The Flames Fifteen: #15 - Tyler Wotherspoon

Justin Azevedo
April 03 2012 02:06PM

 

 

As the season winds down, it's time to get the "player evaluation" part of the year started.

As a Flames fan, most of my life I've been looking forward to "next year"-the year where things get back on track after a disappointing season. Well, this next year may be the most positive next year I've ever seen, and a big reason for that is the prospect pool the Flames currently have.

So, we here at FlamesNation have asked some of the best hockey minds around (and since I'm included, I guess we didn't look too far) to rank those prospects I talked about-from number 15 all the way down to number 1. The evaluators include myself, Kent Wilson, Vintage Flame (from this here site), Scott Lepp (from Matchsticks and Gasoline), walkinvisible (from hitthepost) and the venerable Corey Pronman (from Hockey Prospectus).

The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he's already a bona fide NHLer).

Now that all that boring stuff is out of the way, let's get down to the nitty gritty and start with number 15:

Player Kent Justin VF WI Scott
 Tyler Wotherspoon  N/R  14th  10th  N/R  N/R

[HockeyDB] [EliteProspects] [Hockey's Future]

As we speak, Wotherspoon's finishing up an excellent season (both for him and his team) in Portland. Wotherspoon was drafted with the #57 pick (2nd round) last year, the second of the two 2nd rounders that was returned (along with Roman Horak) in the Tim Erixon deal. Wotherspoon increased his point totals substantially this year, going from 12P (2G, 10A) in 64GP in his draft year to 27P (7G, 21A) in 67GP this year. 

Personally, I think there were a bit too many (read: > 0) comparisons to Robyn Regehr when Wotherspoon was drafted. While that's understandable for a couple of reasons - Regehr was in the news due to his trade and Wotherspoon's projection is probably one of a shutdown defenseman - I doubt he'll play anywhere near the role Regehr did. That said, I do think it's probable that Wotherspoon becomes a serviceable NHLer in due time. But, as everyone knows, the developmental cycles of shutdown defensemen are arduous and varied. Some guys take that step, some don't. 

One thing I like more about Wotherspoon then I do, say, Chris Breen (other then the obvious age/potential development time thing) is that the kid has a bit more mobility then is usual with players his age/skill type. I'll admit what I've seen of him is limited, but to me he looks like he could develop enough speed and agility to be a bottom-pairing guy. That, along with his plus-size (already 6'2, 203) will allow him to adjust to the AHL level quicker then many other defensive prospects the Flames have had over the years.

The List

            RANKS            
Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Final Rank
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   15 

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Justin is a 22-year-old Flames fan who also happens to be pursuing a double major at the University of Calgary. He has played hockey at high levels, enjoys wearing shorts and tends to drink far too much Grasshopper. Please don't hate him.
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#1 SmellOfVictory
April 03 2012, 11:14PM
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RexLibris wrote:

lol

yeah, I don't know that I'd put them much higher than 25th, but Baertschi certainly provides some boost to the franchise over a few others in that area (Sharks, Canucks, Montreal) but only in that the Flames have one forward prospect better than the other teams while the other teams have more prospects of reasonable value.

The question for the prospect depth for the summer, after the draft, should be "after promoting Baertschi to the NHL, is there anybody else?"

Gaudreau, Reinhart, and Ferland all look interesting, but there is a very long distance between players who can excel at the junior or college ranks and those who can perform at the NHL.

The guys like Reinhart and Ferland are good bets to be NHL players. It's certainly up in the air as to whether their offensive abilities will translate beyond the bottom six, though. Gaudreau, if he manages to handle the physical rigors of the NHL (and college is better preparation for that than junior, I should imagine) should be very impressive. Perhaps not immediately, but I have high hopes for him.

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#2 everton fc
April 03 2012, 02:25PM
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I know you don't like Dumba, and he's smallish... But shoots from the right.

So does Trouba on the US National Team. And he's bigger.

Hoping Wotherspoon pans out.

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#3 Ryan Pike
April 03 2012, 02:43PM
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Like Justin, I like Wotherspoon more than Breen. I haven't seen him much in-person (he was out with a shoulder injury during the entire summer) but his offensive numbers are fairly strong for a WHL shut-down defender. He's blessed with being on a really strong Portland team, though, so it's difficult to tell precisely how good he is. That said, the team is very offensively-oriented and Wotherspoon's defensive numbers are good.

Basically, I'm saying he's possibly already better than Chris Breen, whose main asset is his size.

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#4 Kent Wilson
April 03 2012, 02:45PM
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@Ryan Pike

I think the only person who ever really liked Breen was Playfair.

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#5 Greg
April 03 2012, 02:53PM
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Uh oh. The last time I was able to recognize the name of a flames prospect this far down their depth list, it was the late 90's "Young Guns" era. Signs a long painful rebuild is coming #43.

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#6 Kent Wilson
April 03 2012, 03:56PM
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@Greg

This is nothing. Oilers writers have been looking at Edmonton's top-25 prospects for the last few years.

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#7 flamesburn89
April 03 2012, 04:46PM
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This is a pretty cool idea, and one I think that Flames fans deserve after watching the Flames this year. So..... Wotherspoon. I don't know a ton about this guy, but he seems like he could develop into a NHL defenceman. Does he play like Joey Leach or Rob Ramage at all?

