The Calgary Flames have gone through phases when it comes to their late round picks. If you look at their seventh round selections, you can see the organization’s approach become more refined. The 2014 draft saw them take overage checker Austin Carroll, 2015 saw them take young and lanky Riley Bruce, and 2016 saw them take gigantic Belarussian overager Stepan Falkovsky.
But at the 2017 draft in Chicago the Flames opted for Swedish forward Filip Sveningsson, one of the youngest players in the draft class but one with a decent offensive track record. So far, Sveningsson’s performance has made his selection seem like a smart gamble. He comes in at #17 in our 2018 top 20 prospect rankings.
How did we get here?
Originally from Gislaved, Sweden – a small town in southern Sweden, about midway between Stockholm and Jonkoping – Sveningsson played his way through local minor hockey in his hometown before moving onto the HV71 organization in 2014-15.
If you look at Sveningsson’s long-term trajectory, you can see why the Flames were so enthusiastic about his selection:
- In his 13-year-old year, he had 3.2 points per game in Sweden’s U16 second division and 1.7 per game in their U16 first division.
- In his 14-year-old year, he had 1.7 points per game in the U16 first division and 0.6 per game in their U20 first division.
- In his 15-year-old year, he had 1.9 points per game in the U16 elite division and 0.30 per game in their U18 first division.
- In his 16-year-old year, he had 1.0 points per game in the U18 first division and 1.9 per game in the U18 elite division.
- In his 17-year-old year (his draft year), he had 0.8 points per game in the U20 elite division.
- In his 18-year-old year, he had 1.1 points per game in the U20 elite division.
Sveningsson was drafted by the Flames 202nd overall in the 2017 NHL Draft in his first year of draft eligiblity. In the run up to the event, he was the 65th-ranked European skater by Central Scouting.
He’s consistently been playing against high-end players who are two or three years older than himself, and has consistently found ways to adapt to changing situations and figure out how to increase his offensive production. For the past two seasons he’s been a primary offensive contributor for HV71’s junior squad.
Stats, numbers, and everything therein
Sveningsson spent the bulk of the season with HV71’s junior branch in the Swedish SuperElit U20 league.
He finished the season tied for 23rd in SuperElit scoring. He also played 11 games in the SHL, going pointless in a fourth line role.
For a deeper dive into Sveningsson’s numbers, revisit Christian Tiberi’s writeup on him here.
Those in the know
Prior to last month’s development camp, Sveningsson was one of the players that Flames management were excited to see on the ice, as evidenced by radio interviews conducted by Craig Conroy and Brad Treliving. While Sveningsson did look quite energetic during the on-ice sessions, we picked the brains of a few folks more familiar with him to get a sense of his game.
Future Considerations Sweden scout Christoffer Hedlund was able to provide his assessment of Sveningsson’s performance last season:
Sveningsson developed well during the season, he went from a being good junior player to one of the best players in J20 SuperElit. With his quick and deadly shot, offensive instincts, great top speed and high work rate Sveningsson has been able to dominate games in J20 SuperElit, and he has nothing left to prove against junior players in Sweden. For the next season he has signed with IK Oskarshamn in HockeyAllsvenskan (second tier in Sweden), hopefully he can transition from being a leading junior player to become an impact player in a men’s league. The route through HockeyAllsvenskan is not a bad option and for a young offensively skilled forward, it is sometimes better to get a more fitting role and more ice time in HockeyAllsvenskan instead of having a role as a filler player in the SHL.
Flames director of development Ray Edwards noted a few reasons why the club is excited to see how Sveningsson keeps developing.
What we like about him is he brings a full combination of skill, speed and some jam. This guy has a high motor. Like a lot of young players there’s some inconsistency to it, but he’s a really nice package. When you get a combination of skill, speed, grit, sort of fire in his belly, when you get that combination that’s something to work with.
On the horizon
As Hedlund mentioned, Sveningsson will graduate from the Swedish SuperElit junior league to the secondary pro league (HockeyAllsvenskan) and spend the 2018-19 season with IK Oscarshamn. As a 1999 birthday, he’s still eligible to potentially play for Sweden at the World Juniors.
He’s signed for two seasons (through 2019-20) and the Flames retain his NHL rights for three more seasons, so there’s some flexibility in terms of how the club can handle his development. If he lights up the secondary Swedish league, maybe they look at bringing him over to North America next season or even just exploring a move to the SHL so he can continue to be challenged.
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