In an unexpected bit of news, the Flames announced this morning that they have signed Swedish defender Carl-Johan Lerby to a two year entry level contract.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 7, 2019
Lerby is a 21 year old, LHD playing for the Malmo Redhawks in the Swedish Hockey League. He finished this previous season with five goals and 16 assists in 47 games, good for 16th among all SHL defenders, albeit Lerby is younger than all but one of the players ahead of him. The 5’11 defender broke through in the SHLthis past season after spending a few years yo-yoing between the various Swedish leagues, leading Malmo’s defencemen in scoring. He also picked up seven points in 10 Champion’s Hockey League games.
The link to Lerby may have come from the Flames’ own breakout rookie, Rasmus Andersson. The two were both members of the Malmo organization as youths, playing together on one of their U16 teams, and Andersson’s father is the coach of Malmo.
The Flames’ press release notes that Lerby will stay with Malmo for the 2019-20 season and join the Flames organization for 2020-21.
This the Flames’ second confirmed signing from Europe this offseason, the first being Russian goalie Artyom Zagidulin. Russian defenceman Alexander Yelesin has also been confirmed to be signing with the Flames, although it has not been made official yet. They’ve also been linked to SHL forward Joakim Nygard.