Flames First Round Targets 2013: Robert Hagg

– pic via expressen.se


It’s been a couple of years since Tim Erixon slapped every Flames fan right square in the face by refusing to sign with the club, so hopefully those wounds have healed because Calgary’s pick at 22 seems to be lined up with a guy who could very well be Erixon 2.0. That is, without the betrayal, heartache and venomous hatred.

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His name is Robert Hagg and like Erixon, he’s a strapping young Swedish defensemen that seems to do everything right – no real visible weaknesses. Hopefully, unlike Erixon, if selected by Calgary, Hagg won’t break our hearts and end up in Columbus.

All Erixon jokes aside, the two bear a striking resemblance to each other on the ice and I’m sure – although unwilling to admit it – Flames faithful would love to have a guy like that in the system. The possibility of Hagg being available and 22 and Calgary taking him is very real, as a calm, responsible, puck moving defensemen is something the Flames definitely yearn for and Hagg fits the bill in every respect. Also, considering the 6th pick is almost a guarantee to be a forward, picking a defensemen with one or both of the later first rounder’s makes sense.

Scouting Reports

Hockey Prospectus’ Corey Pronman has Hagg ranked 21st and said this about him:

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Hagg is a really gifted defenseman who progressed as the season went on, going from the junior league to playing in the SEL although his performance was up and down throughout the campaign. Hagg has a real easiness to his game. He is a high-end skater, possessing an effortless stride and quick acceleration. He appears to glide when he is on the ice, with a high amount of offensive ability. He makes quality rushes, and he displays great puck movement in every zone. He is not a flashy puck handler, but he has good subtle hands, with the ability to make open ice maneuvers. He has a big shot from the point, and several NHL sources indicate that he frequently relies on that asset.

Scouts are divided on Hagg’s defensive play. One thinks it is his best asset, while another calls him a very well-rounded player, and yet others say his defense needs work. From my assessment, I do not think he is an exceptional defensive player. He is quality in his own end, but he does make the odd bad decision here and there. Still, there is a lot to like about Hagg. He has a great hockey brain, mobility, and solid physicality.

The phrase "great hockey brain" basically means "great Hockey IQ" which seems to instantly make the Flames scouting staff drool.

Future Considerations has Hagg ranked 24th and are very quick to point to Hagg’s skating as his lead attribute. It’s not necessarily his first steps or top speed but rather the fluidity of his skating that makes it so impressive. His ability to twist and turn out of traffic and elude opponents rather than blow by them.

Hagg’s offensive skills are somewhat under the radar, if you will. Nothing too spectacular, won’t get you out of your seat, but gets business done. While he sometimes shies away from the physical game, Hagg’s six foot two, 205 pound frame allows him to partake in it whenever he pleases. In fact, his lack of physical play at times has been cited by scouts as a chief weakness of his despite his decent size.


Hagg played in the SEL this season and his numbers are pretty easy to wrap your head around: 27 games, one assist. So let’s skip the fraction of an NHLE and look past the number(s). Hagg played in the SEL (which is actually officially called the SHL now) which is Sweden’s top men’s league and much like the NHL, rarely sees teenagers – let alone teenage defensemen –  play in it for extended periods of time. In fact, only two players ranked in the Top 60 of nearly any draft ranking I’ve seen other than Hagg played in the SEL this year (one being potential 6th overall pick Elias Lindholm).

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That said, Hagg wasn’t logging big minutes or anything, which explains his lack of output. His per game ice time was only about 7 minutes according to the SEL official website. The 18 year old also spent part of the season on MODO’s under-20 Superelit (aka, "junior" team) where he scored a much more respectable 11goals and 24 points in just 28 games. Expect Hagg to be much more central to the parent club’s rotation next season.

Hagg’s quick, puck moving game appears to fit the direction the Flames are taking like a glove. I assume that once the rebuild matures in a few years, this will be a fast club, whose strength lies in puck movement and transition. TJ Brodie is nice, but they need another true quarterback to distribute the puck efficiently and take the shot when necessary. Hagg fits the bill in every respect.


If you haven’t noticed, I like Hagg. A lot. He’d be an excellent pick up at 22; a brilliant one at 28. Not only would he instantly become Calgary‘s best prospect on the blueline (not including Brodie), but he would also probably be ready for NHL minutes in 2014/15. With any luck, Calgary ends up with a Top 3 pick in next years draft and is able to snag Aaron Ekblad and really solidify that young core of D (although Sam Reinhart would be the odds on favorite to be Calgary’s pick at that range).

The prospect pool needs work all around, but if the Flames do indeed keep all three 1st rounder’s, it’s important to capitalize on the opportunity to spread the addition of talent across the board. The sixth overall will almost certainly be forward – a center to be precise – so why not take a quality defensemen with one of the later picks?

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But enough of that. The bottom-line is Robert Hagg is exactly what Calgary needs right now and I pray that Jay Feaster and Co. see it the same way.

Flames first round targets

  • piscera.infada

    I would like this pick at 22 or 28. This kid’s a gem.

    On a different note, there are some absolutely horrible mock drafts out there. Just read one on Bleacherreport:

    6. Ristolainen
    22. Fucale
    28. Carrier

    Man, if this happened… I can’t even think about it, it’s so bad.

      • piscera.infada

        I don’t really see the point in taking a defenceman at #6 when Lindholm/Monahan/(possibly)Nickuskin is still there…

        It’s a shot at elite, or close to elite talent at forward. Which we have none of. If we can get Hagg, Morrissey, etc. with 22 or 28, what’s the point? We know Dmen are harder to project.