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#8 Dave
April 03 2012, 04:48PM
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Why did only JA and VF give Wotherspoon a ranking?

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#9 suba steve
April 03 2012, 04:52PM
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Dave wrote:

Why did only JA and VF give Wotherspoon a ranking?

It would seem he did not rank in the other's top 15, but his 8 points accumulated got him 15th spot on the list.

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#10 Kent Wilson
April 03 2012, 04:59PM
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@Dave

Wotherspoon didn't make any one else's top-15. I had the newly signed Lamb at 15 personally.

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#12 RexLibris
April 03 2012, 05:51PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

I think the only person who ever really liked Breen was Playfair.

Not true, Kent. I bet his mother is one heck of a fan.

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#13 RexLibris
April 03 2012, 05:57PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

This is nothing. Oilers writers have been looking at Edmonton's top-25 prospects for the last few years.

And every year excitement abounds!

I'm looking forward to this list. I'd like to get a better handle on the Flames depth chart and development system.

As I have said before, I don't believe they are entirely deserving of their 29th overall prospect placement (THN).

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#14 Doug
April 03 2012, 06:13PM
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RexLibris wrote:

And every year excitement abounds!

I'm looking forward to this list. I'd like to get a better handle on the Flames depth chart and development system.

As I have said before, I don't believe they are entirely deserving of their 29th overall prospect placement (THN).

Ya, Sven alone puts them into number 25

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#15 Brett
April 03 2012, 06:36PM
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Im pretty jazzed about Gaudreau. The fact that Chris Krieder, the Rangers #1 prospect, only has 2 more points than Gaudreau, is amazing. And when you consider that Gaudreau is a freshman, 2+ years younger, 6 inches and 50 pounds smaller AND a 4th round pick opposed to Krieder - a 1st rounder - it becomes even more amazing to me. Can't wait to see him in the Frozen Four.

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#16 RexLibris
April 03 2012, 09:29PM
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Doug wrote:

Ya, Sven alone puts them into number 25

lol

yeah, I don't know that I'd put them much higher than 25th, but Baertschi certainly provides some boost to the franchise over a few others in that area (Sharks, Canucks, Montreal) but only in that the Flames have one forward prospect better than the other teams while the other teams have more prospects of reasonable value.

The question for the prospect depth for the summer, after the draft, should be "after promoting Baertschi to the NHL, is there anybody else?"

Gaudreau, Reinhart, and Ferland all look interesting, but there is a very long distance between players who can excel at the junior or college ranks and those who can perform at the NHL.

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#17 Reidja
April 03 2012, 10:39PM
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I just got myself all stoked for the Frozen Four and then found out that it's not televised in Canada. Does anyone know differently?

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#18 Vintage Flame
April 03 2012, 11:23PM
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Reidja wrote:

I just got myself all stoked for the Frozen Four and then found out that it's not televised in Canada. Does anyone know differently?

I think they are streaming it on ESPN.

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#19 Bikeit
April 04 2012, 12:48AM
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Saw Wotherspoon a couple weeks ago in Kamloops. Bigger, Mobile calm defencman with a good head on his shoulders. Maybe looks like a 5/6 pairing four years from now. Time will tell.

I always shake my head with what the flames have done with young defencemen and drafts over the last few years. With the Phaneuf trade they lost 2 young NHL level defencemen and did not get young D back. The Jokinen trade lost their first round which would have been Brandon Gormley and if they kept Erixon we would not have to talk about Wotherspoon right now. So their D prospects could have looked like this.

- Keith Aulie - Brandon Gormley - A prospect Dman back for Phaneuf - Tim Erixon

Wishful thinking.

All would look well in a few years on D and they would not have to scramble to draft D men. Which is probably what this years draft will be.

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#20 the-wolf
April 04 2012, 10:07AM
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Not a fan of the Wotherspoon pick. The team said they they prject him a #5/6 D. Why would you spend a 2nd round pick on that when you get thsoe type sof D anywhere?

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#22 shutout
April 04 2012, 11:57AM
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Agree with wolf.

Why waste a second round pick on a player that you project so little of. Defenseman like Wotherspoon are available later in the draft. When you are picking in the second round you need to be looking for players that you project to be impact difference makers.

I was shocked that Michael St Croix did not get drafted until the fourth round, but he is the player that I was hoping to get in the second round after Granlund. St Croix had 45 goals and 105 points this year in the WHL. Even Adam Lowry would have been a better pick than Wotherspoon.

It was a hard pick to understand. When you look at Baertschi, Granlund, Gaudreau, and then Wotherspoon it is really one of those Sesame Street games of "one of these things is not like the others, one of these things does not belong".

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#23 RexLibris
April 04 2012, 12:32PM
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@SmellOfVictory

Time will tell, and much will have to be determined by the development path the Flames take with these three (Ferland, Reinhart, Gaudreau).

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#24 mslepp
April 10 2012, 01:49PM
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I never ranked Wotherspoon in the top 15 because at this point I'm not even sure he'll ever make the jump to the NHL. Next year will be a little more telling for Wotherspoon as they're (Portland) unlikely to be as much of an offensive power-house, which may have inflated his offensive numbers a bit this season.

Wotherspoon was 16 on my list.

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