The Weekly Ignition: End of March

Ryan Pike
March 31 2014 02:05PM

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Friends, we're at the tail-end of March. Tomorrow's April, which means that the hockey season is winding down (boo) but the NHL playoffs will soon be here (yay).

Here's a quick glance at Flames-related news to tide you over until then.

THE HEAT

Abbotsford had a tough three games in three days schedule this week; they beat Utica on Friday and Saturday, but lost on Sportsnet 360 to the dastardly Toronto Marlies (the Flames will try to avenge that loss tomorrow night at the ACC). Ben Street had six points this week (at worst, he's a very good AHLer), Max Reinhart had four points, Sven Baertschi had three points (as did Brett Olson, who needs to get an NHL deal, in my view). Joni Ortio played all three games and did give up nine goals (for a 3.00 GAA), but also won two games and did his best to keep things close.

With 7 games left, the Heat need just 8 points to clinch a playoff spot. They get the Rockford Ice Hogs (shoutout to Adam and Amanda Summers!) on Friday and Saturday in Abbotsford. Morgan Klimchuk and Brett Kulak will be reporting to the Heat this week and might play. The team has also added Quinnipiac D Zach Tolkinen and overage WHL forward Collin Valcourt of the Prince Albert Raiders.

In related news, the Alaska Aces clinched their division.

JUNIOR PLAYOFFS

Big test for Emile Poirier's Gatineau Olympique coming up. After dispatching of Cape Breton in short order, they'll get Nova Scotia's powerhouse in the second round - the defending Memorial Cup champion Halifax Mooseheads. This should be a fantastic series, featuring Poirier trying to out-do Nikolaj Ehlers and Jonathan Drouin.

Ryan Culkin's Drummondville Voltigeurs draw the Val-d'Or Foreurs, featuring Anthony Mantha. Both series should start up later this week.

In the Dub, many teams (including our beloved Calgary Hitmen) are out; among them include Flames prospects Coda Gordon (Swift Current), Morgan Klimchuk (Regina) and Brett Kulak (Vancouver). But two 2013 picks survived, only to draw WHL powerhouses in the second round.

Eric Roy's Brandon Wheat Kings face the Edmonton Oil Kings in a series predicted by that wacky Husky WHL commercial. Keegan Kanzig's Victoria Royals face the Portland Winterhawks. Both should be fun series, though the Victoria/Portland one may last awhile and greatly resemble a war.

COLLEGE PLAYOFFS

Boston College beat Denver and U-Mass Lowell to advance to the Frozen Four, April 10 and 12 in Philadelphia. They'll face Union on April 10 at 3pm MT in the first semi (Minnesota and North Dakota are in the other one). Johnny Gaudreau and Bill Arnold were quite good this week and totally deserve a shot to finish out their college careers taking a run at a second NCAA Title. I imagine we'll see them both here for camp in the fall.

Providence College blanked Quinnipiac 4-0 (sending Bryce van Brabant packing to Calgary) but lost 3-1 to Union, denying us a shot at an all-Flames prospect national semi-final game. Mark Jankowski and John Gilmour are likely heading back next year for their junior year, while some doubt was cast on the fate of star goalie Jon Gillies when he declined comment when asked about his status for next year. Granted, he may have been cranky about losing the game, so take that with an appropriate amount of salt.

As expected, Colgate (Tim Harrison) lost to Ferris State. The game was close, though, and it's probably great experience for everyone involved in that program.

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Now in his fourth 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 and the Wrestling Observer.
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#1 McRib
March 31 2014, 03:47PM
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"Eric Roy's Brandon Wheat Kings face the Edmonton Oil Kings in a series predicted by that wacky Husky WHL commercial."

I actually think the Brandon Wheat Kings have a decent chance at knocking off the Edmonton Oil Kings. They dominated the Regina Pats who were one of the hottest teams in the league during the second half. I would love to see us draft Johnn Quennville with our second round pick this year if he is available.

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#2 MichaelD
March 31 2014, 04:18PM
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Let me get this straight. Klimchuk and Kulak will be reporting to the Heat, but can't play in the AHL playoffs? or what was the deal with that again?

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#3 Jibmeister
March 31 2014, 05:03PM
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The Victoria/Portland series is going to a good one. Two of the hottest teams in the WHL.

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#4 Byron Bader
March 31 2014, 05:09PM
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@MichaelD

The CHL guys are good to go to Abby ... for the playoffs as well. The college guys can't go to Abby at all this year if they sign, only the big club. CBA semantics.

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#5 MichaelD
March 31 2014, 05:25PM
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Byron Bader wrote:

The CHL guys are good to go to Abby ... for the playoffs as well. The college guys can't go to Abby at all this year if they sign, only the big club. CBA semantics.

Alright so what was talked about before only applies to NCAA players. Thanks.

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#6 coachedpotatoe
March 31 2014, 05:44PM
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Does anyone know how many contracts the Flames are currently at? Is there any credible news about Folin? Also is there any update on injuries to Granlund and Seiloff(will he play for the Heat or is the season a total write off)

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#7 SmellOfVictory
March 31 2014, 05:47PM
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MichaelD wrote:

Let me get this straight. Klimchuk and Kulak will be reporting to the Heat, but can't play in the AHL playoffs? or what was the deal with that again?

Klimchuk and Kulak's NHL contracts don't actually take effect until next season (Kulak) and the following season (Klimchuk) so they can play for the Heat on ATO contracts.

The contract signed by Agostino was an NHL contract taking effect immediately, and therefore he was ineligible for the Heat since he would've joined them after the NHL trade deadline.

I don't know if this is doable within the CBA, but theoretically if you could sign an NCAA player to a contract that does not take effect until next season, he could play for the Heat on an ATO. Or they could just sign the player to an ATO first, then to an NHL contract afterward.

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#8 Parallex
March 31 2014, 08:56PM
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Byron Bader wrote:

The CHL guys are good to go to Abby ... for the playoffs as well. The college guys can't go to Abby at all this year if they sign, only the big club. CBA semantics.

Unless they sign for a contract starting next year... if they do then they can sign try-out contracts with the Heat. That's my understanding anyways.

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#9 xploD
April 01 2014, 03:18AM
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@Parallex

100% correct. Only reason to start one this year would be as a favor to the player so one year of the ELC gets burnt so they're closer to real money.

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