FlamesNation chats with Ryan Culkin



Not traditionally known for drafting Europeans or Quebec players under the previous regime, the Flames’ new management has diversified quite a bit. Case in point? Blueliner Ryan Culkin, taken in the fifth round of the 2012 Entry Draft from the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL. He’s the first defender from the Q taken by the Flames since Adam Pardy in 2004 (and the first player overall since Hugo Carpentier in 2006).

Culkin took the time to chat with another Ryan, FlamesNation’s Ryan Pike, during Flames development camp this week.

Ryan Pike: You were ranked fairly high on NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings list. Did you expect to go where you went at the draft?

Ryan Culkin: Honestly, the list is just a list for me. I wasn’t expecting to go at all, actually. I was just going there for the experience. I was honestly hoping that my name would be called. It was hard sitting there for awhile, but then Calgary had their fifth round pick and picked me. I was so happy, staying in Canada. I grew up on this team, this team and Montreal are two of my favourite teams, so I couldn’t be happier.

RP: You’re the first Quebec player selected by the Flames in quite a while. What’s it like coming to Western Canada?

RC: Actually, I’m honoured to be the first pick since 2006 from the Quebec league. I played with Patrick Roy, he’s done a great job developing me for the past two years. He knows Bob Hartley very well. He tells me, ‘You think you work hard with me? Wait until you meet Bob Hartley. He’s going to push you to the limit.’ I’m just happy I’m here right now. I’m learning so much from the other players and I’m having a lot of fun.

RP: Did Patrick Roy give you any advice regarding the draft process?

RC: He was actually at the draft. He told me, ‘Don’t be nervous, your time will come.’ and when I did get picked, ‘Congratulations and you better work your butt off.’

RP: What are your goals for next season?

RC: I want to have a great year next year with the Quebec Remparts. I want to get a lot bigger and a lot stronger. A great camp like this is going to help me progress throughout this season and I’m looking forward to next season, too.

RP: Do you feel any pressure being part of the next wave of Flames picks chosen under the revamped drafting strategy?

RC: Of course there’s a bit of pressure, but I thrive on pressure. I love pressure. But it’s obviously a big honour to be known as [part of] a class of guys like that and all the draftees this year are unbelievable players… Great guys, and it’s nice to be in a class with those guys.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Hey Ryan,

    Nice work here. There are a lot more interviews with prospects and Flames management on FN these days. Are you guys getting better access to the team now? Is the team more open to the blogisphere now? Where is this coming from?

  • Ah yes, the infamous Hugo Carpentier. I remember him from such addictive video games as NHL 09, where he played the part of a terrible player on a terrible Quad-City Flames team. Him, Carsen Germyn , and Adam Cracknell.

    What a player, he certainly worked out as a good draft pick…

    This Ryan Culkin kid looks a bit like a younger Patrick Roy. I like how his fans are two older women.


    Thanks Ryan. I don’t really know much about this kid and didn’t see too much of him in dev. camp. Could you tell us about this player’s playing style and possibly a player comparable?

    • Culkin’s got good speed and seems to project similarly to T.J. Brodie. I’m not sure if he’ll do as well as Brodie has, but he’s got that ability to make a good first pass and he’s got good foot-speed. He’s been praised as a dependable two-way blueliner in Quebec, with some offensive upside.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    @ FireOnIce

    I would think there may be more interest for JBo now. I’m thinking Philly, Detroit, NYR (tons of cap space), St. Louis may all have interest. If Visnovsky’s complaint works, maybe even NYI (get neideriter Feaster!)

    Start a bidding war (although I really don’t want JBO to be traded)!

  • Franko J

    Another solid interview Ryan. It sounds like he has a good work ethic, especially being coached by Roy. I like the fact that whether it is Jankowski or Culkin, it appears the Flames are drafting players who are not easily satisfied and are willing to take the necessary steps to be better.