Flames Top 15 Prospects 2013: #9 Jon Gillies

Ryan Pike
June 03 2013 08:34AM

PC #32 Jon Gillies

A year ago, the Calgary Flames did something that made me cringe. They drafted a goaltender early in the 2012 NHL Draft, taking USHL stand-out Jon Gillies in the third round. A year later, they're making themselves look pretty darn smart for that move, as Gillies made the jump to the NCAA and had an excellent year.

  Justin Ryan Kent Hayley BoL
Gillies 12 8 5 NR 7

A tower of a fella – standing easily 6-6 and 220 pounds – Jon Gillies is a big-bodied goalie from New Hampshire. He played his junior hockey with the Indiana Ice of the USHL and put up pretty strong numbers, although there were some questions about the quality of competition in the USHL. At the time, Gillies' success was also tempered by the fact that he's just so darn big that he could rely on size and not necessarily positioning or technique to stop pucks. Could he continue to be successful at the NCAA level, with stronger, faster and more accurate shooters?

Well, Gillies answered all those questions in his first post-draft season. Beginning his college career at Providence College, alongside Flames first rounder Mark Jankowski, Gillies did what few freshmen do in the NCAA – he became not only a starting goaltender but also a difference-maker for his hockey team.

The Friars ended up tied for third in their conference and made it to the Hockey East semi-final before bowing out against U-Mass Lowell. Gillies finished the year with an excellent haul of statistics and awards. He started 35 games for Providence, going 17-12-6 with a 2.08 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He was runner-up for Hockey East's MVP award, made both the All-Star and All-Rookie teams and was named the conference Rookie of the Year. He was also named a second team All-American. Our own Ryan Lambert feels Gillies should have won the MVP award over Johnny Gaudreau because the young goaltender was even more central to his club's success than was Gaudreau for Boston College.

Oh, and he won a gold medal at the World Juniors, too. He played a period and otherwise served as back-up to Team USA starting netminder John Gibson. He'll likely be the team's starting goalkeeper at the upcoming World Juniors next winter.

Conclusion

After being one of several pretty good goalies in the USHL a year ago, Jon Gillies made a huge stride forward and became one of the best goaltenders in the NCAA last year. If you go by what the Hockey East voters said, he's the second-best player in the conference behind Hockey.

And all this in his freshman year.

He'll be 20 in January, but Gillies has put together an impressive resume with his first post-draft season. Much as it was with Gaudreau, the expectations for his sophomore year are very high. Whether he can meet them is another discussion in itself, but for now, Gillies has done quite well and become one of the most intriguing prospects in the Flames system as a result.

And due to Calgary's much-discussed glut of goaltenders at the pro level, Gillies will be given all the times he needs to ripen in college before he makes a push for a job in Abbotsford or Calgary in the future.

Flames Top 15 Prospects

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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 Justin Azevedo
June 04 2013, 01:33AM
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@Sincity1976

I had the criteria wrong in the opening article, put may instead of march. my bad, bro.

I do not believe hanowski had any votes, but I'll have to check the spreadsheet.

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#2 Ed Ward
June 03 2013, 08:59AM
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There's not too much to say about Gillies other than it was a joy to follow him this past year. Between him and Johhny Hockey I got way more into NCAA hockey than I ever thought I would and for the Flames to have arguably the best two players in college hockey makes me feel like Feaster is doing a good job restocking the cupboard.

To be honest, I did not expect Gillies to have near the level of success he did jumping to the NCAA. To produce the season he did as a senior would have made me bullish on his prospects going forward. To do it as freshman makes it even more impressive.

Going forward I'd be surprised if he repeats the season he had this year, but barring a major regression and taking into account the inherit unpredictabilty of goalie prospects, this is a guy we could see manning the Flames crease for years to come. I know I'm being way too optimistic but I have visions of Quick dancing in my head.

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#3 Colin.S
June 03 2013, 09:00AM
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I'd likely agree more with where Kent put him they anyone else. So far out of all the prospects, I look at this guy and think future NHLer.

Is there any stat like NHLE for goalies?

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#4 Parallex
June 03 2013, 09:05AM
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I'm prepping myself to not be disappointed with how he'll do next year... not because I think he'll do bad but because it's going to be pretty damn hard to do better then a 2.08GAA and a .931 sv%. That damn good.

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#5 SmellOfVictory
June 03 2013, 09:32AM
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"After being one of several pretty goalies in the USHL a year ago"

Hehe. He is a pretty goalie.

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#6 BurningSensation
June 03 2013, 09:41AM
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I have to disagree with Ryan about it being cringe-worthy to select a goaltender in the 3rd round.

Goaltenders should almost never go in the 1st, and rarely in the 2nd, but by the time you have creamed off the top 60 guys who don't wear telephone books strapped to their legs you can safely throw a dart at one of them IMO.

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#7 Kent Wilson
June 03 2013, 09:48AM
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@Colin.S

Nope. Another reason goalies are voodoo.

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#8 Parallex
June 03 2013, 09:50AM
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@Colin.S

"Is there any stat like NHLE for goalies?"

