Flames Prospect Update, March 11 2013

Ryan Pike
March 11 2013 12:48PM

Life isn't great in Flames-land nowadays, but don't fret, as there's a lot of good stuff happening for Calgary's prospects! The playoffs are approaching!

AHL & ECHL

The Abbotsford Heat are 28-25-3-6 overall and sit eighth in their conference. But they hold a one-point lead over the ninth-place Oklahoma City Barons for the last playoff spot, and the Barons have four games in hand. Yep, four.

The Heat are (obviously) hoping that the return of Sven Baertschi can spark the team. They're 2-6-0-2 in their last ten, and have generally floundered without the high-end talent (Baertschi, Brodie) that left the team when the lockout ended. They do have a lot of good players, though. Max Reinhart has found his groove, Roman Horak (still) leads the team in goal-scoring and Ben Street leads the team in shots by a country mile.

In the ECHL, the Utah Grizzlies are 25-29-4-5 and sit seventh in their conference. They'll make the playoffs. They have nine games left.

JUNIOR

Flames fans will have a lot of junior hockey to watch over the next few weeks. Important playoff hockey. The only teams/players not heading to the playoffs are Brett Kulak's Vancouver Giants and Patrick Sieloff's Windsor Spitfires. Sieloff was also out with a groin issue and has been shut down for the year as a precaution.

The Edmonton Oil Kings have clinched first place in the WHL's Eastern Conference. Laurent Brossoit won 32 games, has a 2.29 goals against average, a .915 save percentage and five shutouts. Not to be out-done the Portland Winterhawks have clinched first in the entire WHL. Tyler Wotherspoon has 36 points in 58 games, which is pretty good, and a plus-59 rating, second-best in the entire CHL behind teammate Nic Petan.

The Saskatoon Blades turned a corner once Michael Ferland arrived at the trade deadline. They've won their division. Ferland has 31 points in 30 games, which is pretty great for a guy that didn't play much this year, but probably shows the gap between the AHL and junior.

The Quebec Remparts have clinched a spot in the QMJHL. They'll likely play Chicoutimi or Victoriaville in the first round. Ryan Culkin is tenth in QMJHL defensive scoring with 43 points in 64 games.

Finally, Red Deer and Swift Current have also both clinched. Red Deer captain Turner Elson (57 in 63 games) and Swift Current winger Coda Gordon (58 in 68 games) both have similar point production, but Elson's plus/minus is much better (plus-27) than Gordon's (minus-4).

COLLEGE

NCAA conference playoffs are either already underway or about to begin, depending on the conference.

Boston College didn't win their conference, but have a good playoff spot. They'll face Vermont in the first round. Johnny Gaudreau had seven points this weekend and won the Hockey East scoring title with 46 points in 31 games – which also places him fourth in all of Division I. All the guys ahead of him played more games and didn't miss time to go win a gold medal at the World Juniors. Slackers. Bill Arnold quietly had a strong season with 33 points in 34 games.

Providence College will play New Hampshire. Mark Jankowski ended the year with a respectable 16 points in 30 games, but the bigger surprise was Jon Gillies. He went 15-10-6 with a 2.06 goals against average, a .932 save percentage and five shutouts. Gillies was a huge difference-maker for the Friars, which is a rare feat for a rookie netminder.

John Ramage's college career is just about finished, but Wisconsin has gone on a nice stretch lately. They'll play the highly-touted Minnesota-Duluth team in their first round. Ramage has 13 points in 36 games this season in his second campaign as Badgers captain.

Michigan State was last-place in CCHA, but upset Alaska this weekend to advance to the quarterfinals. Their reward? A series with the top-ranked Miami Redhawks. Yay. Matt Deblouw has 18 points in 39 games. Notre Dame will play Bowling Green in the quarterfinals. Senior Nick Larson has 8 points in 35 games and is likely no longer a prospect of note.

