Flames 2012-13 Prospects NHLE – January 23 Update



NHL hockey is back and all but the kids just keep rolling along in their various leagues. Roman Horak, Sven Baertschi and TJ Brodie are recent graduates, but the rest remaiin scattered across the CHL, college hockey and Europe.

The last time we took a look at NHL equivalencies, Gaudreau was out on an island by himself amongst the forwards while TJ Brodie led things to a non-trivial degree on the back-end. To be honest, not too much has changed in a month.


Forwards League PPG Translation NHLE
John Gaudreau NCAA 1.72 0.41 58
Sven Baertschi AHL 0.86 0.55 39
Bill Arnold NCAA 0.90 0.41 30
Markus Granlund SM-liiga 0.58 0.54 26
Roman Horak AHL 0.54 0.55 24
Coda Gordon CHL 0.92 0.30 23
Matt Deblouw CCHA 0.67 0.41 22
Paul Byron AHL 0.46 0.55 21
Turner Elson WHL 0.81 0.30 20
Mark Jankowski NCAA 0.56 0.41 19
Max Reinhart AHL 0.21 0.55 9
Greg Nemisz AHL 0.04 0.55 2

Incredibly, Gaudreau’s scoring pace has actually improved post-WJC and he now boasts 31 points in just 18 games played. For the sake of comparision, at this PPG rate last year he would have scored about 76 points in 44 games rather than the 44 he managed (which was tied for the team lead).

Johnny’s NHLE is the best I’ve seen from a Flames prospect since I started looking at the numbers. Even Sven Baertschi settled in at 49 during his 19-year old season in the WHL last year (and his NHLE was one of the best in the 2011 draft class at the time). In addition, top-10 picks from 2011 like Jonathan Huberdeau (35) and Ryan Strome (47) can’t touch Gaudreau this year.

Eighteen games is obviously still a pretty small sample, but even if Gaudreau falls to a PPG player for the rest of the year he’ll finish the season with 54 points in 41 games – a still well above average NHLE of about 44. An outstanding number, particularly for a teenaged college sophomore.

Other than Johnny G, there isn’t too much else to talk about. Markus Granlund has made the biggest jump since last month, improving his NHLE from 19 to 26 and moving into 4th on the Flames prospect rank by this metric. Bill Arnold continues to have a pretty steady season as well while everyone else has steadily remained mediocre or worse.

At this point I think we can safely say Paul Byron and Greg Nemisz aren’t prospects of interest given their ages (24 and 23 years old this year, respectively). Guys approaching their mid-20’s who sport NHLE’s in the 20’s or lower better be able to grind and fight like a tough guy to make it to the show. That’s true of neither of these gentlemen.

Nemisz’s awful NHLE of 2 is in part a symptom of rust after returning from injury no doubt, but the former first rounder has found himself skating on 3rd and 4th lines for Troy Ward this year. He didn’t get an invite to the Flames training camp as a result and I’d be surprised if the team bothered to re-sign him this summer. As some of you know, I attended the rookie camp during the summer and Nemisz visibly struggled against the other kids, despite being one of the oldest and most experienced guys there. For whatever reason, he seems to have a hit a wall in his development. 


Defensemen League PPG Translation NHLE
TJ Brodie AHL 0.57 0.55 26
Tyler Wotherspoon CHL 0.78 0.30 19
Ryan Culkin CHL 0.66 0.29 16
Brett Kulak CHL 0.60 0.30 15
John Ramage NCAA 0.27 0.41 9
Patrick Sieloff CHL 0.25 0.30 6
Brady Lamb AHL 0.10 0.55 4

Nothing much has changed in the defender standings all year. Culkin has recently fallen off the pace and Kulak has begun to catch-up, but pretty much nobody in this group shows notable offensive acumen outside of Brodie right now. Wotherspoon has matched his career high in points already this year as 20-year old, but that just goes to show how little he scored previously.

Scoring isn’t the full measure of any player, less so for rearguards, but nevertheless it’s clear the Flames have a dearth of truly dangerous or dominant blueliners in the pipeline. 

AHL Bonus

Ironically, the Abbotsford Heat have won their last four games, despite the graduations of key players Horak, Brodie and Baertschi. The offense hasn’t quite come back to life (they scored more than 2 goals in exactly one of those wins) butt he defense/goaltending remains the club’s primary strength. Both Brust and Danny Taylor have sub 2.00 GAA’s and are first and third in the league in terms of SV% respectively.

With the trade of Henrik Karlsson, the Flames currently don’t have another goalie with an NHL deal in North America. If Kipper or Irving goes down to injury, they may be forced to sign at least one of the farm stand-outs to fill in.


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  • Subversive

    This site is significantly less work friendly than it used to be, what with the giant pair of tatas staring at anyone who happens to walk by. Makes it harder to read/comment at work. Just FYI.

  • T&A4Flames

    I’ll get ‘er started.

    Glad to see both Johnny G and in particular Granlund have picked up their production since the WJC. Our D prospects are decent but none seem to have high end offensive capabilities. Culkin may continue to progress that way but who knows.

