Two teams at this year’s World Junior Championships will have Flames prospects to watch. Canada has Mason McDonald as a lock to make the team, while Brandon Hickey has a good shot (and an even better one now that one of his competitors for a spot, Jake Walman, has been injured).
Then, there’s Team Sweden. The Flames’ 2014 sixth round selection, Adam Ollas Mattsson, is one of eight defencemen named to Sweden’s preliminary defence – a group that does not include neither Rasmus Andersson, nor Oliver Kylington.
D Adam Ollas Mattsson
The Flames’ 2014 draft had a focus on big players, and that’s exactly what Ollas Mattsson is. He’s 6-foot-3, 216 lbs., and plays in the SHL. He’s not a scorer by any means – this season he has one goal and three points through 20 games for Djurgardens IF – but he’s a professional Swedish defender, and that’s what matters here, and to Team Sweden.
Ollas Mattsson is more of a shutdown defender; the biggest area he needs work on is his skating. However, he does play a stay-at-home style that favours his size. He may one day make the jump to North America – but in the meantime, getting the chance to add to his resume by playing for his country is a good next step.
No Andersson? No Kylington?
If I had to name Calgary Flames prospects with a good chance of making the NHL, I’d name Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington long before Adam Ollas Mattsson’s name would come to mind. That’s not a slight against the stay-at-home defender; it’s just how things look to project at this point in time. Although, to be fair to him, we haven’t exactly had much of a chance to see him in North America yet, so maybe he’s just playing particularly awesome hockey overseas.
The other defencemen named to Sweden’s preliminary team are Gustav Forsling, Sebastian Aho, William Lagesson, Andreas Englund, Jaob Larsson, Marcus Pettersson, and Gabriel Carlsson: all of whom, except for Lagesson, currently play in Sweden. (Lagesson plays for UMass-Amherst.)
In fact, there seem to be only seven Swedes on the preliminary roster who don’t play in Sweden, which may have worked against Andersson and Kylington. Andersson is in his second season playing for the Barrie Colts, but Dmytro Timashov, who plays for the Quebec Remparts, got an invite. Hakan Loob wanted Oliver Kylington out of Sweden, an environment he felt was not conducive to his development, so he’s playing for the Stockton Heat, but William Nylander and Adrian Kempe are both AHL players who are going.
Kylington was even a consideration for last year’s team when he was just 17 years old, but an injury held him out; he’s still eligible for next year’s squad, but Andersson is not.
Canada and Sweden both play in Group A. They’ll play their final round robin games against one another on Dec. 31.