Flames AHL Depth Chart

Kent Wilson
July 15 2010 12:35PM

Calgary Hitmen's goaltender Martin Jones (31) makes a save on Windsor Spitfires Greg Nemisz (64) at the Memorial Cup in Brandon, Manitoba May 17, 2010. The Canadian Hockey League's championship tournament runs until May 23. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY)

 

With things more or less cemented in place for the big club, here's how the depth chart is shaping up at the next level of the Flames organization:

Forwards -

Chucko - Backlund - Nemisz

MacMillan - Sutter - Cameron

Cunning - Wahl - Watt

Bouma - Armstrong - Grantham

Carpentier


Defensemen -

Pelech - Negrin

Meyers - Seabrook

Baldwin - Brodie

Breen

 

Goalies -

Irving

Keetley

*Players in italics are currently RFA

With the exit of veterans like Jason Jaffary, Carsen Germyn, David Van Der Gulik, Grath Murray, Colin Stuart, Jamie Lundmark, Riley Armstrong, Brett Palin and Andy Delmore, the Abbotsford Heat are shaping up to be very, very young to start the season. Unless guys like Ryan Stone and Staffan Kronwall are eventually demoted, the oldest skaters on the club will be Cunning (25), Chucko (24), Pelech (23) and Sutter (23). Four forwards will be playing their first professional season (Nemisz, Wahl, Bouma, Cameron)  and several others with be sophomores (Backlund, Grantham). Negrin, Seabrook, Brodie and Breen fall into one of these two categories on the back-end as well.

On the one hand, it's good to see ample space for guys like Cameron, Nemisz and Wahl to play and grow. On the other hand, there is precious little NHL depth here. Jaffray, Van Der Gulik, Stuart, Germyn and Lundmark were all fringe, low-ceiling guys to be sure, but they were also players capable of being recalled and skating in at least a limited capacity in the show to one degree or another. They're all gone. Outside of Backlund, Sutter and maybe Kris Chucko, there's nothing else there. As such, a rash of injuries mid-season up front could significantly complicate things for the Flames. Especially because they'll likely be operating without the cap space to sign a veteran NHL UFA or two as stop gaps.

Fans in Abbotsford shouldn't expect the most competitive club in the world either. Particularly if a couple of the near NHL ready guys end up on the parent team for portions of the season (Backlund and Pelech come to mind). Unless the likes of Cameron, Wahl and Nemisz step in and are further ahead of the development curve than we can currently imagine, the Heat are going to have a rough time just qualifying for the post season, let alone challenging any of the better clubs in the A.

That said, I'm very interested to see how some of the rookies do, particularly all the forwards and TJ Brodie on the back-end. The 2008 batch of prospects looks strong relative to most other years, so the I'll be keeping a close eye on the results and development of those guys (many of whom are inside my top 10 Flames prospect list). Recent free agent signing and 50 goal scorer Bryan Cameron is another guy worth watching to see if Sutter scooped a keeper from the scratch and dent bin. 

Of course, there's still time left in the summer for Darryl to round up some fringe guys and plug them in on the farm. The aforementioned Ryan Stone may well start the year in Abbotsford if someone like Craig Conroy is signed to center the 4th line. That would provide at least a partial buffer against INJURY ARMAGEDDON should more than one Flame forward go down at a time. Once all the RFA's are finally re-signed, we may see a few more vaguely recognizable names inked come August. In fact, I would bet on it.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Greg
July 15 2010, 12:42PM
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So what you're saying is, a vet like Staois would look really good on the farm this season? :)

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#2 jess
July 15 2010, 12:47PM
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Wahl really impressed me in the post season game I saw him in, and Bouma is a good bet to get better from what I saw as well.

Weakest link is goaltending and Chucko, on that list. Van der Gulik and Germyn were the better veteran forwards by my eye, and the loss of Lundmark is acceptable assuming one of the rookies fills the gap. Trading Jaffray confuses me however, and I'm interested to see the fallout from that.

I'm still upset that Riley Armstrong was traded for Andy Delmore, who had no real contribution to the team in the end. Ramstrong, as I named him, plays very much like Clutterbuck, and had some offensive upside. Too bad he's gone.

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#5 jess
July 15 2010, 03:21PM
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That Staios comment made me laugh.

I saw Wahl when he scored 2 goals in the postseason for the Heat. Obviously he was having a good game, but he was going to the right areas, always in the right position and doing all the right things. I don't think he had a bad shift all game. Both goals he scored were great, I should know as I was 20 feet from the net behind the glass, and he's still a young kid and I expect him to get stronger. I'll catch 5 or 6 Heat games this year and hopefully he gets better and better.

I do worry about the lack of proven AHL level players on that team though.

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#6 jess
July 15 2010, 03:33PM
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I've been looking for this, but can't find anything substantial.

What happened to Jon Rheault? Kid was the Heat's best player when he played for them. Wasn't property of the Flames system at the time, but I recall someone signing him.

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#8 jess
July 15 2010, 04:07PM
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I remember hearing he was signed, and possibly reading it somewhere, but I can't remember where he signed. Either way, loss to the Flames system as he was quality.

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#9 jess
July 15 2010, 04:18PM
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http://www.calgarysun.com/sports/hockey/2010/05/31/14205796.html

Sutter signed him. I would imagine he'll be playing in Abbotsford next season. However he's not listed on Capgeek or anything like that.

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#10 Loob/Backlund
July 15 2010, 06:14PM
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don't forget about Gaelan Patterson

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#12 Oil_Loc8or
July 15 2010, 08:10PM
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I could have wrote this article. Flames prospects equal ZERO depth or promise . You guys want to sign Connroy lol ?

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#14 JF
July 15 2010, 10:47PM
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Don't know why you're assuming that Backlund will be with the Heat. Unless you think that the Flames are going to be spending 3M+ on a third-line centerman I'd have to assume that one of Langkow (LTIR?), Stajan, or Jokinen isn't going to stick and Backlund takes that spot.

But yeah IIRC Rheault & Carter Bancks were signed to AHL deals so their in the mix. I honestly wonder if Sutter isn't going to resign Jaime Lundmark... I mean he already acquired the guy twice (or is it thrice?) before and he's a useful guy to have in your back-pocket as a injury call-up.

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#15 Monaertchi
July 16 2010, 08:26AM
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Oil_Loc8or wrote:

I could have wrote this article. Flames prospects equal ZERO depth or promise . You guys want to sign Connroy lol ?

Perhaps you could have wrote this article, but not goodly.

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#16 Nolan
July 17 2010, 12:58AM
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You see Sutter in the A? I think that would go against all that the Sutters stand for. Look for him to be in the Flames line up on the 4th line no matter what.

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#17 RossCreekNation
July 19 2010, 12:10PM
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@Nolan

I figure Brett's in Calgary, too.

4th line:
L-Stone/C-Sutter/R-Jackman

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#18 Dano0049
July 19 2010, 01:48PM
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I actually like the look of Abbotsford this year. I think Calgary has better guys then everyone is giveing them credit for, or maybe I'm just a being overly optomistic about Wahl, Backlund, Nemisz and Cameron. Time will tell. Irving is the X factor in Abbotsford this year, for the future of the Flames I hope he's up to the task.

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