The draft is commonly characterized as a crapshoot, which is occasionally accurate but pretty far from the truth. Sure, no pick is ever guaranteed to repeat their junior success, and there are many who have either flamed out or blossomed late, but there are certainly philosophies and tools to help teams get more out of their late round, low value picks.
The Flames have taken somewhat of an approach to maximize pick value under Brad Treliving, having picked up Andrew Mangiapane, Eetu Tuulola, Matthew Phillips, Adam Ruzicka, and D’Artagnan Joly with picks outside the top 100.
The approach is not always consistent and every prospect is unique, but the best way to describe the approach is that the Flames target players with production and some strong hockey tools, but are mostly overlooked due to a few cosmetic flaws. Mangiapane was one of the OHL’s most productive players, but was a bit on the short side and had a bad draft year. Phillips is extremely short. Ruzicka didn’t have great production in a struggle-filled rookie North America year. Tuulola was quietly productive in a far away league. You get the point.
And that approach is particularly useful in the seventh round of the draft, the lowest value and crapshootiest round of them all. In the most recent draft, the Flames picked Filip Sveningsson, a speedy, skilled winger who has yet to break out in Sweden’s pro leagues, despite possessing one hell of a shot.
— Anton Johansson (@antonj85) October 8, 2017
Let’s find out what he’s all about.
Sveningsson’s history is pretty much standard fare for a European prospect. Played for his hometown Gislaved SK team, then moved onto HV71 when he got old enough. He was occasionally too good for his age-level leagues, punched above his weight in higher level leagues, saw a few international games, and eventually worked his way up to pro leagues.
2017-18 was an interesting year for Sveningsson. There’s not a whole lot of coverage readily available on what’s happening in the Superelit (Sweden’s U20 pro league), but he had a pretty strong season for HV71. As one of their more senior players, Sveningsson led the club in points per game. His strong appearances earned him some time with the senior club, where he played in three games and sat out for eight (Sweden counts healthy scratches as games played. No clue why).
|GP||G||A||P||Primary points||5v5 points||5v5 primary points||NHLe|
Sveningsson was one of the primary drivers of offence on HV71’s Superelit team, only picking up nine secondary points throughout the year. His strength relative to his teammates is quite pronounced, leading his team in points per game and shots per game. He saw a lot of time on the powerplay, again coming away with a team-leading five powerplay goals. He also contributed to the team in shorthanded situations (one goal), on a penalty shot (one goal), and in the shootout (Sweden counts the game-winning shootout goal as a goal among the stats. Don’t ask me why). He’s kind of a jack of all trades.
Of course, all this is good. Sveningsson is quite clearly too good for the league he plays in, and should crack the pros next year, but it comes with its caveats. He’s an 18-year-old playing in a league where 18-year-olds generally thrive. Among U19 players in the Superelit, he was sixth in PPG scoring. No slouch, but also not entirely the clear-cut best among his peers. If he’s ever going to come overseas, he’s probably going to have to hit another level.
It’s hard from the limited info we have on Sveningsson to make an accurate projection. His stats are really good and his highlights require repeated viewings, but they’re all from Superelit play, a league that has rarely turned out NHLers.
Hopefully he cracks HV71’s roster next year and we can get a better idea of what he is. The kid seems to have his foot in the door but how far is a question that won’t be answered until next September. From there, hopefully he can be a regular producer for HV71’s big club. More of this would be quite something:
— SHL Prospect GIFS (@SHLProspectGIFS) September 27, 2017
In addition to big time Swedish hockey, he is still eligible for the World Juniors next year. I’m interested in seeing if he makes it and what he can do there.
Basically, we still have a lot to learn about Sveningsson. Let’s see how he can do next year in tougher situations and evaluate from there. Until then, lots of promise.