Should Eric Roy & Austin Carroll Turn Pro?

Ryan Pike
August 04 2014 10:21AM

It's August, so that means two things: World Junior and World Under-18 camps are underway, and major-junior teams will soon be able to hold camps and make roster moves.

The first "thing" is cool because Sam Bennett and Morgan Klimchuk are vying for spots on Team Canada's entry at the World Juniors this Christmas in Toronto and Montreal. (Yay home-ice advantage!) The second is important because the Flames may have to make some quick decisions on some 20-year-olds depending on what happens with their junior teams.

Every junior team in the Canadian Hockey League is allowed to carry three 20-year-olds, defined this season as players with a 1994 birthday. They have to finalize their rosters with their 20-year-olds by October 16.

Now, the Flames have a lot of players in the system with 1994 birthdays. Thankfully, a bunch of them are in college - Jon Gillies, Mark Jankowski and Tim Harrison - so their turning pro or not isn't an issue of weird CHL rules. But that does apply for Brett Kulak, Emile Poirier, Patrick Sieloff, Eric Roy and Austin Carroll. ("Scoring" Sean Monahan's also a 1994 birthday, but no way in hell does he go back to Ottawa.)

Roy and Carroll are in a weird spot, as Kulak, Poirier and Sieloff already have pro deals on the books and are widely expected to spend their years in the American Hockey League, but the other two gentlemen do not.

ERIC ROY

As of right now, Roy would be one of four potential over-agers for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Presuming that the Wheaties lose 2013 first rounder Ryan Pulock to the pros, Roy would be the elder statesman on a pretty young blueline group that would include 1995ers Colton Waltz and Taylor Green, 1996ers Ryan Pilon and Kord Pankewicz and 1998-born Cale Klague, who's a subject of a lot of hype. Roy's a strong offensive defender, but his defensive game needs work, and as the veteran of the group he'll need to eat up minutes and anchor things for the Wheat Kings. Will that be better than being potentially lost in the shuffle in Adirondack or Alaska, and potentially being in way over his head? Given the circumstances (tons of youth in Adirondack and the chance at lots of ice-time in Brandon), I'd bet he sticks in the WHL for his over-age year.

AUSTIN CARROLL

Now, Carroll is a bit of a different story.

It appears that Victoria has more or less settled on their three over-agers (Carroll, Florida pick Steven Hodges and Travis Brown), but that does ignore the fact that other teams will soon have to make tough decisions on their own players. [Depending on whether Adam Tambellini turns pro or not, the Hitmen may have as many as five to start camp, for instance.] And Carroll is a big guy who uses his size to make room for his teammates. That size is almost definitely why the Flames rolled the dice on him in the 7th round. Now, the question on Eric Roy was primarily whether he'd be better-served by a year in Brandon. The same question should be posed for Carroll's development, such as it is. He was Victoria's second leading scorer and most likely would be one of the team's leading offensive contributors if he came back for another year.

But does it make much sense for a physically-developed 20-year-old to be playing against younger, smaller players? From a confidence standpoint, yes, as he'll have another strong offensive year and go into the pros with some momentum. But will he get that much better when he's playing against players that are objectively not as good as he is? I'd lean towards Carroll going pro just to challenge him, but once again, with so many forward prospects in Adirondack this season, there probably isn't a place for him outside of Alaska. (I'd probably still turn him pro and place him in Alaska, because it would be a step up in competition but he would probably still have a chance to do pretty well.) And I don't think the Flames will stick him in Alaska right out of the gates, so I also expect him to go back to Victoria for the season.

SUM IT UP

The Flames most likely only have 42 contracts that will run this season, presuming none of the four players on sliding deals play 10 NHL games, so they have a lot of flexibility in terms of taking on contracts via trade or perhaps wooing college players to sign at the end of the season.

But the fact that they have so many interesting players fighting for AHL ice-time probably means that both Eric Roy and Austin Carroll stick in the WHL for this season, barring changing circumstances with their junior teams. It's probably the right move for Roy's development, but Carroll's probably physically developed enough that a year playing pro hockey may be the best move for his short-term development.

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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 cunning_linguist
August 04 2014, 11:23AM
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Do we know anything about the coaches in Alaska? How good of a teaching environment is it? All this emphasis on Todd Gill and Ryan Huska, but how about bringing in some good coaches for the Aces to make sure your kids are getting developed properly there (chances are, with the upcoming depth increase to Adirondack, some kids with potential might still get pushed down to the Aces). How does it work with the ECHL, do the Flames have a similar level of control as they do with Adirondack?

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#2 loudogYYC
August 04 2014, 11:24AM
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Another reason they picked Carroll with a 7th rounder instead of just signing him to a pro contract as a 20 year old... I say keep him in Victoria and let him play his way into a contract.

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#3 SmellOfVictory
August 04 2014, 11:42AM
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I think both should and will stay down. Roy obviously needs it, and even if Carroll is physically developed as-is, it's not like he's too good for the WHL skill-wise.

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#4 coachedpotatoe
August 04 2014, 11:44AM
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cunning_linguist wrote:

Do we know anything about the coaches in Alaska? How good of a teaching environment is it? All this emphasis on Todd Gill and Ryan Huska, but how about bringing in some good coaches for the Aces to make sure your kids are getting developed properly there (chances are, with the upcoming depth increase to Adirondack, some kids with potential might still get pushed down to the Aces). How does it work with the ECHL, do the Flames have a similar level of control as they do with Adirondack?

