2014 Development Camp: Adam Ollas Mattsson

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.

  • BurningSensation

    I liked this pick when the Flames made it. Seemingly modest upside, but he was in the conversation for the first round at the start of the year, and had comparable results to players who went much earlier than he did (such as Andreas Englund).

    • Jeff Lebowski

      Respectfully (and I hope the kid becomes a star for Flames), but why did he slip so far?

      I’m curious why teams/fans think it’s lucky to stop the free fall of a pick other teams steer clear of.

      Major injury? Won’t leave Sweden? What was the reason? If he’s first round talent, why 6th?

      Just curious.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Dunno, but in the 6th round it is a crap shoot, so at least he is something of a positive gamble compared to someone slated to be in the 6th round all along.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        Oh, don’t get me wrong–there are valid reasons why he slipped. Modest results, poor skating etc. The point is it’s nice to get a solid, relatively safe player in the 6th round, especially when the previous pick is a bit of a fence swinger (Brandon Hickey).

        And there were players (like the aforementioned Englund) who did not fall in spite of similar results, skillsets etc.

        • McRib

          Swedish players in the draft are a major crapshoot (even though it doesn’t get the hype like Russians) outside of legitimate Top 40 talent you never know where they will go. Guys projected in the second or third might not go at all and guys nobody has ever heard of (outside of one NHL team) can go in the third or fourth. Russians get all the hype because the top end talent is also a concern, whereas with Swedes the top guys know the NHL is going to pay better than the SHL, unlike the KHL mafia money. However, the SHL still pays a very respectable wage ($300,000-400,000+ USD for mid-top guys), which is something to consider when a two-way contract is only being offered by an NHL team (versus $60,000 for AHL).

          Most NHL teams actually tend to get scared off by legitimate mid-round talent (likely just above replacement level low-upside NHL guys) as they know they are a good bet to play in the Swedish Elite League (SHL). So teams instead take massive flyers on guys that have “upside” causing consensus late second or early third round “Safe Picks” like Ollas Mattsson to slip. I think most NHL Scouts look at Ollas Mattsson and think he is a very good bet to be a 6 or 7 NHL defender, but also ask the question “why wouldn’t he rather be a 2-3 defender in Sweden?”

          That said in the six round he is a fantastic value pick for the Flames and if he was a Canadian Ollas Mattsson would have certainly been a late second, early third round pick. If he can progress his game to the point of being a 4-5 NHL defender (35-% Chance) then he has great value to the Flames and the effort will be put forth to get him over here. If in the next couple of seasons after development he only projects as a 6-7 shutdown guy (55+% Chance) then things get murky (hence why he slipped). Lets face it though we can all agree Ollas Mattsson has a lot more talent than your average sixth rounder and like you said offsets Brandon Hickey. He was projected as a first rounder pre-season because scouts thought he had more offensive potential than he showed this year, I think the Flames are banking on the fact that he continues to develop that side of the ice as well, which is not a strech.

      • SmellOfVictory

        I believe there was a major tragedy in the family this year, from what I recall he hurt his foot prior to development riding his bike back from a cemmetary. If I was 17 and one of my parents(I believe this was the case) my game might fall off. Think of the time the Flames gave off for personal reasons this year.Hopefully one of our reporters can research this.

  • BurningSensation

    Lest we forget the immortal Tomas Forslund. Who, depending on your thoughts on Sergei Pryakhin and Jason Muzzatti, incidentally may still have been the Flames best pick in a bad 1988 draft (in an otherwise stellar decade of drafting for Fletch and his team).

    As for Mattson, I like what I’m hearing. A good late-round choice that hopefully pans out to be one of those Euro steals the Red Wings made famous. If he doesn’t, or becomes a journeyman player, no huge loss.

  • Ollas Mattsson is GIGANTIC, but he’s also young – he turned 18 this week – and one of the youngest guys in the draft. The Swedish development system doesn’t have a clear model like say, USA Hockey or Hockey Canada, though, so there may be concerns about how much he can progress in Europe. (His skating is admittedly the weak part of his game.)

    He probably is a tweener for Djurgardens and spends most of the year on loan to an Allsvenskan team. But he’s likely in the mix for the U20 team for the next couple of years, which itself could be huge for his development.

  • McRib

    Said it before, but I really like how during the last three or four drafts the Flames have mixed “safe picks” with “high upside” or “risky picks”. Anyone that thinks the strategy this past draft changed from those drafts under Feaster would be incorrect in my estimation.

    2014: Safe Picks (Bennett, Ollas-Mattsson, Carroll) Risky Picks (McDonald, Smith, Hickey).

    2013: Safe Picks (Monahan, Klimchuk, Roy, Rafikov, Gilmour) Risky Picks (Poirier, Kanzig, Harrison).

    2012: Safe Picks (Sieloff, Gillies, Kulak, Culkin) Risky Picks (Jankowski, Gordon, DeBlouw).

    2011: Safe Picks (Baertschi, Wotherspoon, Brossoit) Risky Picks (Granlund, Gaudreau).

    Following the Flames drafts very closely the past few years, every year has been almost identical since Sutter left. The Flames go above the perceived projected slot value on a few guys who they really like (or grab someone with a question-mark like size or skating). Then they catch a few prospects falling that were expected to go higher (or get a reliable safe pick right at slot).

