Flames Prospect News Round-Up, October 10 2012



Another week, another reminder that the National Hockey League is still locked out. But don’t despair, as the Flames best and brightest prospects are starting their regular seasons – albeit in the American Hockey League or the Hockey East conference of the NCAA.

All this and more in this week’s news round-up!


To the shock of some, the Abbotsford Heat sent forwards Mitch Wahl and Ryan Howse, among others, to their ECHL affiliate in Salt Lake City following training camp. Both players have been a bit disappointing thus far in their pro careers for different reasons. A second round pick in the 2008 draft, Wahl was a dazzling offensive player before having an injury-riddled 2010-11 season in which he was limited to just 17 games due to post-concussion syndrome (among other maladies). He’s never quite been the same since.

Howse, a third rounder in 2009, found himself in the doghouse after showing up heavy to training camp last season. He gradually worked out of his funk and played rather well in a supporting role in the latter part of last season, but reportedly wasn’t that impressive at Heat camp. They’ll join Gaelan Patterson, James Martin, Bryan Cameron and Nick Tuzzolino with the Utah Grizzlies.

To the shock of none, Sven Baertschi and Max Reinhart remain in camp. As two of the Flames most highly-touted prospects, the expectation is that they will perform well at the AHL level. Baertschi scored some goals in the NHL last year, while Reinhart was rather good in a handful of regular season and playoff games with the Heat at the end of last season. Former Flames first-rounders Greg Nemisz and Leland Irving will also suit up for the Heat, as well as aspiring Flames grinder Lance Bouma.

In a more-interesting development, journeyman defenseman Steve McCarthy, who played under Flames head coach Bob Hartley with the ZSC Lions last season, has signed an AHL deal with the Heat. He’ll shore up a defensive group that outside of him and T.J. Brodie gets a little bit thin on talent, although it is rather heavy on grit and experience.

United States armed forces veteran Zach McKelvie will also suit up for the Heat. He had a two-year stint with the military that delayed his professional hockey career and reportedly he was rather good at camp, particularly at being an agitating presence on the blueline.

Junior and College

Turner Elson’s roster spot is safe in Red Deer, as they traded team captain Adam Kambeitz away on Tuesday. While Elson hasn’t played since September 23 due to injury, he was vying for one of three spots on the club for 20-year-olds.

Coda Gordon has eight points through seven games for Swift Current. Oddly enough, all of his points have come in three multi-point games. Despite this quirky consistency, the Broncos are undefeated in regulation this season. Another 2012 pick impressing is Ryan Culkin, who leads all defensemen in the QMJHL in scoring with 10 points in eight games. The Quebec Remparts are similarly excellent, with a 7-1-0-0 record.

Boston College beat down the University of New Brunswick 6-0 on the weekend in their only pre-season tilt. Bill Arnold had a goal and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau scored the game-winner. The Eagles open their season Saturday against Northeastern University. Matthew Deblouw had an assist for Michigan State in their pre-season win over the USA National Under-18 Team.

All of Calgary’s college prospects open their regular seasons this weekend, including a pair of games for Providence College against Sacred Heart University and Boston University that’ll see Jon Gillies and Mark “The Big” Jankowski make their NCAA debuts.


Markus Granlund now has five points in 10 games for HIFK Helsinki which is a somewhat underwhelming start to things for the Flames second rounder. Teammate Joni Ortio has grabbed the starting job and run with it, however, by recently recording two straight shut-outs. He has appeared in 11 of the team’s 12 games and has an impressive .927 save percentage so far.

Roman Cervenka;s KHL rights were sold to Lev Prague by Avangard Omsk at the end of September. Despite that, he continues to play for Slavia Praha in the Czech league and currently has three goals and nine points in seven games, good for second best on the team.

Finally, as everyone surely knows by now, Mikael Backlund played his first game for Vasteras yesterday and recorded two goals (one empty netter) and one assist. A decent start for a guy looking for some offensive success to put last year firmly in the rearview mirror. 

