If a rumour out of Sweden is to believed, the Stockton Heat will be losing a second regular defenseman next season. According to a report from Swedish reporter Johan Svensson (of Kvällsposten), Adam Ollas Mattsson may be joining the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish Hockey League.
— dagens-hockey.se (@trans_rumor) May 15, 2019
The full report can be read here, if you read Swedish. Here’s a quick translation of the important bits, via Google Translate:
According to sources at Kvällsposten, AHL back Adam Ollas Mattsson, previously in Djurgården, has been visiting Malmö today. – I have no comments on that, says sports manager Patrik Sylvegård.
Ollas Mattsson was the Flames’ sixth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. He played three seasons in Sweden after being drafted for Djurgardens IF – split between their SHL and junior teams – before joining the Stockton Heat late in the 2016-17 season.
Never signed by the Flames to an entry level deal, Ollas Mattsson played both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons on American Hockey League contracts. He was limited to 14 games due to injuries in his first season, but suited up 68 times this past season. He played 88 games with the Heat overall, but only amassed a combined 22 points.
It’s easy to get why Ollas Mattsson would prefer to head back home. He seemed to prove himself as good enough to play regular AHL minutes this past season, but the path to the NHL seems a bit murky. Even if the Flames don’t retain pending unrestricted free agent Oscar Fantenberg, the glut of bodies on the left side includes Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, Andrew Nielsen, Rinat Valiev and Josh Healey – and that assumes that the Flames don’t take a look at any graduating major junior defensemen as depth.
For a young man playing far away from home (who turns 23 before the 2019-20 season begins), heading back to his familiar stomping grounds and potentially playing a big role in Malmo seems more appealing than spinning his wheels in Stockton (or elsewhere in North American minor pro).