34Simon Holmstrom
Photo Credit: Simon Holmstrom (Stefan Lantz / BILDBYRÅN)

Flames 2019 First Round Targets: Simon Holmström

Given the success of many of that country’s players within the organization, it probably wouldn’t surprise anybody if the Calgary Flames drafted some Swedish players at the 2019 NHL Draft. While injuries have limited HV71’s Simon Holmström in the last season or two, he’s a pretty impressive prospect.

Scouting report

Originally from Tranas, in southern Sweden, Holmström put up impressive numbers in his teens and was a highly-touted prospect as of a couple seasons ago. A left shot winger that prefers the right side, he just hit a wall due to injuries and wasn’t able to amass a sample size large enough to really impress scouts.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

When he was healthy, though, he was pretty damn good.

Dobber Prospects’ Jokke Nevalainen broke down Holmström’s game over the past season or two:

A year ago, Holmström was seen as a high first-rounder after a great season in the SuperElit as a 16-year-old. But this season has been very difficult for him because he’s had multiple injuries and hasn’t been able to play much because of them. He had a hip surgery in the summer leading up to his draft season, broke his thumb in the first half of the season, and then suffered a concussion in the second half. It’s very unfortunate he’s missed so much time due to injuries during these crucial development years. Holmström is an excellent playmaker from the wing. He has very good vision, and he can make crisp passes. He also has a great shot which makes him a dual-threat. He’s a very talented skater who combines speed with agility. Holmström could be a faller in the NHL Entry Draft because of the injury concerns. But if he’s still available in the second round, his upside is definitely worth a selection there.

Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet was the only major ranking compiler to have Holmström in the first round. He pointed to the Swede’s performance at the Under-18 World Championship as a difference-maker:

Somewhat like Turcotte in that he needed to put injuries behind him before proving just how good he is. Scored six points in seven games at the U18s.

When he’s at the top of his game, as Nevalainen detailed, Holmström is a good skater and a strong offensive player who can distribute the puck or finish plays on his own. But the big challenge for NHL clubs is trying to estimate whether his injury troubles are endemic in him… or if they have lowered his developmental ceiling.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The numbers

Holmström’s offensive numbers are a good news, bad news proposition. The good news is that he was a point per game player over two seasons in SuperElit, Sweden’s junior league, during seasons where he was just 16 and 17 years of age. The bad news is he was limited to 49 games combined over those two seasons, missing roughly half of the league’s scheduled.

During 2018-19 he was 10th on his team in scoring and fifth in points per game among HV71’s regulars, three of which were significantly older than him. Everything aside from his sample size points to him being a productive player at higher levels, but his small sample size due to his injuries may be enough to give teams pause.

He was fourth on Sweden in scoring at the Under-18 Worlds and helped them capture a gold medal.

Availability and fit

It should come as no surprise that the Flames heavily scout Sweden and with Hakan Loob’s connections, there probably won’t be many surprises for them regarding the capabilities of any potential Swedish prospects. There’s definitely upside with Holmström given his skillset and performance when healthy. But drafting this player in the first round could either be very clever – if he stays healthy, his offense could explode – or way too clever – he might not stay healthy, or he might not develop the way they expect.

Because of the sample size issues and injury concerns, most rankers – aside from Sportsnet – have him in the second or third round: ISS has him outside the first round, Dobber Prospects has him 58th, the Draft Analyst/Sporting News has him 73rd, my rankings at The Hockey Writers have him 50th, Sportsnet has him 26th, The Athletic has him 45th and outside the top 100, and The Hockey News has him 87th.

Holmström will most likely be available at 26th overall. But there’s also a pretty decent shot that he’s also available when they select in the third round at 88th overall – and that might be the better time to take a chance on a player like him.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2019 first round targets

Egor Afanasyev | John Beecher | Tobias Björnfot | Bobby Brink

    • MDG1600

      Thanks for the height and weight info – it should have been in the article.

      Missing time due to concussion at such a young age concerns me so I’d pass at 26 but maybe risk a late 2nd or 3rd rounder on a guy like this.

    • idbr

      BB’s weakness is his skating though. I don’t know how many slow guys we can support and compete with. At least this guy is fast. Agree about the second round picks. There are a bunch of guys in that range that sound interesting.

    • freethe flames

      It had better be more than a serviceable NHL player; it had better meet an organizational need. We have serviceable guys already. We lack at least 1 if not two guys who can play in the top 6 on the RHS. We need to find an affordable solid NHL back up goalie. I would not be opposed to using the pick as part of a package if it meant we got the right guy. We also know that this organization needs to add depth on the farm; there is always a chance a Euro comes over seas at a younger age and matures in the AHL; like Kylington. I am not sure of all the ways that this done but we have proof that it can and does happen.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    26th overall…I say they send it to NYR along with Jankowski, Gillies and Brodie for Chris Kreider, a second (From Dallas ) and Georgiev. Calgary needs a Chris Kreider!!!

    • freethe flames

      Or a Zibby. The problem with both of these guys is whether or not the Rangers are prepared to move them. Where are the Rangers in their rebuild model? Do these guys want to move and have a chance to win?

        • Em Durp Em Hrudey

          Kreider has a modified no trade clause…different than No movement. The player also can wave that to go to a contender if they choose. So it’s not always a deal breaker. Also the two leaders for trade bait for the flames are Frolik and Brodie….guess what they also have…. …….M-NTC. So ya know what….bringing in Kreider is a real possibility so don’t piss on my parade bud.

  • calgaryfan

    not a fan of trading draft picks. This is supposed to be a good draft into the 2nd round. Treliving trades a bunch of picks for Hamilton, changes his mind trades him. Now it is rumored Hamonic is available? That is I believe, two first round picks and 4 second round picks to acquire 2 players. Maybe Treliving should allow his scouts to do there jobs and build a team with the draft.

  • Lifesbetter

    I think Treliving will look to get a 2nd for Brodie if so they could regain a pick that they could then use for Holmström. I really like this time of year since Treliving is always active trying to improve his club and deal with the cap issues

  • freethe flames

    When the discussion on this site stalls I sometimes wander off to other sites to see if anything of interest is out there. On another site it was suggested that the Flames could make a trade with the NYR; not for Kreider or Zibby as has been discussed today. But for Buchnevich; 6’3′ 196 LHS who plays RW 21g/17a+38 points. I don’t watch a lot of the Rangers. Anyone have any thoughts?

    This led me to think about Burakouvsky out of Washington 6’3″201 LHS primarily a LW with 12-13=25? Again any thoughts?

    Would these guys be an upgrade over Janko 6’4″212 LHS Center 14/18/32?
    They are all around 24 years old.

    • withachance

      both have better offensive potential than Janko based on what they’ve shown in the league so far. Janko is so frustrating because you know he has all the tools to be a beast offensively he just hasnt shown it yet.

  • Baalzamon

    So I finally realized what it is about Holmstrom’s numbers that bothers me: they’re worse than what Linus Lindstrom did at the same age.

    I mean, injuries sure (and Holmstrom was ahead of Lindstrom as recently as one year ago). Still… that’s not really encouraging.