While all the attention from the Calgary Flames’ 2021 NHL draft class has been on Matt Coronato—and rightly so given his draft position and incredible offensive numbers—William Stromgren was an excellent pick for the Flames at 45th overall in the second round. If being among elite Swedish wingers who can score goals galore is a good accolade for a draft pick, then he’s definitely belongs.
Who is William Stromgren
Born and raised in Ormskoldsvik Sweden, in the Northern part of the country, he grew up playing for the local club MODO Hockey through their various teams. As is typical for Swedish young players, he bounced between four teams this year, but spent most of the season with MODO’s top team in the HockeyAllsvenskan. Here are his numbers from this year:
Leaving aside the one incredible game that he had in the J18, Stromgren had a phenomenal short stint in the J20 Nationell, putting up 1.29 points per game over his 14 games. This was better than Flames’ 2019 fourth-round pick Lucas Feuk, but also better than 2021 first-round selection Fabian Lysell in a similar numbers of games.
Where he really shone was in the HockeyAllsvenskan, where he led all U18 skaters in points in 27 games despite being on a weak MODO team that finished with 15 wins in 52 games, good for 12th in the league. The Allsvenskan is the second best men’s league in Sweden, and for Stromgren to have success in that league as a 17-year-old is incredibly impressive.
While MODO won’t be moving into the SHL next season, Stromgren will be. He has signed a contract with Rogle BK that runs to the end of the 2023–24 season, and will be pushing for minutes with the highly touted club. Rogle finished second in the SHL last season, with players like Moritz Seider and Adam Tambellini as key members of their roster. Expect Stromgren to fight for a spot on this roster.
What does Stromgren bring to the table?
Stromgren is an all-around very good prospect, but excels especially as a skater. It is uncommon to see bigger players being this fast, but Stromgren uses the combination of his size and speed to his advantage to burn defenders on the rush. He can also turn on a dime, making him tough to contain in the offensive zone. With a low centre of gravity and nose for the net, Stromgren has the tools to get right into the high danger areas of the ice to generate scoring chances.
And when Stromgren gets to the dangerous areas of the ice, he uses his incredible shot to beat goaltenders cleanly. His shot is unique however, he does not hammer it into the back of the net like most but rather appears to caress it in. Take a look:
This is not to say he has a soft shot, which is not the case at all, but rather the way it floats just right into the top corner of the net makes it unique in its delivery. He has an eye for the corners, and can hit them clean, making it very difficult for goalies to stop He also is one of the better players in the draft class at hitting one-timers, and getting them on net time and time again.
There has been a lot of talk about Stromgren’s passing game, which some scouts have seen as decent but not great. I think from what I’ve seen of him that it is not that he isn’t a great passer, but rather that he has a tendency to shoot more than to pass. This feels stylistic, and something that he will have to improve upon as the game gets tougher. This is almost an advantage for him though, as many teams know he likes to shoot, and as a result do not defend the pass. Take a look at this incredible pass he makes to Iska Rosen, which catches the whole Finland team unawares:
The real area of improvement for Stromgren however is his defensive play. He needs to learn to be better in his own zone, where he can often be caught watching the puck rather than defending. Because of his offensive talent, he has a tendency to leave the zone early and not support his teammates in the breakout. On top of that, when the play goes back and his team is on defence, Stromgren is often the last man back, making it tougher on his teammates. This is an area of improvement for the Flames’ second round pick, and they will need him to continue to round out this side of his game if he is to become an NHLer down the road.
What’s next for Stromgren
Stromgren will spend at least the next two seasons in Sweden before hopefully making the jump over to North America. This feels like forever, but having him growing his game against men in the country’s highest league is only good for his development. Rogle is a strong team in the SHL, and Stromgren will need to continue to develop in order to earn minutes at the SHL level. He will be an interesting player to watch to see if he is able to excel at the next level. If he can continue to be among the best in his age group in Sweden’s top league, then an already bright future will look exceptionally brighter for the Flames’ second-round pick.