There’s unfortunately no hockey going on right now, and no immediate plans for the game to return. But Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving kept plugging along and has kept up with the business of hockey. The club signed three players over the past week – Emilio Pettersen, Johannes Kinnvall and Dustin Wolf – and Treliving shared his thoughts earlier this week on a conference call with local media.
The Flames’ sixth round pick back in 2018, the 20-year-old Pettersen rose to fame as a teenage YouTube star in Norway and came to North America by himself to chase his dreams. After two strong college seasons with the University of Denver, Pettersen was signed on Monday.
If you’d asked me this back in January, we probably would’ve felt that Emilio would be going back to Denver. Once we paused and went through everything and chatted with him, and I personally had a number of conversations with him, just where he’s at, and we made the determination to bring him out at this point. And certainly it wasn’t something where we were putting a gun to his head. As I told him, there’s no bad decision here – he’s at a really good program in Denver, good coach and they were going to be a top team next year… As we talked through all the different scenarios, he felt a year from now having a year of pro under his belt he’d be that much further ahead.
Pettersen will attend training camp and play pro hockey in North America, probably with Stockton.
Kinnvall (pronounced “Shin-vall”), 23, had a fabulous year in the Swedish Hockey League with HV71. He finished second in the league in defensive scoring. He signed on Wednesday.
Johannes is a guy that we’ve tracked here for a couple of years. Identified by Hakan Loob a couple years ago, we brought him into a development camp last year, followed him, and our staff was in to see him throughout the year. And really had an excellent year. Really his year was split into two; his season really took off after Christmas. He put up 40 points in a really good league, for those who aren’t familiar with the Swedish Hockey League, it’s an excellent league, it’s a mature league. So we think this kid’s got a real opportunity.
The plan for Kinnvall is he’ll attend training camp in Calgary and then at some point head to Europe to play with HV71 on loan for the 2019-20 season. (The Flames did a similar thing with Carl-Johan Lerby for 2018-19, though he didn’t attend camp here.)
Very famously one of the last players picked at the 2019 NHL Draft – I was there, he was the last guy picked who was there in-person – this 19-year-old seventh round pick is one of the more exciting players in junior hockey. He’s one of the top goaltenders in his age group in the world. He signed on Friday.
We got him at a spot in the draft we probably didn’t think we were going to get him. And all he’s done, it’s funny with him. People talk about a lot of things that he isn’t, which is six-foot-four, but I don’t know a lot about goaltending but I know it’s good when the puck hits the guy. And it seems to hit this guy a lot, so that’s a good thing. I don’t really care how big you are if you find a way to keep it out. And this is what he does. He’s a really, really determined young guy. So good for him. He’s still a young, young player. He just recently turned 19. He’s had a period where he’s put up top numbers in the Western Hockey League. I suspect he’ll be named the goaltender of the year. I may be a little bit biased, but I think that comes up later this month.
Wolf will return to junior next season – he can’t play in the AHL until he’s 20 – and will likely be a dominating goaltender in the WHL once again.