Calgary Flames prospect Axel Hurtig selected by the Calgary Hitmen in CHL Import Draft

Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
On Thursday, the Calgary Flames selected Swedish junior defenceman Axel Hurtig in the seventh round, 208th overall, in the 2023 NHL Draft. The following Wednesday, the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen have selected Hurtig in the first round, 33rd overall, in the 2023 CHL Import Draft.
Hurtig turned 18 last month. He’s listed at 6’4″, 203 pounds, and he’s a left shot blueliner. Flames director of amateur scouting Tod Button raved about Hurtig’s growth over the 2022-23 season, as he went from being a depth player on Rogle’s under-20 team and the Swedish national under-18 men’s team and gradually became a core member of both. He helped Rogle’s under-20 team win their league’s playoffs, and helped his country capture silver at the men’s Under-18 World Championships and bronze at the World Junior A Challenge.
By virtue of selecting Hurtig, the Hitmen hold his Canadian major junior rights and provide him (and the Flames) with some developmental options:
  • He could remain under contract with Rogle and be loaned to the Hitmen.
  • He could get out of his contract with Rogle and sign a standard contract with the Hitmen.
  • He could sign an entry-level deal with the Flames and be loaned to the Hitmen. (This one’s unlikely given how late Hurtig was selected and how much developing he has ahead of him.)
(We’re checking on the implications of the first two scenarios on length of time that the Flames would be able to hold his NHL rights without signing him.)
If nothing else, there are a few different scenarios that would see Hurtig developing much closer to the Flames than Angelholm, Sweden, and allow the Flames a much more hands-on role in his development.
Button described Hurtig as a project last week in Nashville. And yeah, he’s big, raw, and has yet to play (a) a single pro game or (b) a full season of Swedish junior hockey. But you can see why the Flames would like him enough to draft him, and you can also see why the Hitmen would like him enough to draft him, too.
Update: Things seem to be aligning for Hurtig to play for the Hitmen in 2023-24.
The Hitmen announced they have released Czech defender Vojtech Husinecky to open up an import roster spot for Hurtig.
Also, the Hockey News’ Randy Sportak spoke with Hitmen GM Jeff Chynoweth:

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