EUROPE

Avangard Omsk has lost both of their first two games to Traktor Chelyabinsk. Now they trek off to Chelyabinsk for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Wednesday. They'll be trying hard to avoid the sweep. By most accounts, Karri Ramo hasn't been great in the first couple of games.

Meanwhile, HIFK Helsinki will be the best of the “bubble” playoff seeds that will play play-in series starting on Thursday. Most likely they'll face SaiPa or Lukko, depending on Tuesday's games. Joni Ortio is 23-19-9, with a 2.39 goals against average, a .918 save percentage and four shutouts. Markus Granlund has 30 points in 50 games, only slightly less than he scored with his uber-talented brother last season. HIFK's new coach (who started in January) has had his contract renewed. The team played much better with him as the coach.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#1 Clay
March 11 2013, 12:55PM
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Thanks again Ryan,

I wonder if the Flames clear some contracts, and we see John Ramage given a short cup of coffee in Calgary and Abbotsford before the season is out. It's becoming more common every year, and the late NHL season may provide that opportunity. The same could be said for Bill Arnold leaving a year early (Gaudreau likely staying as his father is pressuring him to stay in school). BC likely will go deep in playoffs, although upsets happen in 1 game eliminations. Wisconsin is golfing soon.

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#2 Colin.S
March 11 2013, 12:56PM
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The prospect I'm most interested in at this point no longer belongs to Gaudreau. It's got to be Gillies at this point.

With our current gong show at goalie going on and all anyways.

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#3 Kent Wilson
March 11 2013, 12:57PM
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@Clay

Re: Ramage. Maybe Abbotsford. I doubt he is anywhere near ready to take on NHL competition though.

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#4 Colin.S
March 11 2013, 01:00PM
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Clay wrote:

Thanks again Ryan,

I wonder if the Flames clear some contracts, and we see John Ramage given a short cup of coffee in Calgary and Abbotsford before the season is out. It's becoming more common every year, and the late NHL season may provide that opportunity. The same could be said for Bill Arnold leaving a year early (Gaudreau likely staying as his father is pressuring him to stay in school). BC likely will go deep in playoffs, although upsets happen in 1 game eliminations. Wisconsin is golfing soon.

I think that Calgary would at least give Ramage an AHL deal so he could play for the Heat, I VERY much doubt he gets a full NHL deal just to play out a game or two at the end of the NHL season.

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#6 nolan
March 11 2013, 01:17PM
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Looking decent but still think gaudreau is too small. Can someone answer me this. How can a team draft a guy going the ncaa root? I know they cannot play if thy have an agent or signed a problem contract. Also a team has 2 years to sign or they lose him. So am I missing something? If thisisthat the case I wouldn't sign a guy unless I know he's leaving soon.

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#7 nolan
March 11 2013, 01:20PM
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Meant professional contract

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#9 Brad
March 11 2013, 01:29PM
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I am interested in NCAA free agent signing period. All accounts seem to have Dan Dekeyser and Rylan Schwartz leaving school and would likely be two guys the Flames could offer a good opportunity to. (Schwartz more likely as Dekeyser has Detroit connections). Could be why they have left the 50th contract spot open.

Gaudreau's linemate Pat Mullane is a free agent from what I remember as well.

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#10 Clay
March 11 2013, 01:36PM
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Brad wrote:

I am interested in NCAA free agent signing period. All accounts seem to have Dan Dekeyser and Rylan Schwartz leaving school and would likely be two guys the Flames could offer a good opportunity to. (Schwartz more likely as Dekeyser has Detroit connections). Could be why they have left the 50th contract spot open.

Gaudreau's linemate Pat Mullane is a free agent from what I remember as well.

Bobby Mac reported last spring that the Flames and Wings were all over Dekeyser.

Connor Hardowa is also on the radar. Right handed shot finishing his senior year. He attended the Flames development camp last summer.

