Through general manager Brad Treliving’s wheeling and dealing over the past couple seasons, the Calgary Flames did not have a selection in any of the first three rounds of the 2018 NHL Draft. Despite this, they’ve seen some fairly impressive performances from a handful of prospects.
While 2017 first round selection Juuso Valimaki has earned accolades for jumping straight to the big league, four other Flames prospects have been turning heads in the first part of the 2018-19 season.
A YouTube sensation for his puck-handling exploits as a youngster in Norway, Pettersen was the Flames’ sixth round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. A product of the United States Hockey League, Pettersen has quietly emerged as one of the top-scoring freshmen in all of college hockey in his first season with the University of Denver.
His strong performance has continued his steady progression through high-level North American hockey:
- 2016-17: 27 points in 57 games with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers
- 2017-18: 46 points in 60 games with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks
- 2018-19: 14 points in 12 games with the NCAA’s Denver Pioneers
Pettersen continues a weirdly productive string of sixth round selections from the Flames, dating back to Andrew Mangiapane in 2015 and Matthew Phillips in 2016. He’s heading to Germany once Denver’s pre-holiday schedule is complete to represent Norway in the Division 1 World Junior tournament.
Undrafted in the 2015 NHL Draft, Schneider was invited to the Flames’ prospect camp in the fall so team brass could get a closer look. Schneider impressed and was invited to main camp, where he was given a ton of exposure during practice sessions due to a slew of goalie injuries. The team was impressed enough to sign him to an NHL contract.
Schneider spent the next two seasons with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers and his overage season with the Calgary Hitmen. To be charitable, the Tigers and Hitmen were teams with lean defensive groups and so Schneider faced a lot of good scoring chances while he was in net. His numbers weren’t amazing, but he held his team in most games.
In his first pro season, Schneider has quietly been one of the top goaltenders in the AHL. Originally with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks, where found a comfort zone quickly, he was brought up to the Stockton Heat due to injuries to Tyler Parsons and Jon Gillies. Despite being a pro rookie, Schneider has put together a strong body of work and could be sneaking up the goalie depth chart.
The Flames’ seventh round selection in 2017, Sveningsson was a productive junior player in his draft year and followed that up with another strong junior season in 2017-18. However, with limited room for advancement into the SHL with the HV71 organization he transitioned to IK Oskarshamn of Sweden’s secondary pro league for the 2018-19.
Early in the season it seems like Sveningsson’s gamble has paid off. He has 24 points in his first 18 games and has emerged as one of the most productive players in the league at the ripe old age of 19. He’s headed to Sweden’s World Junior selection camp.
The Flames’ most recent seventh round selection could arguably be one of the biggest steals of the 2018 draft class. In his first North American season, Russian import Zavgorodniy had 47 points in 62 games with the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic. But despite his impressive offensive totals, his relatively diminutive frame kept him from being drafted earlier. He fell to the Flames at 198th overall.
#Flames prospect Dmitry Zavgorodniy scored a late goal to force OT, then set up the game-winner 93 seconds into extra time. Russia beat the QMJHL 3-2.
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) November 16, 2018
The investment in Zavgorodniy appears to have been a smart one. In 29 games he has amassed 35 points and become a key cog in an impressive Rimouski club that includes presumptive 2020 first overall selection Alexis Lafreniere. He wasn’t invited to Russia’s World Junior camp but given that he’s an August 2000 birthday and barely 18-years-old, he’ll likely have another shot next year.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.