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Calgary Flames prospect Axel Hurtig signs with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
A Calgary Flames defensive prospect will be playing closer to the franchise’s home base in 2024-25. A lot closer. Swedish blueline prospect Axel Hurtig, a seventh-round selection in the 2023 NHL Draft, has signed with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, the junior club announced on Tuesday morning.
Hurtig’s departure from his Swedish club team, Rögle BK, was announced last week. He’ll take up one of the Hitmen’s two import roster slots for the 2024-25 season.
The 18-year-old Hurtig is a left shot blueliner listed at 6’4″ and 205 pounds. Generally considered a defensive defender by scouts, he impressed in his draft year (2022-23) with his progression and ended up being selected 208th overall by the Flames.
Hurtig spent 2022-23 split between Rögle’s under-18 and under-20 teams, and the Swedish under-18 national team. He helped Sweden capture silver at the Under-18 World Championships, but had to undergo shoulder surgery following the tournament. He was selected by the Hitmen in the 2023 CHL Import Draft, but the decision was made for him to remain in Sweden for the 2023-24 season – it likely seemed a bit daunting for all involved to move an 18-year-old kid to a new country while he was rehabbing from a major surgery.
In 2023-24, Hurtig’s season started late but he ended up having a really solid campaign. He split time between Rögle’s SHL and under-20 team, making his SHL debut and dressing as their seventh defender seven times. He had 11 points in 27 under-20 games. He was also loaned to Kristianstads IK of the third-tier HockeyEttan, where he had an assist in four games and also joined them for the playoffs. He also played four games for the Swedish under-19 national team.
Hurtig’s got size and the ability to use that size effectively. The question is how quickly he’ll adjust to the smaller North American ice and the more physical WHL style of game. He’s got the frame to play in North America, and we’ll find out this season if he has the skills and temperament to match. Because Hurtig was drafted out of Europe, the Flames hold his NHL rights until June 1, 2027, so they have a great deal of flexibility in terms of how they bring him along in their developmental system.
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