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#11 RKD
March 11 2013, 01:52PM
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The best thing for Sven is to get top line minutes in the AHL, with the big club he's near the bottom of the pecking order. Nazem Kadri toiled for three years or so in the AHL under Dallas Eakins and is now paying immediate dividends for the Leafs. I think Baertschi will be dynamite in a couple of years, same with a few other high end guys.

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#12 seve927
March 11 2013, 01:52PM
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Ryan Pike wrote:

I would expect Ramage to join the Heat on a try-out contract once his team is eliminated. The Heat NEED bodies and Ramage strikes me as the kind of guy that Troy Ward would work well with.

Tyler Wotherspoon and Laurent Brossoit are also eligible to join the Heat after their playoffs. But Edmonton and Portland are expected to meet in the WHL finals.

Ramage has been kicking up the offense a notch recently. 13 points in 36 overall, but I think he's got something like 11 in the last half. Not Bobby Orr, but still we'll take any potential bright spot right now. It would be nice to see him get some time with the Heat yet this year.

What makes a junior player eligible to play in the AHL?

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#14 T&A4Flames
March 11 2013, 02:25PM
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seve927 wrote:

Ramage has been kicking up the offense a notch recently. 13 points in 36 overall, but I think he's got something like 11 in the last half. Not Bobby Orr, but still we'll take any potential bright spot right now. It would be nice to see him get some time with the Heat yet this year.

What makes a junior player eligible to play in the AHL?

I believe Ramage is a right shot, physical defenseman. I hope he works our because we could sure use one.

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#15 RSD
March 11 2013, 06:57PM
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Can't wait to see Mark Jankowski tear it up in the NHL. Bet he will win the Calder when he gets here there was definitely nobody better in the draft we could have took. Flames fans sure have a lot to look forward with him; now if we can just make playoffs without unloading Iggy, Kipper and at the very least postpone a rebuild. It would suck to have to do what the dorks up north had to do.

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#16 Smokey
March 11 2013, 08:34PM
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Flames got to get Mark J. into Major Junior and outta whatever second rate college program hes in. As a Oilers fan I won't lie, I laughed at the selection. It reminded me of Lambo blunder picking Hickey fourth overall. There's a part of me thats curious to see if this guys going to turn into something, some sorta late bloomer. I hope the Flames got a player, hopefully its not Flames version of Ninnimaki.

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#17 Esa tikkanen
March 12 2013, 12:02AM
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How is 16 points in 30 games in the worst division in college hockey? Please find me one top nine nhl player with stats that bad in Ncaa hockey. Marc Poulio Jankowski is a bust folks.

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#18 esa tickler
March 12 2013, 07:07PM
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Esa tikkanen wrote:

How is 16 points in 30 games in the worst division in college hockey? Please find me one top nine nhl player with stats that bad in Ncaa hockey. Marc Poulio Jankowski is a bust folks.

You don't need to have grammar to post on this site just like an under-aged kid that is as skinny as a board is not expected to light it up until he grows into his frame.

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#19 Victoria Flames Fan
March 13 2013, 09:09AM
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Went to the Royals-Winterhawks game last night. It was like an NHL team playing an AHL team with the Royals somehow hanging in there and only being defeated 4-1. From what I can tell, Portland has 4 #1 defense men. You've got team captain and d points leader Troy Rutkowski lining up with Penguins first round pick Derrick Pouliot. Pouliot reminded me of Brian Campbell, nimble skater with great offensive upside. The other #1 pairing featured potential #1 pick in the upcoming draft Seth Jones and Flames prospect Tyler Wotherspoon. Seth Jone is a big, smooth skating d-man who reminded me a lot of Jay Bouwmeester. He logs long minutes, makes the seeing eye breakout pass and jumps in on offense. Of all the d I was most impressed with Worherspoon. He played a real aggressive game (reminding me of Robyn Regehr in his prime) and has a booming shot from the point (that Jones kept trying to set up on the power play). Super stoked. While I hate seeing the Flames in th e basement if we could have Jones and Wootherspoon manning the points in the next couple years we'd be well on our way to ending the futility.

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