The Flames have taken their first dip into the European free agency pool, signing German winger Yasin Ehliz and Swedish defenceman Marcus Hogstrom.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) June 11, 2018
Both contracts are one-year, two-way contracts, though the money differs. Ehliz will make $650K while Hogstrom will make just a bit more at $700K. This is due to their ages: Ehliz, 25, is on an ELC, whereas Hogstrom, 29, is on a SPC (standard player’s contract).
The Ehliz news has been expected, as German sources broke the news a few days ago. There’s more detail in the linked article, but to be brief, Ehliz is a winger who picked up 31 points in 46 DEL games, and also won silver at the most recent Olympics. His connection is through new Flames associate coach Geoff Ward, who was a coach in the DEL for a few years, and also an assistant with Team Germany at the World Championship.
Hogstrom is the surprise signing. The defenceman has been a leader for Djurgardens IF (team of former Flames prospect Adam Ollas Mattsson) of the SHL, leading the entire league in average time on ice. In his most recent season, he picked up three goals and 20 assists in 50 games. He’s a big (6’3, 203 lbs) lefty who is generally regarded for his IQ and offensive zone skills.
Both signings are likely to be AHL bound. Ehliz seems to have a bit more upside and could feasibly feature in the NHL squad at some point next year. Hogstrom’s a bit tougher to read. He could be a handy seventh defenceman or potentially a leader in the AHL, as Tyler Wotherspoon is likely on his way out.
Update: Henric Larsson, reporter for CMore (broadcaster for the SHL) has reached out to us with a few more details on Hogstrom:
“Högström clocked more ice time per game than any other player in SHL last year. He was brilliant during Djurgårdens playoff run and was easily one of the top five best defensemen in the league last year
“He’s a great two way defenseman. Rarely makes mistakes. He’s good offensively as well but not that consistent. He had a dry spell for about 20 games when he didn’t score a single goal.”
He also linked us to an article that describes Hogstrom’s departure as an “absolute nightmare.” It may not sound like a major move, but it appears the Flames have really done their homework on Hogstrom. Perhaps he could be a hidden gem.
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