Kronwall Returns to Sweden

CALGARY, CANADA - OCTOBER 31: Staffan Kronwall #8 of the Calgary Flames makes his way to the ice for warm-up prior to their game against the Detroit Red Wings on October 31, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Red Wings defeated the Flames 3-1. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)


Calgary Flames and Abbotsford Heat defenceman Staffan Kronwall has opted to end his tenure with the American Hockey League’s Heat, and instead return to his home club in Sweden.  It’s a decision that comes with the blessing of both teams, and is probably mutually beneficial for both sides.

Krownall, the brother of Detroit’s Niklas, joins Djurgardens IF in Stockholm in a situation similar to the one we saw with former Flames forward Marcus Nilson.  Kronwall joined the Flames on July 2nd of 2009 after signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent.  He played 11 games in Calgary last season, scoring once and adding two assists, however most of his time was spent in Abbotsford.  With the Heat last season, Kronwall played in 44 regular season games putting up five goals and 28 points.  In nine Heat playoff games, he added two assists.

The writing was on the wall right from the very start of training camp this season for Kronwall, in that it was going to be extremely difficult for him to crack the Flames roster.  With so many one way contracts already, Kronwall was placed with the second group of skaters to start camp, away from the veteran and established NHL’ers.  The emergence of T.J. Brodie through camp made it even more difficult for Kronwall to elevate onto the big roster.

He played just one game with Abbotsford this season before making his decision to return to Sweden.

  • That’s a bit of a blow for the Heat, who are already pretty young and inexperienced.

    On another note, the decision-making regarding the Flames bottom end of the defense rotation last was just flat out baffling. The Flames had Kronwall and Stralman battling for a spot in camp. Stralman was better but then was traded for peanuts to CBJ. Kronwall was retained briefly and then basically usurped by Aaron Johnson, who was later acquired for no reason that I can discern. And then Johnson was traded for Steve Staios, who is now a $2.7M healthy scratch and Kronwall is buggering off.

    In the meantime Stralman is a 24 year old PP quarterback for the Jackets.

  • Sworkhard

    Stralman was also a -17 last year, so as great a pp quarterback as he was, he wasn’t the kind of player the flames were looking for, esp considering they already had 3 offensive d-men that could play in their own zone a lot better than Stralman. It had nothing to do with the better player, but who they felt was the better fit.

    • Robert Cleave

      Anton Stralman was -17 because Steve Mason couldn’t stop a beach ball last season, full stop. More to the point, this repeated nonsense about who was the better fit drives me nuts. Anton Stralman could have spent all season on the third pair with Pardy, and I doubt he’d have been overmatched. If he’d been kept, maybe we wouldn’t have been subjected to repeated appearances by Robyn Regehr or Steve Staios on the second PP.

      Kent, Aaron Johnson was acquired because Sarich got hurt as soon as the season began, so they were looking for a better player than Kronwall to be the 6th D in the short term. Once Sarich was healthy, Kronwall was waived and sent to Abby.

      • Sworkhard

        Regardless of how bad Steve Mason was, that’s tied for worst on the team in +-. Now, part of that is understandable given he played a lot of PP time, but as your 7th guy (what he was on the flames), who doesn’t play every game, you tend to look more for a guy that can step in when needed and be decent in his own zone, not someone who can quarterback the PP when we had 3 defencemen who could legitimately (or so we thought at the time) do that for us as it was. The fact that Staois ended up being traded here had more to do with the flames second half struggles and the percieved lack (real or not) lack of leadership, than on Staois’ ability to be a game breaker. I’m pretty sure that regardless of Stralman being around, the flames would still have gone through the same struggles, and ultimately traded for ‘leadership’. I agree that in the ‘big’ picture it doesn’t make sense, but given the circumstances, the Stralman trade is hardly sutters worst blunder last year.

  • BobB

    Agreed, agreed. I’m late to the pardy…err party. But I think a lot of talk of Stralman vs Kronwall is looking at things only from one perspective. Which, quite possibly is the most important perspective but also maybe not.

    We’re talking about two defenders who are in the 6-9th position on the depth charts. Last year we had 3,4,5,6,7,28 and then that’s about where Stralman comes in.

    If there is one thing that I see from Sutter, is that he doesn’t care about what the fans think. Or likely he does, and he certainly doesn’t make moves based on that, BUT he also certainly cares what the players think.

    I believe mngmt when they say they were trying to find something for Kronwall. Why wouldn’t they? Dude had plunged to 9th or 10th on the depth charts and if we still had Stralman he could/would likely be only one skate in front of him.

    I think Sutter has in his mind a very strict list of depth, so much so that Staois and Sarich sit right now. What can the Flames do? They have built an army of serviceable defenders. And now with Brodie, who through two games looks like a third pairing buy to me, it’s even thicker.

    I say good, that Kronwall is gone back to Sweden, for him. Guy has a family, and his own life. Nobody had a need for him in the NHL.

    And good for Stralman that he’s playing in Columbus. It’s a matter of fact that a second/third pairing guy in Columbus is potentially a press-box sitter in Calgary.