Flames Prospect Update, April 1 2013

Ryan Pike
April 01 2013 12:42PM

 

Laurent Brossoit

pic via Jenn Kuhn

The playoffs may be an uncertainty for the Calgary Flames, but quite a few of their prospects in major junior and college are in the midst of post-season pushes. Or, in the case of the Abbotsford Heat, they're trying to qualify.

ABBOTSFORD

The Heat have had a so-so season after an excellent start. They're presently 31-29-4-6, with 72 points, placing them two points out of the final playoff spot in the AHL's Western Conference. The trouble is that they've played more games than anybody else in their conference. Case in point: the Oklahoma City Barons, who the Heat are chasing for the eighth and final seed, have five games in hand on Abbotsford. Uh-oh.

Despite the recent resurgence of Sven Baertschi, Max Reinhart and Brett Carson, the Heat are all-but-mathematically eliminated from playoff contention with six games left in the season.

The ECHL's Utah Grizzlies have clinched the seventh seed in their conference and will play the Ontario Reign, the Kings' affiliate, in the first round.

JUNIOR

The first round is complete for most of Calgary's junior prospects. Most of them are doing well.

Laurent Brossoit had a great first round for the Edmonton Oil Kings. He won four of five games, shutting out Kootenay twice, posting a 0.76 goals against average and a .968 save percentage. Edmonton faces Medicine Hat next round. Red Deer Rebels captain Turner Elson had seven points in the first round. His team will face the Hitmen next.

Tyler Wotherspoon has four points for the Portland Winterhawks, who are leading Everett so far and could have advanced by the time you read this. Wotherspoon signed a contract with the Flames this week and will probably turn pro next year. Calgary's lone QMJHL prospect, Ryan Culkin, had five points in the opening round as the Quebec Remparts beat Chicoutimi. They'll likely face Rouyn-Noranda in round 2.

Michael Ferland had zero points and the Saskatoon Blades got knocked out of the playoffs. But don't worry, they'll be back at the end of May to host the Memorial Cup. Not so lucky are Coda Gordon's Swift Current Broncos, dispatched by the Hitmen. Gordon had four points.

COLLEGE

The new guys are doing well. Ben Haworski and St. Cloud State beat Notre Dame and Miami to advance to the Frozen Four. Kenny Agostino's Yale team did just as well, punching their ticket to the NCAA semi-finals with wins over Minnesota and North Dakota.

Not so lucky were Boston College and Wisconsin. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal for his 51st point of the year (in just 35 games) but the Eagles lost 5-1 to Union College. Meanwhile, John Ramage finished his college career with a disappointing 6-1 beat-down at the hands of U-Mass Lowell. The Flames have until August 15 to sign Ramage, otherwise they lose his rights and he becomes a free agent.

 

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Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's covered the Flames and the NHL since 2010. His work can also be found at The Hockey Writers and The Wrestling Observer.
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#1 Primo
April 01 2013, 01:00PM
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Ryan as usual nice update!

Besides the Ramage signing I would really give signing Johnny Gaudreau a priority! Even though the Flames don't need to do so because he is currently enrolled in school I could hear the Bruins (Chiarelli) whispering in his dad's ear about Johnny joining the Bruins. I wouldn't put it past him given the recent Iginla circumstances involving the Bruins.

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#2 MWflames
April 01 2013, 01:09PM
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So was the College player turn UFA rule not addressed in the new CBA?

You'd think that the fact that NCAA players can finish their degree and then become a UFA would discourage GM's from drafting them... Probably not Feaster & Co, but for the normal GM it probably would.

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#3 lionlager
April 01 2013, 01:12PM
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@Primo

Totally agree.. I have this paranoia that Gaudreau is going to find a way to pull a Tim Erixon on us. I'd love to see something in ink soon.

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#5 jeremywilhelm
April 01 2013, 01:19PM
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That would be clear tampering. And if proved would cost the Bruins dearly.

Signing Gaudreau right now won't happen and would be stupid. He needs more time in College to put on a bit more size. No question.

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#6 Colin
April 01 2013, 02:02PM
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Signing Gaudreau would be a bad idea right now IMO, no way with his size, that would only set back his development, needs at least one more season in NCAA action.

Also hoping to hear that Ramage has been signed real soon as well, really wish that loop hole had been closed in the new CBA as well. However what the process for other non NCAA players should they not report, like what happens to a CHL prospect if they don't sign, I know after 2 years they go back to the draft, but what happens if they get drafted again but don't sign again?

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#7 RKD
April 01 2013, 02:16PM
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but I read Ben Hanowski is a UFA this summer. Can someone confirm this? If so, Feaster traded Iginla for a 1st and Agostino if BH goes elsewhere.

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#8 Kent Wilson
April 01 2013, 02:37PM
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@RKD

Hanowski can potentially go UFA this summer and may choose to, but I expect the Flames to get him under contract as soon as they're able.

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#9 jeremywilhelm
April 01 2013, 02:42PM
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@RKD

He may choose that route, and yes, it is an option ANY college player can take after 4 years. It is hardly bad news.

I seems as if the majority of the Flames fans are so down trodden from Iggy being traded that they are becoming rather hysterical, its becoming rather annoying.

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#10 negrilcowboy
April 01 2013, 03:00PM
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first order of action for the flames would be to rid abbotsford of all the bottom feeder so-called prospects. can free up 10 contracts down there by jettisoning nemisz and company and aggressively recruiting free agent signings and prospects.

