20Emilio Pettersen
Photo Credit: Brandon Anderson/USHL

FlamesNation prospect wrap-up: Emilio Pettersen

From Youtube sensation to NCAA sensation: a journey eight years in the making for Calgary Flames prospect Mathias Emilio Pettersen.

When we last checked in

Pettersen was drafted out of the USHL, where he put up decent but not astounding numbers. The 5’10 left-handed forward (he plays all three positions, was primarily RW for Denver) was a ho-hum producer for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Generally regarded for his high hockey IQ and slick moves, he never really showed them off enough to make a major impression, and slipped all the way into the Flames’ hands in the sixth round.

2018-19 story

Well, there’s not really any better way to begin your college career than with three points in your first game, followed up by three more in the next five, and topped off with a Rookie of the Month award, but that’s how Pettersen began his year.

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Pettersen was a first liner from game one and never looked back. He was trusted as an offensive weapon, running the set-up role on the first power play unit and on the extra attacker unit. Generally, coaches relied upon him for offence, and he usually delivered.

The impressive three point per game streak was never going to last long, few of them do. Pettersen cooled off in the weeks following, but still chipped in here and there for the Pioneers. The one negative would be that he started to disappear entirely towards the end of the season.

If none of that was impressive enough for you, Pettersen also helped lead the Norwegian WJC team to a Div-1A bronze medal, finishing with six points in four games.

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Numbers & Growth

League GP G A P Primary points 5v5 points 5v5 primary points NHLe
2018-19 NCAA (NCHC) 40 6 24 30 18 17 11 27
2017-18 USHL 60 14 32 46 29 21 15 17.6

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Pettersen’s early season dominance and later season mediocrity is pretty evident in the charts. He slowed down heavily towards the end of the year, only picking up six points in his final ten games, and 11 in the final 20 of the season. Even so, that being considered the low point for Pettersen is pretty impressive. His USHL NHLe implied that he might score 19 points in the NCAA, showing just how much of an offensive leap he took.

His impact on Denver’s offence can’t be understated. Pettersen was involved in 27.95% of all Denver goals, and on 23.55% of 5v5 goals, and finished second in team scoring, second in power play scoring, and third in 5v5 scoring. Expanding the scope to the NCAA, he finished fourth among all freshman, but second behind Joel Farabee (14th overall pick) in true freshman scoring.

There are still negatives to Pettersen’s game that haven’t really been resolved from his USHL days. He still picks up a lot more secondary points than you would like. When only considering primary points, Pettersen’s contribution % to Denver goals drops to 16.77% and 15.24% at all situations and 5v5, respectively.

What’s next?

Pettersen is headed back to college, hoping to replicate his success. He is losing linemate Jarid Lukosevicius, but he is gaining one in projected first rounder (and potential Flame) Bobby Brink. It’s going to be tough to meet the expectations this season set, but if he takes another large leap, it’s entirely feasible that he becomes one of the NCAA’s bonafide stars.

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If things go right, Pettersen could find himself in the pros by the end of next season. Signing next season would give him a three year ELC, which works out favourably for both sides. They don’t need to sign him for another three years, but if he has another great season, it does make sense to fast track him. The Flames could always ease him into the NHL in the bottom six, or let him develop in the AHL. Either way, there’s nothing but excitement for Pettersen.


Demetrios KoumontzisDmitry ZavgorodniyAdam RuzickaMilos RomanD’Artagnan Joly | Eetu TuulolaLinus Lindstrom | Filip Sveningsson | Pavel Karnukhov, Rushan Rafikov, Mitchell Mattson

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    I am in the Leason camp. Great size and improved his speed to a point that few thought were possible. I feel that when he starts intense hockey specific training at the pro level he will soar. I think he will be better in his be pros than he was in junior. I was worried that he may not make it to #26 but after an average Memorial Cup showing he likely Isa late first rounder.

  • Garry T

    OK. No more small guys. We need to do a deal with the Rangers for their 20
    And 28 slots. We want Samuel Poulin and Raphael Lavoise at 20 and 26 and hopefully Leasson at 28. We have then added, size, skill meanness and scoring. If we can get a big, quick center in the 2nd or 3rd. We do it. Brodie and Czarnik to NYR for those two picks.

      • Franko J

        @ freethe Flames
        Sorry to clarify what I was saying is:
        After the Flames drafted Adam Fox there were a number of teams interested in him. For the most part I remember Brian Burke mentioning in a post draft interview talking about for a third round pick like Fox he had never fielded so many calls from other team’s GMs asking about a player that he had just selected.
        With Pettersen I’m curious to know how much his name is mentioned when BT is fielding trade offers.

  • super6646

    Why the heck is Leason getting so much love here? He wasn’t even a projected 7th rounder last year, and plenty of 20 years old can come out of nowhere due to sheer size and physical domination and then end up as nothing. I’d rather take a chance on a skilled guy than get another Jankowski clone thanks…