.
“You get to go places and play different teams from different countries and it’s going to be exciting to visit somewhere like that.
“I don’t know too much about Cardiff, but I’ve had a few buddies play in the league and they’ve said it’s a great experience and I’m looking forward to seeing the different style.
“The reputation of the British game has definitely grown and you can see that with the fans there. Plus the level is increasing every year as well.
“I know there’s talk of more guys wanting to go there and for me, it will only grow again in the next few years.”