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FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects: #19 Adam Ollas Mattsson

Late round draft picks are often big gambles and long shots. Over the past few years, the Calgary Flames have attempted to make more calculated gambles with their sixth and seventh round picks – often opting for small, offensively talented players or overage prospects who are closer to their developmental ceilings than their younger counterparts (but are themselves more developed).

One of the more interesting late round projects the Flames have taken on in recent years is our 19th-ranked prospect on this year’s rankings, defenseman Adam Ollas Mattsson.

A brief history

Ollas Mattsson was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft, Brad Treliving’s first as general manger – overager Austin Carroll was the seventh round pick that year, and in the following drafts Treliving opted for more proven offensive firepower in the forms of Andrew Mangiapane (2015), Matthew Phillips (2016) and D’Artagnan Joly (2017). At the time, the Flames scouting department raved about his character and leadership, both in terms of his on-ice performances for Sweden’s national under-18 team, but also in terms of some family tribulations.

From Kristen Odland’s piece on Ollas Mattsson after his selection in 2014:

Two years ago, Ollas-Mattsson’s mother lost a three-year battle with liver cancer which had been her second encounter with the disease, beating breast cancer when Ollas-Mattsson was born in 1996.

“She passed away when I was at a hockey tournament,” said the big left-handed defenceman who turns 18 on July 30. “But (experiences like that) make you tougher. It makes you stronger as a person, dealing with all of those emotions and stuff. I think it’s made me who I am today. I think I’m a lot more mature than guys my age.”

After his mother died, it was up to him to help his father Jorgen take care of his younger brothers 13-year-old Isac and six-year-old Joel who was born 10 weeks premature and is in a wheelchair.

For such a young man (he turned 21 in July), Ollas Mattsson has played a lot of pro hockey – particularly when you take into account that he missed a chunk of a prior season due to an injury suffered at the World Juniors. He played six games in Allsvenskan during his draft year, then amassed 108 SHL games for Djurgardens over the past two seasons.

In his wrap-up piece on Ollas Mattsson’s SHL season back in March, Christian Tiberi had a point about Ollas Mattsson’s production:

Points were hard to come by for the young defender, as was ice time. Ollas Mattsson, on average, played the least out of any regular Djurgardens defender. I imagine the SHL has similar development dynamics to the NHL; you aren’t just going to throw your young defenders into the fire. But if you aren’t much besides a third pairing guy in an inferior league at age 20, your chances at the NHL are slim.

If you look at Ollas Mattsson’s career trajectory, dating back to even his years in Sweden’s U18 and U20 leagues – and the Swedish national team – he’s almost always used in a complementary, defensive role and his offensive numbers are never there. The highest points-per-game he’s generated as a regular in a major league is 0.31 in junior. It’d be helpful to his long-term employment prospects in the big leagues if he can generate more offense, but at the very least he’s been consistent in being an effective defensive presence in his career thus far.

Quotable

Malmo, Sweden-based The Hockey Writers correspondent David Carlsson provided his assessment of Ollas Mattsson’s play in the SHL.

He’s a pure defensive defenseman, with the old traditional style of play; he plays simple and reliable, rarely joins the attack on turnarounds and always uses big margins in his passing game. Very mature for his young age, both physically and mentally. He’s not very quick, but still, he can look comfortable when facing speedy opponents. Kind of similar to the Blue Jackets prospect Gabriel Carlsson in his game, but with less offensive upside. I think his game will benefit from the small rink in North America, where he’ll get to use his great reach even more. Is there NHL potential? Yes, give him a couple of years. He still needs to develop his game, and it wouldn’t hurt him to get more offensively involved.

Henrik Skoglund, of Sweden’s Hockey Sverige news site, praised Ollas Mattsson’s maturity when examining his fledgling pro career.

