Somethings just go together: milk and cookies, the Oilers and first round exits, and the Flames and players from Sweden. They have a knack for finding and retaining players from the Nordic nation, and this year is no different. The Flames currently have four prospects in Sweden, Lucas Feuk, Filip Sveningsson, Johannes Kinnvall, and Emil Heineman, the prospect that the Flames recent acquired as part of the Sam Bennett trade.
Flames prospects playing in Swedish leagues
Let’s break down how their seasons went, and what to look for going into next year. For details on each of the respective Swedish leagues, check out our primer on hockey leagues outside of North America.
Lucas Feuk – Forward
|2020-21||J-20 Nationell||AIK J-20||8||2||8||10||N/A|
|2019-20||J-20 SuperElit||Sodertalje SK J-20||6||6||1||7||N/A|
|2019-20||J-20 SuperElit||AIK J-20||17||6||14||20||N/A|
A 2019 fourth round pick, Feuk has taken some strides in his development but appears be hitting a wall in the Allsvenskan, the second-highest league in Sweden. He has done incredibly well in the J-20, the highest level of Swedish junior hockey, putting up over a point per game in each of his stints, but when called up, he struggles to make the same impact on the scoresheet.
He played the first half of the pandemic-shortened season with AIK’s J-20 team, where he finished 24th in points-per-game league wide and fourth on his team having played fewer games than most ahead of him. In the middle of the season, the J-20 was suspended due to rising case numbers, and he was sent up to the Allsvenskan, but played in a very limited role.
To help his development, Feuk was sent to the HockeyEttan, Sweden’s third division to play out the remainder of the year. There, he put up 18 points in 18 games, good for fifth on the team despite playing just half the season.
Feuk is without a contract going into next season, but having played well this season, expect him to find something. It is a very long shot for him to make the trip over to North America ever. If he wants to do that, he will need to not only earn a role in the HockeyAllsvenskan or SHL, but excel in that role. The Flames hold his rights until the end of the 2022-23 season, so he will need to make some big strides in his game if he wants to jump across the pond.
Filip Sveningsson – Forward
A 2017 seventh round pick, Sveningsson has slowly developed into a depth winger in Sweden. This season, he put up decent but unremarkable 14 points playing for MODO in HockeyAllsvenkan. And while he has been able to make a name for himself in the upper echelons of Swedish hockey, he has not done much to show the Flames that he can make it in North America.
This could be the end of the road for Sveningsson. The Flames only hold his rights to the end of this season, and he has not done enough to justify being brought over. A realistic outcome is that he will just continue his career in Sweden. Here’s to wishing him success overseas.
Johannes Kinnvall – Defenceman
Like Carl-Johan Lerby, Kinnall was an undrafted defenceman who was brought to the Flames’ development camp in 2019. He was then signed a season later to a two-year entry-level deal after putting up 40 points in 51 games in the SHL with HV-71. The aim was to have him finish the final year of his contract in Sweden before making the jump over to North America at the start of the 2021-22 season.
Coming off a season where he was eighth league-wide in points, Kinnvall did not miss a beat-putting up 14 points in his first 11 games. Things slowed down for him as the season wore on, with him picking up a foot ligament injury midway through the season. Although he did return towards the end of the year, it was clear the injury was nagging at him. HV-71 was relegated to the HockeyAllsvenskan at the end of this season, and Kinnvall could not do much, putting up no points in three relegation playoff games.
As one of just three right shot defencemen not in the NHL in the Flames organization, Kinnvall will be one to be called upon quite heavily in the AHL this upcoming season. A defenceman who can quarterback the power play, the hope will be that he can continue his offensive game on the smaller North American ice.
He will also need to continue to grow his defensive game, which has been a bit of a work in progress in Sweden. From the same hometown as Elias Lindholm, the hope is that Kinnvall will join his fellow Swedes in the NHL sooner rather than later.
Emil Heineman – Forward
|2019-20||J-20 Nationell||Leksands IF J20||29||26||15||41||N/A|
A former second round pick of the Florida Panthers, Heineman is the newest Swedish prospect for the Flames. He’ll hold onto the title at least until the upcoming 2021 NHL Entry Draft, where the Flames could end up picking up more Swedes. Follow along our draft coverage by checking out TWC’s selection of 2021 NHL prospect profiles.
After putting up a 41 points including 26 goals in the J-20 last season, Heineman played his first full season in the SHL, Sweden’s highest league, with his hometown club of Leksands IF. While he did not make a huge impact on the scoresheet, when considering his age, the 19-year-old put up a respectable number of points. His totals were good enough to finish eighth among U-20 skaters. Not bad for the return on Bennett.
Commonly compared to Zach Hyman, Heineman is an army-knife kind of winger who can play in any role you put him in with relative ease. While he has to work on his skating, he has a great shot and strong hockey IQ that you can only see him getting better next season.
Heineman will play next season in Sweden to finish up his contract with Leksands IF. Assuming he continues on his trajectory of growth, expect him to be playing for the Flames’ AHL affiliate to start the 2022-23 season.
The Swedish connection
The Flames have not shied away from acquiring Swedish talent throughout their entire organization. With a handful of up and coming players in the system now, the Flames have a lot invested in the young players coming out of Sweden. While the Flames might be unimpressed by lukewarm performances from Feuk and Sveningsson, there’s more hope diverted to the latter two players in Kinnvall and Heineman.
In specific, Heineman will be the Swede to watch for as his development and utilization will undoubtedly be compared to that of Bennett’s during his time as a Flame. Young Heineman, we will watch your career with great interest.