The Calgary Flames have a lengthy tradition of drafting and developing Swedish players, dating back to the likes of Kent Nilsson and Hakan Loob. While it’s way too early to tell if 2019 NHL Draft selection Lucas Feuk will be anything close to his predecessors, he’s already built up some buzz in the scouting world.
Feuk – pronounced “folk” – is our 20th ranked prospect of 2019.
How did we get here?
Born in Stockholm and playing his youth hockey in the nearby suburb of Sodertalje, Feuk came up through the Sodertalje SK system and developed a reputation for two things: scoring points and taking a few penalties by being a tad too engaged in the play.
His 14-year-old season (2015-16) was spent in a U16 league, where he had 30 points (and 57 penalty minutes) in 29 games. His 15-year-old season was spent primarily in a U18 league where he toned down the penalties a bit (and had 11 points in 30 games). He had 28 points in 32 games in a U18 league when he was 16, then spent last season primarily in the U20 SuperElit league.
He was drafted by the Flames in the fourth round, 116 overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver.
Stats, numbers, and everything therein
After a pretty successful 2017-18 season in the U18 Swedish league, Feuk made the leap to the highest junior league, SuperElit. He had a pretty solid season.
Feuk’s season had several good points and only a few rough spots. He was a point-per-game player while playing much of the season as a 17-year-old in one of the best under-20 circuits on the planet. Comparatively, he was fifth among under-18 players in points and third in goals – three of the four players ahead of him are expected to be high first rounders in 2020, while the other was 58th overall selection Karl Henriksson (of the New York Rangers).
— Anton Johansson (@antonj85) December 9, 2018
While Feuk is credited with five pro appearances in HockeyAllsvenskan, he played zero minutes in the first three games that he dressed for. His actual pro debut happened on Jan. 9 – a month shy of his 18th birthday – where he played 9:13 in a 4-2 win over Filip Sveningsson’s club, IK Oskarshamn. (Sveningsson was away at the World Juniors at the time.) In two games where he actually hit the ice, Feuk played on the third line, averaged nine minutes per game, and was minus-1 with four shots on goal. For a player just dipping his toe into the pro waters, a nice first couple games.
The negative aspect of Feuk is his penalty minutes: he took 84 minutes, an average of just under two penalty minutes per game. Swedish junior hockey is a bit restrictive when it comes to physicality, but he needs to perhaps pick his spots better.
Those in the know
On the second day of the draft, Flames general manager Brad Treliving tried to put Feuk’s boisterousness in its proper context:
He’s competitive… And some versatility. Plays center, plays wing, plays both wings, actually. And a competitive guy. I think it’s pretty easy to get a penalty in Sweden, I think, so it fluffs up those PIMs. Responsible guy, but competitive.
Flames director of player development Ray Edwards noted that the nature of the Swedish leagues that Feuk has been playing in don’t really mesh with some of the more competitive elements of his game.
“In the league that he’s playing in, you just don’t deal with that,” said Edwards. “In the Allsvenskan, it’s a really good league, it’s a pro league. But it’d be different if he was maybe over here playing junior hockey in terms of that type of game, know what I mean? I think over there he’s going to be able to focus on playing between the whistles and being able to take advantage of the way he plays because it’s a hard game, it’s a heavy game. He’s really good below the hashmarks. Really good at protecting pucks.”
If Feuk can maintain his focus between the whistles, he could be a very useful piece for Sodertalje this season.
On the horizon
Feuk has a year left on his current deal with Sodertalje. Given his age and relative pro inexperience in Sweden, it wouldn’t be shocking if he extended his stay in his homeland for a bit longer. This season, the hope is he’ll be spending much of the season in the pros and perhaps making a push for a World Junior spot – though Sweden’s stacked domestic circuits might make that a tall order.
Armed with skill and tenacity, the hope from the Flames side is likely seeing if Feuk can rein in some of his wilder tendencies without losing what makes him such an effective player. He’s always engaged in the fabric of the game, but teaching him the right ways to channel that might be the secret to unlocking the next levels of his game.