Confidence is a funny thing.

Nobody really has to know about it but yourself.

But if you do find that confidence, it's kind of hard for people not to see it.

That's kind of the story of Loui Eriksson. The slick winger from Sweden struggled a great deal in his first two NHL seasons and was such a mess in the early part of the 2007-08 season that then-coach Dave Tippett made him a healthy scratch for nine of the first 14 games. However, when Les Jackson was named co-general manager that fall, he instructed Tippett to play Eriksson every game and live with the warts. And now three years later, Eriksson is one of the best players in the NHL.

It's difficult to convince Eriksson he is indeed one of the best in the league, but all you have to do is look at the results. He finished 23rd in the NHL in scoring with 71 points last season. He played for Team Sweden in the Olympics and had three goals and one assist in four games.

He ranks 11th in the league in scoring right now with 49 points in 49 games. And he is returning from the All-Star Game where he had two goals and two assists to help Team Lidstrom take an 11-10 victory. There are some who argue he should have been the MVP.

"It feels good, for sure," Eriksson said. "You don't want to get too excited, but this was a lot of fun and it was a big deal."

Eriksson said he used to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs and NHL All-Star Game growing up. He was a little star-struck when he was playing at the Olympics and even more so when he stepped into the locker room in Raleigh, N.C. But as much as it was scary, he said he did start to feel more comfortable.

"Yeah, I don't know about confident so much, but comfortable, sure," he said. "When you're out on the ice, you're just playing, so you don't think too much. I had good linemates [Jonathan Toews and Martin Havlat], and that made it easier. I have wanted to play in that game and the Olympics and the playoffs for a long time, so when you get there and you do that, it is a good feeling."

So what is the potential for the 25-year-old winger? He's on pace for 82 points. Could he push that even higher? Is he the type of guy who could be a regular top-10 scorer for the next decade?