Flames Holiday Prospect Update

 

 

The holiday season is both a quiet and busy time for hockey.

On one hand, most junior, college and pro teams get time off from regular play for the holidays. On the other hand, there are a lot of international and other tournaments that take place over the holiday break. 

HEAT LACK SPARK

The Heat went 3-7-3 in December, all of which was spent without Sven Baertschi in the line-up. Overall, the Swiss sniper has missed every game since leaving the November 30 tilt with Hamilton after taking an awkward crash into the boards.

The club hasn’t been overly “bad” during Sven’s 13-game absence, but they’ve lacked a bit of jump and dynamism. Collectively, they lost December’s games by a score of 19-35, or basically 1.5 goals for per game versus 2.7 goals against. And the team’s secondary scoring has dried up considerably – Krys Kolanos lead the club with 5 goals in the month, while Paul Byron and Roman Horak each had 3. Nobody else had more than 2 goals during that stretch.

In a search for a spark, the club recalled defender Nick Tuzzolino from Utah. Tuzzolino was up with the club late last season and was a strong offensive presence – not quite at T.J. Brodie’s level, but definitely strong for an AHL blueliner. Heat beat writer Dan Kinvig tweeted that both Baertschi and Ryan Howse practised with the team this week, so they both may be close to returning. Howse was injured in his only game with Abbotsford.

WORLD JUNIORS UPDATE

(Note – this was written prior tot he Canada/US tilt)

Five Flames are in action at the World Juniors. Up to four of them have a shot at medals.

Team USA has three Flames. Jon Gillies has played a period for the team as a back-up and allowed zero goals. Patrick Sieloff was added to the club as an extra defender after the first game and has impressed with his physicality and positioning, although he has yet to take a penalty (surprisingly). Johnny Gaudreau has caught fire since late in the round robin stage, scoring five goals and adding an assist in five games total (although all his points came in a pair of games).

Team Canada has Tyler Wotherspoon, who has a goal and an assist in four games. He was instrumental in Canada’s win over Russia, getting hammered into the boards to draw a five-minute power-play for Canada (in which they scored two goals) and he even got seven stitches when he was clipped in the cheek.

Team Finland is in the relegation round after some poor performances against some tougher teams, but Markus Granlund has nine points over five games. He’s doing quite well, even without his brother. As of writing he was second in tournament scoring.

BITS AND BITES

Without Johnny Gaudreau, Boston College split their games at the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis. Bill Arnold had a goal over the weekend.

Michael Ferland returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings following the holidays and scored his first goal of the year, a game-winner, in the Wheaties’ 6-5 win over Red Deer on December 30. Since getting cut by Team Canada, Laurent Brossoit has gone 4-0-0 and allowed five goals total for the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Oil Kings are in first place in the WHL’s Eastern Conference. Swift Current’s Coda Gordon had five points (two goals, three assists) in his team’s first game back after the holidays. In three games since Christmas, he’s got five goals and three assists.

Avangard Omsk’s Karri Ramo was named the KHL’s top goaltender for the month of December. He had a 4-3-0 record with three shutouts. He has now played 31 games with 21 wins and a .926 save percentage.

  • Vintage Flame

    Coda Gordon is such a hot and cold player this year. He has 7 points in 2 games after being almost a complete non-factor for the past month or so.

    Karri Ramo, in direct opposition, has been one of the most consistent players in the world for the past 3 years. Look at his last 3 seasons in the KHL. Talk about high level consistency.

    • I went to the Broncos game here in Calgary a month or so ago. Graham Black was by far the best player for SC. Gordon was utterly and completely useless. He was never even in a position where he could have scored if someone could have gotten him the puck, won no puck battles, maybe made one nice pass.

      It would have been nice to see his 5 point game – he’s got to have more potential than he showed the time I watched him. Hopefully he was battling some illness or injury. ’cause if that’s the best he’s got, he’ll be lucky to stay in the Dub, much less have a pro career.

        • jeremywilhelm

          Uh, I think that’s exactly what I was saying… Read again perhaps. I said he had a terrible game, looking at his stats, he probably had a terrible month. Like I said, maybe he was suffering from illness or injury – because he was absolutely terrible. Didn’t skate, didn’t check.

          One game. Just as I said. I also saw a Broncos game on TV earlier in the season where he was much the same. But I didn’t come out saying what a horrible player he was. I really wonder if he had some kind of physical ailment. After 3 months of keeping an eye on him, and after he’d scored 8 points in three games, I made a comment based on what I had seen, hinting that maybe he’s coming around. I would call that the opposite of overreaction.

    • DoubleDIon

      I live in Swift Current, so I see a fair bit of Coda. He is a streaky player, but doesn’t disappear completely when he’s cold. He just tends to get “the Jimmy legs” for stretches. Nothing goes right for him and then everything does. It’s not an effort thing like it was for players like Getzlaf.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Ryan , thanks again for the on going updates!

    Kevin R:
    Peter Mahr reported yesterday that Ramo has publicly asserted that he intends on returning to the NHL. No mention of whether it was this season or next, but his contract is up after this KHL season ends. The Flames were looking to work out a deal to have him get out if this season contract early last year, but were unable to work that out with his current team. So, who knows it could very well happen this year.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Sure do appreciate these updates, Ryan. Gotta say that Johnny G and Markus G tied for second in scoring at the WJC makes me feel pretty good. Johnny G plays nothing like Theo Fleury, but he really looks just as small (not 5’8)…and about as skilled. I mean: highly highly highly skilled.

  • DoubleDIon

    BTW, Gaudreau looks so good. He definitely needs some defensive accountability, but you can’t teach that toe-drag top shelf shot he lets go from time to time. He looks on a similar level to RNH in this tournament. Actually better than him off the rush, but less good in the offensive zone.