    Most incompetent teams on draft day make the mistake of falling in love with every prospect overlooking draft day uncertainties, basically pre-selecting players beforehand. Whereas the Flames have done a great job of drafting on the fly, choosing what they feel is the best option when it presents itself on the day of as things unfold.

      • McRib

        Considering our AHL Team is bursting at the seams with young prospects capable of making the NHL someday fairly soon. Coupled with the fact that we got surefire Sam Bennett *knock on wood*, it allows us to swing for the fences. Not to mention as discussed we took Adam Ollas Mattsson to mitigate risk.

        How many future 3-4 line forwards or 5-7 defenders do we really need anyway? The brass clearly looked at what was available with those two second round picks and choose the two guys they felt had the most upside (with great character), rather than someone they were lukewarm on, that likely ends up as a Wotherspoon or Kulak anyway.

        I’ll admit that I like most on FN was hoping for a Roland McKeown, Jack Dougherty, or Jack Glover… But there has to be a reason all three of those guys slipped 20+ slots into the late second round or early third. Considering McKeown was projected to go around 25th, it means 19 teams passed on him before LA took him outside of us (Buffalo past 3x, currently one of the strongest drafting teams).

        Even if you disagree with the Flames drafting strategy, the main point I was trying to make is at least they have a strategy, unlike the years under Sutter and at least a dozen or so teams currently. Plus as History has taught us one hit on a risky pick could net our team a Johnny Gaudreau or Emile Poirier. Also lets compare Hunter Smith (6’7″ – 40 Points) to some players that went ahead of him Brendan Lemieux (6’0″ – 53 Points), Ryan MacInnis (6’4″ – 37 Points) or Nicolas Aube-Kubel (5’11” – 53 Points), I can tell you who I would want! He is an unknown commodity which makes him a “risky pick”, but so was a guy like Jamie Benn who got cut from Jr. A the year before he was drafted….

        • Thats where I am at for sure. I have heard way too many critiques about our late round picks….. five years ago no one even cared.

          Totally agree… it is easy to find 3rd and 4th lie players…. we are busting at the seems with guys who have a 3rd line ceiling.

          Isnt drafting well about acquiring high end talent?

          I thought that is what Feaster was trying to change in this org. Swing for the fences…draft guys with high ceilings…. that is why we have a Granlund and a Gaudreau.

  • MonsterPod

    I love how many of the posts have 1 trash, but then 7 props, 13 props, 6 props, etc.

    Who is the Coiler who logs in here to trash everything and then flee?

  • internuncial

    “I thought that is what Feaster was trying to change in this org. Swing for the fences…draft guys with high ceilings…. that is why we have a Granlund and a Gaudreau.”

    And a Jankowski. Not arguing, just saying.

    • internuncial

      There will always be misses with any strategy (assuming that Jankowski is, indeed, a miss). All the same, I’d rather miss on a high-potential pick like Jankowski than a “sure thing” like Greg Nemisz.

      • internuncial

        “There will always be misses with any strategy (assuming that Jankowski is, indeed, a miss). All the same, I’d rather miss on a high-potential pick like Jankowski than a “sure thing” like Greg Nemisz.”

        Nemisz was picked at #25, Jankowski at #22 (after trading down from #16 I believe?).

        You would rather miss on a mid first round pick than a late first round pick?

        You are going to have to dumb this down for me…….


        • internuncial

          Actually Jankowski was 21st traded down from 14th. And Nemisz was 25th traded down from 17th. How soon we forget that Darryl Sutter traded down with every first rounder he ever had.

          The trades down are irrelevant. There isn’t much difference between 21st and 25th and, as I said, I’d rather miss on a high-upside miss like Jankowski than a no-upside one like Nemisz. Remember, we’re talking about two “busts” here, ignoring the fact that it’s too soon to judge Jankowski (and also ignoring the fact that he’s already shown more progression than Nemisz ever did).

          “Safe” picks miss too. And when they do, the GM looks really stupid (instead of just impertinent and imprudent).

  • McRib

    Totally of topic but related to other posts; one of the questions asked by one of the FN world was how do we make up for Cammi, so I thought I would look at Flames stats from last year and give an opinion of what I think will happen this year.
    Who we lost up front:

    Cammi: 26/19/45
    Stemp: 8/15/23
    TJG: 4/13/17

    Who we added up front(excluding prospects)
    Raymond: 19/26/45(exact opposite of Cammi)
    Bollig: 7/7/14

    Now lets look at the rest of the roster and are there players who we will expect to rebound, regress or stay the same.

    Stay the same:
    Hudler: 17/37/54
    Stajan: 14/19/33

    Backs: 18/21/39 (I think he will be closer to 60 points)

    Monahan: 22/12/34 (I think he will be over 40 points this year.

    Glenx: 12/12/24 and will be closer to his 40 point season

    These three alone will likely pick up the slack. But I also expect Bouma, Byron and Colborne to produce more. (Bollig as well because of greater opportunity)

    DJones: 9/8/17 while I actually think he might rebound I also see him playing fewer games because of the prospects.

    McG: 4/4/8 I see him playing fewer games.

    On the back end I could see Gio having fewer points but still playing well(14/33/47) but his slack being picked up by TJB(4/27/31) and Wides who I believe will have a bounce back year(4/17/21).

    What do others think.

    • MC Hockey

      Agree on almost all points. But David Jones will play all or most games unless injured so should go up in points to about 20/17/37. Wideman will go quite a way up I think