    • Stockley

      Between Ortio and Ramo it seems the Flames are hoping Finland provides them with an heir apparent for Kipper. They don’t seem to hold a lot of faith in Irving.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Speaking of goalies (and this time I actually know what I’m talking about), the Oil Kings are playing tonight, and it’s being shown on Shaw TV, if anyone wants to watch Brossoit.

  • T&A4Flames

    Awesome, thanks for the updates. Keep them coming.

    How is Ramo doing in the KHL?
    I know Sieloff has had a decent start, is he maintaining that? Where is Wotherspoon’s ice time at? Is he playing top pairing with Portland?

    I know, lot’s of questions but it’s the only hockey hit I get. Thanks.

  • I found a website (scoresway.com) that has more detailed statistics for SM-Liiga games. It looks like Granlund is generating lots of shots – could be a case of poor puck luck. Shot totals are missing for one game, but he’s got a shooting percentage no better than 5.4%.

    Ortio really does seem to be coming around as well. Before his two straight shutouts, he stopped 53 shots in a 4-2 (3 plus empty netter)loss to Jokerit.

    • T&A4Flames

      What’s the deal with this Elson kid? He wasn’t drafted I believe, and signed as a FA with CGY? Does he have any solid offensive skills?

      Also, thanks Kent.

      To chillgoose, I’m pretty sure that Byron is injured.

      • Elson impressed someone during a try-out with the team last year I think. He has extremely limited offense, but is one of those hard working, do-anything the coaches ask guys organizations like to have at various levels.

    • T&A4Flames

      Damn, I really had high hopes for Wahl. That hit just messed with his head, literally and mentally. He just hasn’t really recovered from it.

      Howse is a real disappointment this year. I thought he had it figured out after last years embarrassment at training camp. I was all geared up to see him and Horak hook up like in junior.

      At least Cameron didn’t cost us a pick.

  • “recorded two goals (one empty netter) and one assist”

    Allsvenskan says 1 goal and 2 assists. Was that overturned or something??

    regarding Howse, I think his problem is he’s too 1 dimensional. He’s a howitzer with a jersey stapled to it (like Heatley lite, though unlike Heatley, he hasn’t been able to coast on elite linemates for his entire career).

  • Austin L

    Great update! Do you think Ryan Culkin is actually that good or is it moreso the fact that he plays with the Remparts that are a power house team. Is he getting top 2 minutes??

    • SmellOfVictory

      He’s leading the defensive corps in points, which is a good sign; it’s highly likely that at least some part of his total is attributable to the strength of the team overall, however (as is probably the case with everyone else on the team, Grigorenko included). I’m under the imrpession that he is being used on the top pairing, and he’s also the PP QB for one of the powerplay units.

  • RexLibris

    I watched Brossoit play tonight. Unimpressive. He made some decent goal-mouth stops with sticks whacking at him, but let in a weak goal. He also go lucky on a shot close in that went right over the net, the player picked a 9-iron when he should have shot a 3.

    He gets the win, but all in all there weren’t many on the Oil Kings that impressed this evening, that I could tell. Lots of penalties, lack of cohesion and gameplan, seemed to be a number of individual efforts. Brossoit wasn’t left hanging by his defense, but he didn’t really steal them anything. He just managed to outplay a really bad goaltender on the other end.

    He’s still in junior though, in time perhaps he can find himself a professional career. I’ll be cheering for him.

  • RexLibris

    BTW- NHL season was supposed to start tomorrow. Flames and Canucks as the night-cap of the HNIC doubleheader. Is this a good or a bad thing the Flames aren’t playing this game…

  • SmellOfVictory

    regarding Culkin, he is not on the Remparts’ top pair. He’s on the 2nd pair. The top pair is, unless I’m very much mistaken, Lefebvre and Carrier.

    • T&A4Flames

      I heard the interview with Kulak yesterday on the Fan 960 with Steinberg. He seems like a sharp kid and seems to be having a decent year with the Giants so far. I’m feeling a lot of confidence in the job the Flames management did at the 2012 draft.