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Flames second-round pick William Stromgren is the total package

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

You might look at his height - that mountainous reach - and imagine a physical fiend. 

But the newest Flames prospect has other ideas in mind. 

"I'd rather have the puck and make others chase me," William Stromgren said with a laugh. 

"I love to be creative. To score goals. 

"That's who I am.

"So, sometimes I can get physical, but I'd rather play offence."

You've got to love it.

Still beaming from being selected by the Flames with the 45th pick only moments earlier, Stromgren knows that his notable stature has become a hot topic. But it's for a good reason.

His combination of skill, size and straight-line speed is impressive, to say the least. 

The 6-foot-3, 173-lb. left-winger uses every bit of that towering frame to his advantage. He skates exceptionally well for a big man, creating space for himself and his teammates either by ragging the puck and maneuvering it in tight, or pulling away and burning defenders with his liquid stride.

Blend that with some of the nastiest mitts in the class? 

Look out. 

"I've worked on my offensive game my whole life," Stromgren said. "I think I was (blessed) with some natural skill, but when there's one part of your game that you really love, you're really passionate about, you work on it as much as possible.  

"I was really young when I realized how I could be an impact player offensively. I've worked on my skating, my shot, my passing ability. 

"Now, the key for me is to work on a few things in my game so that I'm better prepared for the next level."


Video: "It's an unreal moment"


Stromgren spent the 2020-21 season with three different clubs in the Modo system - the U18 and U20 squads, and their HockeyAllsvenskan affiliate. He also appeared in 11 games on loan with Ornskoldsvik in Sweden's third tier, HockeyEttan. 

This was actually by design. With the pandemic creating all sorts of chaos and limiting action for many of hockey's top prospects, Stromgren saw an opportunity to play in a variety of leagues, with different opponents and responsibility in key situations. 

But, most importantly, reps 

In total, he played 38 games in the two men's leagues, including 27 in the Allsvenskan - Sweden's equivalent to the American Hockey League. 

His nine points (3G, 6A) were the highest total of any under-18 player in that league, after leading his amateur club with 10 goals and eight helpers in only 14 tilts. 

"It was a really, really good year," Stromgren said. "I probably would have played more with the U20 team, but they closed up early. But then, to get a chance with the men's team, play some big minutes and really learn from some of the older guys there?


"The biggest challenge - and I learned this right away - is that you have so little time. You really need to capitalize on your chances because you don't get as many as you do in the lower levels. You need to be focused, dialled in, all the time. When you get the good advice from the older guys, it helped a guy like me to handle the pressure of what was a pretty big step up in competition."

Stromgren was recently traded to Rogle BK. His goal, next year, is to play full-time in the SHL before making the transition to North America. 

To do that, he's looking to bulk up so he can properly handle the rigours of the pro game.  

"My strength is all I'm focused on right now in the off-season," he said. "On the ice this year, I had some defensive parts of my game weren't as good as I wanted them to be, so I'm working really hard at that. 

"And, honestly, I think improving my size, my strength, will help me a lot in those areas. 

"If I get a bit bigger, my game will get a lot better, too."


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Bringing the 🔥


Speaking over Zoom, Stromgren was already decked out in the Flames' iconic, red-and-white combo. The smile, under that snazzy Flames draft hat, said it all.

You could hear his family in the background - a smattering of cheers, emotional cross talk and the occasional toast of a drinking glass. At 7 p.m. in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, the party was on. 

"Just a good day," Stromgren said, with a sigh of relief. "It's a day you always (dream) of, but when it comes, you don't even know how to react. 

"To share this with my family - my father, bonus mother, girlfriend and a lot of kids here - it makes it even more special. 

"Just a fun day and I can't wait to get to Calgary."

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