Adam Ollas Mattsson is a large defenceman who has his strength in the defensive play. With his tall and big body he has a good reach with his stick and he can often solve problems in that way. He is not shy to play a physical game and is good in the positional play and shows no hesitation to block shots. He could improve his offensive game and his skating. His footwork has developed to be better over the years, though he has more to work on in that area. Has been criticized for his, sometimes, lack of concentration over a whole game and can sometimes make bad decisions due to that.

What comes next?

Barely 21 years old, Ollas Mattsson will play in the American Hockey League in 2017 on an AHL deal – though it’s possible that he could end up in Kansas City of the ECHL to get more playing time. The Flames hold his North American rights until June 1, 2018, so the next season is essentially an audition for him.

There’s a strong possibility that one (or both) of Juuso Valimaki or Adam Fox enters the pro system in 2018-19, so Ollas Mattsson effectively just has one season to show his wares and make an argument that the Flames need to keep him around beyond June 1. His playing style is in no way showy, but the best hope for Ollas Mattsson is that he develops a niche as a shutdown defender and forces himself into Calgary’s plans.

Previously

#20 – Ryan Lomberg

    • Thunder1

      random sean monahan god fact… But it’s not just hockey Monahan excels at. He is an elite-level lacrosse player, a sport he gave up when he joined the 67’s three seasons ago. Still, in down times and post-workouts he often takes out his lacrosse stick and throws the ball around as an outlet.

      I know of more than a few HOFers who can make the same claim.

      • Thunder1

        god fact #2… how to spell it!

        The two go all the way back to major peewee, and Gustavsen remembers Monahan arriving at Rebels tryouts, having been cut by the North York Rangers.

        “Knowing Moni now, he didn’t even care that he’d just been cut,” said Gustavsen. “All he wanted was to just play hockey.

  • Puckhead

    Ryan, can someone explain how Mattson slotted in ahead of Lomberg? From my standpoint, Mattson is more of an unknown and I can’t see many people ranking him ahead of Lomberg at this point. He’s going to be pretty low on the defensive depth chart and, as you say, could be ECHL bound.

    Thx

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Not sure I have the answer but I’m wondering if it is the fact Lomberg was born in 1994 and Mattson in 1996? Lomberg is more fully developed and we know more what we have. Mattson is still more of a “prospect” in the truer sense of the word – and there are more unknowns and “upside” taken into consideration. Just one possibility.

    • T&A4Flames

      Who cares where he ranks accordingly our other D prospects. This is an overall prospect ranking. It just shows the strength and depth of our D prospects.
      He has attributes that few (if any) of our other D prospects have and I could see him making a case for that #6/7 spot on he big club this year. We need to keep adding guys with strength and physicality to our D core.

      • Squishin

        There’s no way he’ll be making a push to join the Flames this year; he’s miles behind Kulak. That said, I am very interested to see what happens with Ollas Mattson in three years or so. He’s still very young!

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          I tend to agree, but only because he has very little time in North America. Kulak and AOM are two different types of D-men. I would like to see Healey come up for a few games, just to see him “blow up” an unsuspecting Oiler. Obviously it couldn’t be against McDavid, since the league would suspend the entire team for that.

    • All hail King Connor!

      Bennett! He can play in the NHL but as a second line ringer at best. More likely a third line player. His 26 points last season is ten less than the year before. I didn’t think he would be worse.

      • Carl the tooth

        That depends his offence went down but bennets defence is actually really good at 20 . He has all the tools and twice the heart of any player on Edmonton .bennet is a guarantee. He could potentially surpass monahan one day as the no.1 centre. Once he gains some traction this kids got selke and future captain written all over him he’s on the 3 Rd line and played mostly with Brouwer let’s see how many points mcdavid racks up on 3 Rd line minutes with Brouwer . I’d watch for bennet and ferlund,brodie to have good years .

  • Flames fan since 83

    Question:
    What is the criteria of the ranking??
    Is it ceiling? Is it immideate furture?