Not so I'm aware... did a quick look at current NHL goalies and I found 11 guys that came from the NCAA (Including Dipietro and not including Thomas) and those 11 ranged as having as much as .028 lower sv% (Scrivens) to having a .004 higher sv% (Schneider) when comparing their NCAA to NHL stats. That's very rough numbers considering that it's career percentage and I had to do some mean averaging for a few guys that I couldn't find totaled college sv% totals.

That's quite the variance. The mean average differencial amoungst all of them is .012sv%. That's just a sample size of 11 though and I don't have the time to go hunting for retired/former NHL guys to increase the sample size or break out the numbers so as to examine pre-post prime or other such.

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#9 BurningSensation
June 03 2013, 10:04AM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Nope. Another reason goalies are voodoo.

Even when you find one who has 'it' and can play at a high level, you have to worry about them going all Jim Carey (The Net Defective) on you.

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#10 Kevin R
June 03 2013, 11:37AM
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More reasons to just say "no" to Fucale & waste a 1st rounder pick.

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#11 Kent Wilson
June 03 2013, 11:47AM
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@Kevin R

Pretty much when it was agreed that taking a goalie in the first round was a terrible waste, the Stars stepped up and took Jack Campbell 11th overall in 2010. His scouting reports were glittering and he was roundly considered the best goalie prospect available.

He has been mediocre or worse from then on. Got beat up in the OHL after moving from the US developmental system and has been meh in the AHL the last two seasons.

Taken after Campbell that year? Fowler, Tarasenko, Gormely, Schwartz, Coyle, Tinordi, Etem...

Related - Corey Pronman has Fucale rated as the 93rd best prospect: http://hockeyprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1522

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#12 Baalzamon
June 03 2013, 12:39PM
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@Kent Wilson

He also has Tristan Jarry ahead of Fucale.

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#13 clYDE
June 03 2013, 03:28PM
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Colin.S wrote:

I'd likely agree more with where Kent put him they anyone else. So far out of all the prospects, I look at this guy and think future NHLer.

Is there any stat like NHLE for goalies?

I agree too. I hope this kid continues to develop.

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#14 FireOnIce
June 03 2013, 06:05PM
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I would consider Jay Feaster brain dead if he drafted Fucale in the first round. Third round? Fourth round? No problem.

If you want to draft a goalie in the first round, just trade that pick + player for a goalie. Do anything with that pick other than draft a freakin' goalie.

As far as Gillies, cautiously optimistic is how I'd describe myself. It's different playing against 18-22 year old guys than it is stepping into the NHL and playing against Sidney Crosby or Steven Stamkos. Even the crap players in the NHL are somewhat better than the competition in the NCAA. This isn't football or basketball. I hope he gets properly developed, works on his conditioning and movement/agility, and doesn't get rushed into playing at too high a level for his abilities.

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#15 Sincity1976
June 04 2013, 12:07AM
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I am trying to figure out who is left.

Gilles, Brossoit, Granlund, Wotherspoon, Agostino, Ferland, and Jankowski are already on the board.

Breen, Ortio, Sieloff, Kulak, Culkin, Nemisz, and Ramage were identified as not making the cut.

Bouma and Cundari miss the under 23 cutoff.

Hanowski, Baertschi, Gaudreau, Brodie, Horak, Reinhart, and Arnold are probable.

By my math that equals 14. Which leaves a dark horse like DeBlouw, Elson, or Gordon top 8 (what!?!)

Unless the intro was off and Bouma or Cundari still qualify.

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#16 McRib
June 04 2013, 10:20PM
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Brett Kulak would be in my Top. 15, any late bloomer that puts up 44 points from the point on the worst team in the WHL is good in my books. Glad to see he will most likely be playing with Dalton Thrower next year considering Montreal chose to sign Darren Deitz first, he seems to need another year in the WHL before turning pro. He would not be on my Top. 15 this year but watched Matt DeBlouw on the Score/Big 10 network last year and really liked his potential, stood out on a weak MSY team. Offensive ceiling is more third liner than second, but it doesn't seem like a stretch at all to think he could be an every day NHL down the road.

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#17 McRib
June 04 2013, 10:30PM
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@Baalzamon

I think a lot of people have Jarry ahead of Fucale both played on very strong teams and Tristan Jerrys stats were miles ahead of Fucale or anyone in Major Junior for that matter, he was also much better at the Top Prospects game and some felt Fucale got wins far to easy most nights this year. I have been told that Jerry is a surefire to go in the 30-40 range, could easily see Fucale falling out of the first, but NHL teams continue to take goalies in the first.... At least the Flames seem to get drafting goalies taking a mid rounder on a goalie with potential every year is panning out. Anyone who wastes a first rounder on a goalie this year is crazy. Let Leland Irving & Brent Krahn serve as a reminder!!! Why we should not take Fucale in the first, Haha.

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#18 Baalzamon
June 04 2013, 11:17PM
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@McRib

I hear that. I shudder every time I see Calgary: Zach Fucale, G in a mock draft.

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#19 sincity1976
June 05 2013, 12:03AM
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@Justin Azevedo

That's cool. Thanks for the heads up. Having players like Bouma and Cundari in the top 8 makes much more sense then Hanowski, Elson, or a player like that!

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