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#11 Colin
April 01 2013, 03:04PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

first order of action for the flames would be to rid abbotsford of all the bottom feeder so-called prospects. can free up 10 contracts down there by jettisoning nemisz and company and aggressively recruiting free agent signings and prospects.

Nemisz Cameron Howse Patterson Irving Carson and Kolanos

All come off of contract and can all be cut lose and no one would cry a tear.

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#12 ?
April 01 2013, 03:15PM
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@Colin

Lets hope Feaster doesn't decide to resign Mcgrattan and Begin at the end of the year too (assuming he's still employed, of course)

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#13 RKD
April 01 2013, 03:30PM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

He may choose that route, and yes, it is an option ANY college player can take after 4 years. It is hardly bad news.

I seems as if the majority of the Flames fans are so down trodden from Iggy being traded that they are becoming rather hysterical, its becoming rather annoying.

No I'm not in that category, I was just trying to confirm what I read. I accept the Iggy trade and the return whether it is favourable to Flames fans liking is irrelevant. Other GMs aren't going to give up guys like Saad, Frolik, Spooner, Knight, Depres, Benett, Maata. I thought people were delusional when they thought Feaster could land Myers or Kassian in the Reg trade.

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#14 Colin
April 01 2013, 03:34PM
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? wrote:

Lets hope Feaster doesn't decide to resign Mcgrattan and Begin at the end of the year too (assuming he's still employed, of course)

That free's up 9 contracts if those two plus the 7 I've mentioned are all let go, gives us some flexibility if nothing else.

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#15 negrilcowboy
April 01 2013, 03:42PM
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Colin wrote:

That free's up 9 contracts if those two plus the 7 I've mentioned are all let go, gives us some flexibility if nothing else.

Lets not stop there, honestly outside of sven and maybe reinhardt are there any true prospects in abby. oh ya horak too. really that is a terrible indicator of organizational depth, i hate to say it but compare the marlies to the heat.

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#16 Colin
April 01 2013, 03:53PM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

Lets not stop there, honestly outside of sven and maybe reinhardt are there any true prospects in abby. oh ya horak too. really that is a terrible indicator of organizational depth, i hate to say it but compare the marlies to the heat.

Yeah there is Aliu and Bouma in the minors as well, I think you pick one and cut the other. You can probably let Bancks go, after his great early start to the heat he's been nothing but down hill. That Testuide kid probably doesn't need to be resigned either.

The only person I still say should be resigned is Breen(at least for one more year anyways), I know a lot of people don't really like him, but for his lack of offensive output I've hear lots of good things this year how his skating and positioning have gotten a lot better.

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#17 Baalzamon
April 01 2013, 04:03PM
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@Colin

"his skating and positioning have gotten a lot better."

It's shocking, but they actually have (from what little I've seen). He's also playing with a lot more of an edge these days.

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#18 Colin
April 01 2013, 05:11PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

"his skating and positioning have gotten a lot better."

It's shocking, but they actually have (from what little I've seen). He's also playing with a lot more of an edge these days.

I saw a heat game once, it was one where he DESTROYED a guy with a legit clean hit, then just pummeled some guy afterwards, that whole game you could see NHL potential in him, skated well, was positioned well, and he was big and mean.

I don't think he'd ever be a top 4 guy, but a lower pairing guy would still be good; big, dependable and can hold his own.

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#19 Victoria Flames Fan
April 01 2013, 05:46PM
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Wotherspoon is a beast. Reminds me of Regehr with better knees.

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#20 JayD
April 02 2013, 07:14AM
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There has been a lot written by folks who get paid to do so about the lack of depth in the Flames system.

I will agree to a point, but am more and more intrigued by what has and is being assembled.

The two recent NCAA players acquired in the Iginla trade are more than just warm bodies. Each has demonstrated not only scoring ability, but appear to have leadership qualities as well. Both Hanowski and Agostino, just from a stats review, play in all situations and have contributed short handed goals, power play goals, game winning goals. Hanowski is captain of his squad. Agostino has been an all star in his league.

The other assets at the NCAA level seem to have had solid developmental years. The one player that I believe will be a Flame in the next couple of years will be Bill Arnold. Size, works in both ends of the rink and has a bit of a scoring touch. I figure he projects to a third liner. Johnny Gaudreau needs at least another year to fill out, to get stronger and to continue to improve. An early favorite for the Hobey Baker next year for sure. Jon Gillies carried Providence College this season. Now if Jankowski can stay healthy, his development will continue beyond the somewhat mediocre freshman season. Matt DeBlouw was a surprise, being a 7th rounder but showing up and standing out as a freshman.

I am still trying to digest the two players that we got in the Bouwmeester deal, so will reserve comment there, but did note that the goaltender played on a very poor team this season.

With three (3!) first round picks in this years draft, supposedly the deepest in a decade, that bodes well. I think that the Feaster/Weisbrod combination, the increased use of modern technology and a better mix of good old bird dogs scouring the hockey countryside will yield much better results at the draft table.

The other hole card the Flames have is Troy Ward. He managed to keep body and soul together in Abbotsford, but he has worked well with the young guys. It will be interesting to see how things work with college players in their first year pro under Ward next year.

I, for one, do not think the cupboard is bare. Just think that the grocery bags are now being unloaded!

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