    Many have Jankowski as #1. And Fox/Valimaki/Parsons behind.
    Is not the ceiling higher for the later three?

    Or are we ranking by how quickly they will be playing in the NHL. Which then makes more sense to have Jankowski higher.

    Appologies if this was mentioned somewhere.
    Cheers..

    • BurningSensation

      That is a good question

      I have Jankowski rated at #1 on my list, but see his ceiling as that of a #2 C at best. However, his progress so far has him as a virtual lock to be a contributing NHL player down the road.

      In Fox’s case there is a lot more boom-bust to consider. Is he a top pairing offensive star (Rafalski, Housley)? Or an undersized PP specialist (MA Bergeron)? Or too iffy in his own zone to make the league at all? (The answer is: he is Housley 2.0, and is going to be an all-star)

      Valimaki may not have the offensive ceiling that Fox does, but he’s also much close to the prototype NHL defender, and can make a mark even if he isn’t as dynamic.

      Parsons, like all goaltenders, is pure voodoo.

      So it may well matter what you favour, high risk/reward? Position? Safe projections forward? Handedness? Value in trade? All could be factors.

      • Flames fan since 83

        I’m going to try to put my top 10 together. (I am not confident I have enough knowledge for a top 20)
        Here is my criteria: Imagine there is another expansion draft, and you can only protect one calder eligible prospect. The player you protect will be your #1 prospect. Then repeat this process 9 more times excluding the players you “just pulled out”. This will give me my top 10.
        Here we go:
        1. Parsons
        2. Fox
        3. Anderson
        4. Valimaki
        5. Jankowski
        6. Kylington
        7. Gillies
        8. Foo
        9. Rittich
        10 Mangipanie

    • Carl the tooth

      Yes I was also wondering the same I went by potential and potential value by position. I also think jankowski has potential as a secoline centre he will only get bigger if flames are gonna be a possession team we need smart transition players that can make plays under pressure and protect the puck .jankowski has all of these he’s a poor mans joe Thornton right now (or joe neiwyndyk) him and tkachuk would be a huge pain for teams down low add ferlund or lazar on the rw . There’s big potential. Dube . Flames are sneaky deep just exploding all at the same time like 🔥 fireworks 💥

      • Carl the tooth

        Otherwise I’d have jank no.1 and kulak .2 Anderson 3 etc gillies maybe 4 . But I think kulak is definitely in NHL and pretty much I think jankowski too he shouldn’t be on the list as far as that goes but my list was on potential .kulak played 30nhl games so I excluded him from list . .anyone I didn’t think has a shot of makin NHL or were 24 or older I excluded . Or players with over 20 games NHL experience

      • Flames fan since 83

        I think it would be terrific if Jankowski were to end up beating out Backlund for number 2. IMO, thats a tough player to beat out, and I have my doubts. Maybe on a team that wasn’t so deep up the middle, Jankowski plays second line center.

    • Ari Yanover

      I wouldn’t say there’s any real criteria. It’s just seven of us assembled our own top 20 list, and then they got merged into one. I don’t know the thought processes behind any of the other six’s rankings. I know I used a mixture of potential and readiness for mine, leaning more towards potential and using readiness as a tiebreaker.

      • Flames fan since 83

        ok, thanks for the response. And I see your rationale.
        I guess I use the players value specific to the Calgary Flames (my opinion). example: Foo being a right wing increases his value to the Flames, but maybe not the rest of the league. Hence once I protected Parsons at goal, Gillies slides down. So again, Calgary specific needs.

  • Sound_Defence

    Won’t ever play for the Flames, too congested in the back end. Time for Tre to start packaging up a couple of the D prospects and a goalie prospect to recoup some picks or for a RW who can play now. Throw in TB for obvious reasons. No time to sit on your hands. Get on it Bradley.

  • PrairieStew

    Size and reach. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to the NA game; he might move up the rankings if he has a solid year. The one year , one way is ideal – should be able to tell whether he has potential before they forfeit his rights.

