— Adam Ollas Mattsson (@ollasmattsson) July 1, 2014
The Calgary Flames have had some great hits and some ugly misses when drafting Swedish players.
The hits are pretty obvious: 2007 first rounder Mikael Backlund and, awhile ago, Hakan friggin’ Loob. The misses? There have been quite a few since the 2004-05 lockout: Tim Erixon, and a slew of late-rounders like Per Jonsson, Alexander Deilert and Henrik Bjorklund. So while the Flames once again went to the Swedish well in the 2014 draft, grabbing the towering Adam Ollas Mattsson in the sixth round, you could understand why they hedged their bets a bit.
Ollas Mattsson didn’t participate in on-ice at development camp due to injury, but he was available to the media. He comes across amazingly well, particularly because he speaks better English than most of the media honks (this writer included). The youngest player in the Flames system by virtue of his July 1996 birthday, Ollas Mattsson impressed at the World Under-18s and even made his pro debut with Djurgardens as a 17-year-old.
I chatted with him a bit at development camp.
You played all over the place in 2013-14 (the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, the U-18s, the Swedish juniors and a few games in the pros). Do you have any goals for the next season in terms of international play or how you’re playing on your team?
Yeah, I’m hoping to make the Under-20 National Team this year, that’s a big goal for me, and also now I’ve signed with Djurgardens, the men’s team, so I’m trying to get a spot in the top six defensemen. Or else I will play in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second highest league, probably go there and play. My goal for this year is probably to make the Under-20 National Team and play in the best league in Sweden.
Do you have a timeline in mind for when you want to come over to North America to play?
I’ve been thinking about it. I want to come over, but I think I’m going to do one more year now in Sweden, get as as good as I can be, then probably come over here and try, I don’t know if it’s AHL, NHL, but try to play the Canadian style of hockey. One or two years and I’ll come over, I think.
You weren’t chosen in the CHL Import Draft. Is that a blessing in disguise because you get to play against grown men in Sweden now?
I said actually no to the CHL Draft because I was signed with Djurgardens. I want to play with big guys, with the men’s team; bigger, stronger, faster. I want to play with big guys next year.