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Calgary Flames prospect Axel Hurtig’s home for 2023-24 is still to be determined
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
Back on June 29, the Calgary Flames drafted big-bodied Swedish blueliner Axel Hurtig in the seventh round of the 2023 NHL Draft. Last week, the Calgary Hitmen selected Hurtig in the CHL Import Draft, opening the door to Hurtig potentially playing in North America in 2023-24.
According to Calgary Flames general manager Craig Conroy, who spoke about Hurtig at development camp, it’s still yet to be determined where Hurtig will play this season.
The X-factor, it appears, is a shoulder injury that Hurtig suffered in the latter stages of the 2022-23 season.
“We’re still talking with him and his people, but excited to have the Hitmen draft him and an opportunity for him to come over,” said Conroy. “But with the shoulder injury we’ve still kinda go through and see where he feels most comfortable. Obviously we want to do what’s right for him, but to have him over here and be able to work with our NHL people, especially with the injury, I think that would be a positive but we also want to do what’s best for him and his family.”
Hurtig had shoulder surgery following the men’s Under-18 World Championships in April and, according to what Hitmen GM Jeff Chynoweth told The Hockey News’ Randy Sportak, he’s expected to miss the beginning of the WHL season (which begins in late September).
Canadian major junior teams can carry two imports on their roster. The Hitmen already have 2004-born Maxim Muranov, and they released Czech blueliner Vojtech Husinecky from their roster shortly after the Import Draft to open a spot for Hurtig. But it appears that Hurtig’s preferences and injury recovery will be taken into account before it’s determined where he plays. Rögle BK hold his European rights and, presumably, some negotiations regarding a move to the WHL would occur if it was decided he was coming over.
Because Hurtig was drafted by the Flames from a European team, the Flames hold his exclusive rights until June 1, 2027, just short of four years after his selection. This window would not be impacted by a potential move to the WHL, so the Flames would maintain a lot of contractual flexibility regarding Hurtig regardless of where he ends up playing in the near future.
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