        • BurningSensation

          Understand your thinking, but I don’t see Lindholm or Monahan as elite. Nichuskin could be. Having a chance at a guy that could anchor the first pair for a decade is tough to pass on.

          • piscera.infada

            I’m not really arguing with you. I just have a really hard time projecting a Dman to be a surefire top pairing guy. I also think a forward is a much easier sell to the fanbase with that pick (right or wrong – I think it’s the truth). That’s the beauty of having 2 later first round picks in addition.

            I’m with you on Monahan/Lindholm, although I think they COULD be elite, or at the very least CLOSE to elite (which, even still, we have none of – outside Baertschi).

  • I’d be down for drafting some Swedes. Lindholm, Hagg, Burakovsly. Although Burakovsky won’t be around at 28, nor will Hagg. I read somewhere once that Hagg didn’t have the most positive attitude oral
    something like that, which is a yellow flag considering Flames brass put south emphasis on character. Again I have nothing to back this up with I can’t even remember where I read it or if the source was viable or not. I would love drafting Hagg at 28. I see Hagg going 23-27 range though. On another note Feaster said he had some interest in Lecavalier. I wouldn’t mind taking him, but no more than 4M$ for two years. It’s been rumoured that he is seeking a longer term deal. If that’s the case then 3M$ at three years. I would offer the same deal to Brad Richards too assuming he is bought out. Anything longer or more than 4M$ isn’t worth it for either of them. Thoughts?

    • I have stayed out of the Lecav talk so far, but in my eyes it doesn’t make much sense. At 33, he’s not going to get better and possibly much worse. He’s a fine offensive player currently, but only so-so in terms of overall play.

      Let’s put it this way – At 33, Lecavalier is kind of where Jarome was at the same age – can put up points, but won’t advance play, probably shouldn’t be deployed against top line competition and probably is going to begin to devolve rapidly.

      Aside from being a placeholder during the rebuild and being a name the brass can market, he’s not of much use to the Flames.

      • BurningSensation

        Wouldn’t the argument be that he would be the ‘bridge’ player to shelter the kids and take tough assignments? On a 3 year deal for reasonable money, he could definitely adequately fill that role for the team.

        That all said, why would he want to do that? He is much more likely to be looking for another cup run with a more stacked team IMO.

  • BurningSensation

    Talk on the panel indicated Lecalv is staying in the US & wont go to a Canadian team. Lots of teams are going to be going after him, Richards, Briere, they will get way more than what everyone would want to pay them here to role play for our young players. We left this rebuild go waaaaay tooo long. This one is going to be a long one. But after this draft, the healing starts & we will begin to acquire & own players that other teams will covet. Just wondering how we are going to get more than 1 1st rounder for next years draft.

  • Sure Vinny could be a “bridge” but at this stage in his career, why would he want to do that. He has made a piss load of money, and probably wants to win another cup. Sure, the Flames have interest, but he’s going to respectfully decline. Gonna go to a contender who could use a piece or two Detriot, Vancouver, Montreal, or Ducks are my guesses.

  • Fair points, I’m just saying if Feaster somehow signed him to a 2 year 8M$ deal or 3 year-9M$ deal.with an NTC I would be for it. I realized all along that Lecavalier probably wants to make a run at a cup, I’ve heard Montreal and Detroit’s names being tossed around. I’m not saying Feaster should throw everything at him to get him signed but if he came here on those terms, or Richards, I wouldn’t be against it.

    • BurningSensation

      Pretty much my thoughts as well.

      I like Vinny, and the Flames will have a need for actual NHL players who can cushion any youth we plug in.

      One of the failures in Edmonton was that the instant guys like Hall, Eberle and the Nuge arrived they didn’t have (and still don’t have) any decent vets to coddle the kids with..

      If we draft a big, skill pivot with #6 (say Monahan) is there a better guy to mentor and shelter the kid with than Lecavalier?

      So yeah, I think we should take a run at him, but No, I really don’t think he wants to come here.

  • God forbid the Flames would sign Lecavalier for 2-3 years @ $3-4M per. “We want the kids to develop, but we also want them to take up all the roster spots next season. Burn Jones and SOB, BURN THEM”.

    If the Flames took Fucale in the 1st round, I’d be completely done with Feaster as a GM. That’s about the stupidest thing they could do considering they already have 6 or 7 goalies in the system. 3rd or 4th rounder? No problem. Go for it.

    Hagg sounds interesting and I’d be down with him as our 22nd or 28th pick.

  • Derzie

    I have Hagg at 31 in my mock draft. I’ve been looking at past drafts and the sweethearts of the first round have a pretty high failure rate. So I’ve dumped out the Kool Aid and am going against popular opinion. My final mock draft has us picking Wennberg(6), Pulock (22) & Compher (28).

  • BurningSensation

    My dream board;

    #6 Barkov (he just has to slip two spots!!!!!!!), then Lindholm or Monahan

    #22 Shinkaruk (seems to be falling on a lot of boards lately)

    #28 Shea Theodore (slight reach from the low 30’s where most have him ranked)

    My nightmare board

    #6 Fucale (way, way, way too high)

    #22 Hartman (not convinced he’s better than a 4th line ‘functional facepuncher’)

    #28 Mueller (could be JBo lite, I worry he’s Dana Murzyn-lite)

  • Christian Roatis

    Hagg reminds me of Ohlund. Similar skillset, demeanor, etc. Good guy to have around. I’d take him at 22, no problem (of course, if Morrissey or Pulock is there, that makes it a pretty tough decision. Erne too).

    That assessment of his skating in the article sounds a lot like what I used to say about John Negrin (you know, before that knee injury threw a monkey wrench into his development)