  • madjam

    My list is short as about only 3 stand much of a chance of having much time on main club this year . NBR.1 – 80% chance the speedy feisty Spencer Foo makes team first crack .That is why he signed on with Flames in the first place , as Oilers had him destined for AHL . He should be basically on much same level as Cagguila was for Oilers last season . NBR.2 Jankowski 50% – should get at least a cup of coffee cameo . NBR.3 – Adam Fox 30% chance . The rest little to no chance .

    • Puckhead

      Fox is attending University. He could get a game or two in Stockton when his school year is done.

      Janko 100%

      Foo might have been promised some NHL games to prove himself. I guess we’ll see.

        • Engine905

          Doesn’t sound like Fox will be playing with the Flames anyway. Didn’t any of you watch the Canada USA game yesterday from Michigan? Announcers mentioned it would be unlikely for him to sign with Calgary and that they are already reaching out to the Islanders since he wants to stay out east. Could be wrong, but that’s what it sounded like.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            Yesterday? Must have been another Fox since they last played on Saturday. I guess the announcers don’t know anything about tampering rules. Sounds like you reporting some fake news. At least do it on Twitter to see if you can drum up some tweets.

          • piscera.infada

            I want to make it clear at the outset that I am not giving any credence to the “Fox won’t sign in Calgary” thing, for reasons I’ve stated ad nausea over the past two months (and prior, going back to Gaudreau). I will however, point out that it was highly publicized that part of the Islanders’ original ask for Hamonic was Fox, and the Flames (almost to their detriment) refused to give up the player. That seems to me as though the Flames have absolutely no indication that Fox is intending to forgo signing with the team that drafted him.

          • Engine905

            I worked all weekend and watched the game on TSN 184ish yesterday after I got home. Not reporting false news, not really my style. Was thinking “Wow, this Fox kid is impressive”, a couple later I’m pretty sure the announcer made that comment. First thought was that sucks! Thought I’d check here to see if anyone caught that or did I misinterpret what was said. Don’t post often, usually lurk and try not take anything here too seriously. Flames forever!!!

    • TheoForever

      What do you care. Fox who is going back to school so chance is 0%. He is not even our best d prospect.
      Kulak will be making his case 80%, same goes with Spoon 65%, Andersson 40% as he is still young.
      Jankowski 80% chance, he is a better prospect in every respect than Foo and it isn’t close, Foo has to earn it and since he is basically Cagguila it is a 50/50 chance.

    • TheoForever

      BTW. My list of oiler prospects sticking with the big club: Pulju (50/50) and it ends there…… Nobody, else is close to ready, unless you want to count Khaira who isn’t good at hockey.

      • madjam

        If Foo equally as good as Cagguila he easily makes Flames forward squad . Benning ( NCAA) and Drake (NCAA) were big factors in Oilers turnaround depth wise last season . Your take on Oilers prospects show me your dire lack of hockey knowledge of other clubs . The only thing you seem to be good at is trolling others statements .

        • Puckhead

          I don’t know how to take it when you compare Foo to Cagguila – is It insulting or flattering. Obviously, Cagguilla was put into a new position (centreman) so he was learning along the way last season. He is not a big guy but plays a physical game. However, I don’t believe he scored many even strength goals and was also held off the scoresheet during the playoffs. I didn’t follow him to closely but my guess is that his ceiling might be as a 3rd liner? I really hope Foo has a highly ceiling.

          • madjam

            Actually Drake was praised for being as good as he was in playoffs by media , fans and coaches – he had 3 goals in the playoffs and about 24 minutes in penalties . How much better he might be this year hard to guage just yet , but doubtful he regresses at all .

          • TheoForever

            Puckead, don’t you know that to coilers everything they got has unlimited potential and is the best, they have no weaknesses, there is no such thing as regression. Now, in case of Cagguila, I would expect him to be better, he didn’t set the world a fire.

