Flames prospect William Strömgren begins crucial season with a hat trick
Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
This is a really important hockey season for Calgary Flames prospect William Strömgren. A second-round selection by the Flames in the 2021 NHL Draft, Strömgren had a pretty uneven post-draft campaign in 2021-22. But he’s off to a pretty decent start to 2022-23.
In 2021-22, Strömgren was playing his 18-year-old season in the Rögle BK organization in Sweden. In Swedish hockey, the hope is that junior-aged stars will dominate the under-20 league (the J20 Nationell) and look decent in limited minutes in pro hockey. Typically, players don’t get big roles in pro until they reach their early 20s, especially players who may bolt to North America before too long.
Playing U20 hockey for Rögle last season, Strömgren was pretty good, but not dominant. He was useful, but he wasn’t somebody who really grabbed hold of games. As a result, he wasn’t really utilized a ton in the SHL or in key Champions League games. The gap between how he was used and how top 2022 NHL Draft prospect Marco Kasper were used by Rögle in the same season was pretty stark.
In the 2022-23 pre-season Strömgren bounced between the SHL club and the U20 club as he prepares to begin his 19-year-old season. To his credit, he was excellent in U20 pre-season games. In the SHL pre-season games he played in, he was decent in a fourth line role, but seemed in tough to get a steady role due to his age and competition from young players like Kasper and others in his age group.
On Wednesday, Strömgren began play with Rögle’s J20 team against Malmö. He had three goals, including two on the power play, in a 5-4 comeback win for Rögle – they rallied back after being down 3-0 just 21 minutes into the game. Strömgren scored Rögle’s first, third and fifth goals to get the win.
Last season, Strömgren scored just 13 goals in 44 J20 games (and 14 in 52 games at any level of hockey). Putting three on the board not only gets him well on his way to matching (or surpassing) that total this season, but it made a nice statement about his placement within Rögle’s system. The following day, he dressed as the 13th forward for Rögle in a Champions League game – Rögle are the defending champions of that competition.
Strömgren is under contract to Rögle for one more season, at which point he could easily be signed with the Flames and brought to North America without any complications. But Strömgren probably wants some options. And even if he doesn’t, it bodes well for his hockey future if he has a big role with Rögle for the next two seasons – a bigger role in Rögle likely prepares him more to help the Flames than a smaller one does.
Either way, this is a big season for his development. Based on his first few games, he’s off to a good start. Time will tell if he can maintain it.
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