I don't know much about the coaches in Alaska but here is what we do know; they have a winning environment, a supportive community and by all accounts Ramage and the forward(brain cramp I can't remember his name both developed there). Alaska seemed prepared to work with Heat(relative proximity may have played a part)last year.

As far as Carroll goes if we only have 42 contracts outside the sliding ones that is barely enough players to man 2 teams. A great deal depends on who the Baby Flames have signed to AHL only contracts.

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#5 prendrefeu
August 04 2014, 01:55PM
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First:

From the article: "Roy and Carroll are in a weird spot, as Kulak, Poirier and Sieloff already have pro deals on the books and are widely expected to spend their years in the American Hockey League, but the other two gentlemen do not." ***

What if Poirier doesn't spend the year in the AHL? What if he spends the year in the NHL (it is possible, no?). Would this affect things down the line?

Second: http://www.thehockeynews.com/imgs/dynamique/photos/300/article_57535_2.jpg

I heard some Florida fans touting a cup in two years. The same year I predict the Flames to raise it around the rink. Is drafting #1 really that much of a guarantee for Lord Stanley's cup to come to your arena?

*** I don't know how to make the fancy quote box for a portion of the article I'm trying to cite.

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#6 CTibs
August 04 2014, 02:01PM
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Both Carroll and Roy probably have the talent to be on the fringes of the AHL. They could use pro development, but 4th line, 6/7 D, diminished minutes, and healthy scratches will teach them nothing. It's best to stay in the WHL and have a season of productive hockey. I think only one of these guys gets signed to an ELC anyways.

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#7 Kent Wilson
August 04 2014, 02:34PM
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What if Poirier doesn't spend the year in the AHL? What if he spends the year in the NHL (it is possible, no?). Would this affect things down the line?

It's possible I guess, but hardly probable. Poirier is recovering from off-season surgery, doesn't turn 20 until December and has at least a half dozen guys older and more established guys stacked ahead of him on the depth chart.

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#8 Jeff In Lethbridge
August 04 2014, 02:57PM
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I think the absence of contractz speaks loudly... im guessing they play jr one more year

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#9 everton fc
August 04 2014, 03:21PM
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Roy should anchor Brandon. He's a good kid, and I think more of a quiet leader, which helps. He'll get mucho minutes. All good things.

Carroll could probably play a 4th line role in the AHL, certainly in the ECHL. But are contract "margins" seem to keep him in juniors one more year. I do like Carroll, though, and think he'll stick with the big club, whether ours or someone elses, sometime down the road.

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#10 MWflames
August 04 2014, 07:01PM
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" "Scoring" Sean Monahan's also a 1994 birthday, but no way in hell does he go back to Ottawa"

Random question:

Is there a notable situation that happened just like this? A prospect plays a full or mostly full season in the nhl, finishes the season there, and then the next season gets assigned back to his junior club???

would be a bizarre situation

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#11 Baalzamon
August 04 2014, 08:00PM
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@MWflames

I don't think that ever happened (as you said, a bizarre situation were it to occur) but I'm pretty sure Brett Connolly spent his draft+2 season in the NHL, then his draft+3 in the AHL.

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#12 RexLibris
August 04 2014, 08:01PM
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@prendrefeu

*** I don't know how to make the fancy quote box for a portion of the article I'm trying to cite.

Just type one of those angled brackets that look like a "greater than" sign, then type block quote (one word) and then the upwards slash and the closing angled bracket.

Coding, so spaces no caps.

Works to italicize and bold by using the same "open alligator" mark at the beginning and putting either i or b then the slash and the "close alligator" mark.

And that's pretty much the entirety of my coding knowledge.

Btw, meant to comment on the avatar. Nice choice. I'm dangerously addicted to that show right now.

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#13 RexLibris
August 04 2014, 08:16PM
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@Baalzamon

Connolly was recovering from a broken collarbone during his draft year, iirc. His situation is not unlike Galchenyuk's during his draft year in that he could have been in consideration of going higher than he did but for the injury.

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#15 KingQuong
August 05 2014, 01:42AM
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MWflames wrote:

" "Scoring" Sean Monahan's also a 1994 birthday, but no way in hell does he go back to Ottawa"

Random question:

Is there a notable situation that happened just like this? A prospect plays a full or mostly full season in the nhl, finishes the season there, and then the next season gets assigned back to his junior club???

would be a bizarre situation

I can't think of any but on a semi related topic Kris draper played in the NHL before he ever played in the ohl.

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#16 Brian Costello
August 05 2014, 01:38PM
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@MWflames

Joe Cirella was an 18-year-old NHLer for Colorado in 1981-82, then back in the 'O' with Oshawa the next season.

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#17 BJ
August 05 2014, 08:53PM
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Given our current depth of prospects it almost is in their interest to stay in Junior. They have less of a chance of making the flames than guys (Like say Wolf, Reinhart, Wspoon -WJuniors Hey!) that are far more experienced.

I like our prospects but we are coming to a point with a lot of them in the next 1-2 years and not all of them will make it. Some will be traded. Some will get beer guts.

By waiting and working on their development I think it could actually give them a better shot with the Flames down the road. We are loaded up on prospects especially at forward and these guys, 5th and 7th RNDs respectively, are not exactly knocking on the door.

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#18 Kristjan
August 06 2014, 10:16AM
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Carroll might be ready for depth AHLer or good ECHLer. Roy is just brutal in his own end. No way is he ready for pro.

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