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            Caligula seems average, I seem to remember his game and points picked up playing with McD… Go figure. I would be disappointed if Foo’s ceiling wasn’t higher than this.

          • Puckhead

            Theo, I know but I am hoping that Foo is legit and ultimately falls on lines 1 or 2. I have no idea what to expect from him at this point but it’s nice to dream about his potential.

          • TheoForever

            If Foo works out that would be great, he did have a breakthrough season in somewhat the weaker division. I just wouldn’t compare him to Jankowski at this point. Foo will most likely need a year in AHL and then we will see what we got, right now we are just guessing either way.
            I sure hope he ends up being better than calligula because we don’t need another 4th liner.

  • bobbymac24

    Just for fun let’s compare some 22 YO players and their stats from the AHL. Can you guess who they are and how far they went in the NHL?

    1) 64 GP 27 G 29 A 56 P
    2) 70 GP 14 G 34 A 48 P
    3) 46 GP 18 G 34 A 42 P

    • bobbymac24

      1) Jankowski
      2) Jesse Joensuu
      3) Anton Lander

      Point of the exercise is to temper expectations based on AHL play. The flames might have some decent prospects but some guys excel in the A but flop out in the NHL. Jankowski was a reach when they drafted him so high and if he gets higher than a tweener I would be shocked.

      • TheoForever

        He was projected to go in second round, around 40th pick, and to take 5 years to make it to NHL, so not that big of a reach. If AHL is not great projector, then is the junior or college hockey? The truth is that most players go to AHL and it doesn’t mean a crappy career. Most prospects don’t make it to NHL period, well unless they are oiler prospects then there is no limit until they bolt to KHL.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Yup but you need to look beyond the numbers. Janko finished as runner up for rookie of the year, made the Allstar game, and was selected to the All rookie team. He became the offensive leader but also was the primary defensive forward on the team. On a young team that lacked star power he did it all without any lapses that most of his teammates experienced. It is no longer a question of “if” rather “when”.

        Time to jump on the train….the sests are filling up.

        • TheoForever

          He has always been solid defensively it is his biggest asset. The scoring took a while but in his final year at college it came along nicely and continued in AHL. It will be cool to see him get a shot at NHL, worst case scenario we are going to have a defensive 3C, that excels at penalty kill. However, his playmaking ability, coupled with good skating (not just for a big guy) should propel him higher the depth chart.

          • TheoForever

            We know the list of your failed players, that’s where NHL hopes of young players came to die during the historical decade of suck. Lookout now, the ping pong ball kings are coming out.
            You should worry about Pulju, because he is busting out so far.

          • TheoForever

            There is like 34 comments on coiler prospects, probably because there is nothing to talk about.
            Nothing but a wasteland, bunch of C prospects, incredible that your prospect pool is one of the worst in NHL, considering all the high picks due to ineptitude, stupidity and intentional tanking.

      • Carl the tooth

        It’s not just the points that jankowski put up it’s the way he did it and how he carried the team into the playoffs as the no.1 centre in his rookie year . He played in all situations.pp.pk etc . He has the potential to be a secondline centre one day . You have obviously not watched him play . He’s another reason flames could trade away some picks .

  • Puckhead

    I had some free time with nothing better to do and while checking out Canucks Army I think I found WW’s long lost brother submitting the first post (sound familiar) about an article covering the recent WJHC’s:

    ”Pettersson just wasn’t able to consistently get space to create offence.”

    There it is in a nutshell. This kid is gonna fold like a lawn chair in the wind in the heavyweight Pacific. The Cali and AB teams are lickin their lips like a butchers dog.

    Why try to polish these t*rds Ryan, tell it like it is, all these players are simply not going to make a difference – it’s a Canucks tradition to bust at the draft, trouble is, Benning isn’t winning on the ice for us either four years in.