Given their history and tendencies regarding drafting and developing European players, it’s likely not shocking to learn that there will be a significant European presence for the Calgary Flames in 2019-20. It’s also likely not a shock to find out that most of their prospects are playing in Sweden.
The Flames technically hold Foo’s NHL rights for two more seasons, but that expires just as his KHL deal does. He’s signed for two seasons with Red Star Kunlun, based in scenic Beijing, China. Unless something changes, it’s unlikely he’ll be back with the Flames.
The first player the Flames have drafted out of Russia since 2013, Nikolayev is in the unique situation of being a player contracted to a pretty decent KHL club. He played last season with Loko Yaroslavl, the junior branch of the KHL’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.
Loko should be pretty good in 2019-20. They’ll probably get back Nikolayev, Boston Bruins pick Roman Bychkov, New Jersey Devils pick Daniil Misyul, Edmonton Oilers pick Maxim Denezhkin, Florida Panthers pick Grigori Denisenko, undrafted prospect Daniil Gutik and Carolina Hurricanes pick Kirill Slepets. Some of these guys will graduate to their KHL club, which will be coached by Craig MacTavish. If nothing else, Nikolayev will be playing on a good team with some good players.
Signed for two seasons by the Flames, but on loan to the SHL for the 2019-20 season, Lerby has played for the Malmo Redhawks organization since 2012. Malmo was a middle of the pack team in 2018-19 and didn’t have any significant change-over in their roster – aside from adding Adam Ollas Mattsson – so they’ll probably be middle of the pack again.
Lerby’s a SHL veteran and Malmo’s top offensive defender, even at the wise old age of 22, so he’ll play a ton.
Feuk, whose name rhymes with folk, was drafted by the Flames after a pretty strong season with Sodertalje SK’s junior team in the SuperElit league. He’s under contract for one more season and is aiming to push into full-time pro duty in HockeyAllsvenskan.
Sodertalje’s junior team made the playoffs but were booted out in the first round last season, while their pro side finished three points outside of the playoffs. Feuk might be in the tough position of either playing a ton in a junior league that might not challenge him, or playing a lot less but being challenged as a pro.
Lindstrom’s entering the final season of his current contract with Skelleftea AIK of the SHL. He had a decent year, though some mid-season struggles saw him briefly loaned to BIK Karlskroga of Allsvenskan – pssibly the first time he’s play on a club team outside of his hometown.
Lindstrom’s been a middle six player for Skelleftea the last few seasons, but likely he’ll try to push for a top six spot in potentially his final season in Europe for awhile. Skelleftea’s one of the better SHL clubs (though they’re a notch below the circuit’s elite teams).
Sveningsson had a heck of a 2018-19 season, aside from a fairly meh World Juniors. He spent the entire season with IK Oskarshamn of Allsvenskan and was the top-scoring under-20 player in the league. Oskarshamn even won promotion to the SHL, so Sveningsson will play out the last season of his current contract at the highest level of Swedish hockey.
It’s hard to say how Oskarshamn will be this season, as typically the team that wins promotion gets booted back down the very next season (or at most a couple seasons later).