    Anyone know how Dan DeKeyser is doing this year and if he is looking to sign a conrtact after his NCAA season is over. Is he still considered a big deal?

  • flamesburn89

    “If Kipper or Irving goes down to injury, they may be forced to sign at least one of the farm stand-outs to fill in.”

    Well then, I hope Leland Irving breaks a finger. That way, the Flames could have a maybe somewhat decent backup this year.

  • T&A4Flames

    Speaking of prospects, I heard Walker on 960 today suggest Gaudreau for Nino. I think I would rather keep Johnny G but Nino certainly has the size. We would likely have to give more anyway. Thoughts?

  • maggotbrain

    No way Gaudreau for Nino. we have no idea what Geaudreau’s ceiling is, he’s torn up every level he’s played in while Nino has had trouble adjusting to NHL play albeit with really bad circumstances in long island. Plus Garth Snow is in a hole with Nino wanting out

  • seve927

    I’d be really interested in getting a mid-term prospect ranking – an update from the one at the end of last season.

    I’d say the biggest movers from last year are Wotherspoon (top 5 now?), Ferland (struggling to stay on the list, although I certainly wouldn’t give up on him), Nemisz gone, Byron gone, Irving gone, Breen ahead of Ramage, Reinhart still high?

    Opinions? Anyone?

    • T&A4Flames

      Yea, that was just down right stupidity! Why trade away our ONLY young offensive minded D that is a proven NHL’r.

      Nino is risky due to his showing last year but he still very young and Sven’s buddy.

      Thanks for all the opinions on the Gaudreau trade proposal by Walker. My thoughts are that we shouldn’t be moving any of our top prospects for another. Johnny just has that aura that he will succeed at whatever he wants to succeed at. He has so much skill.

      A trade for Nino would have to be for commodities that do not factor in going forward.

      • RexLibris

        “A trade for Nino would have to be for commodities that do not factor in going forward.”

        Agree 100%. The Flames have players that will garner interest from other teams (if not Iggy & Kipper, then JBouw, Cammi, GlenX, Gio). Sutter mortgaged the future of this team for years, trading picks for proven veterans. Now is the time for the Flames to hang on to their younger players, build for the future, and consider trading one of their older roster players. I seriously dislike the idea of dealing Sven, Backs, Brodie, or Gaudreau, as I see them as the future of this team. If a guy like Horak or Ferland or even Reinhart is involved in a deal, then I’d be more inclined to seriously consider it.

    • NateBaldwin

      I was going to comment on that but I was under the impression they were joking. they also mentioned bowmeester straight up for Rattie then chuckled about the state that would leave our D in, so I chalked it up to them being tounge in cheek… maybe I’m giving them too much credit…

      • seve927

        I didn’t get the impression they were joking. Walker said he thought Butler was underrated and Brodie was overrated, and that they were actually about equal. I can’t go along with that. Butler may take a bit more abuse than he deserves, but he’s no Brodie – not now, definitely not in a few years.

  • DangleSnipeCelly

    I’m also a big fat NO to trading Gaudreau for just about anyone at this point. It’s so nice to have an exciting prospect to cheer for – this guy has future fan favourite written all over him and think we really need to hang on to JG… If he can get to 175lbs he’ll be just fine…

    How about Granlund as the centrepiece of a package for Nino?

  • beloch

    We should be realistic about Gaudreau. He’s probably not another Theoren Fleury (Fleury was a >1 ppg player in the WHL at 16!). Still, Gaudreau is *good*. Good enough that the Flames shouldn’t package him off for a “safer” bet like Nino. A 4th round pick is not a big investment. You’re doing well if you get a competent 4th liner. If Feaster is patient enough to “let it ride”, the payoff could be considerably higher. Of course, you should always pull the trigger if the price is right…

    Nino Niederreiter. He’s big. He’s skilled. He was drafted #5 overall in 2010. His WHL numbers were not quite Baertschi-great, but still very good. In his first season in the NHL he averaged 10:07 TOI and 8.0 shots per 60 minutes of TOI. That’s not bad. Unfortunately his SH% was 1.4% and he scored just a single goal in 55 games, and had 0 assists!

    Nino’s sh% is absurdly low and *will* rebound, but by how much? I haven’t watched him play, but to have shot the puck that many times and netted just one goal, I suspect he must have suffered from the same problem that Backlund had last season, only to a greater degree. Perhaps he was thrust into the NHL far too early and had so little faith in his abilities that he was just shoveling the puck towards the net without any of the skill he demonstrated in junior. A little time in the AHL might help him get his swagger back, and he could return to the NHL a better player.

    Or, he might not.

    Quite frankly, a player of his size and pedigree should have done better in the NHL, even at 19. Perhaps he’s one of those players that just can’t handle playing at NHL speed. Perhaps he lacks the mental toughness to believe he can succeed. Who knows? Nino is damaged goods. He may be fixable, but it’s a risk.

    So, is Nino worth trading Johnny for? Let’s do a quick and dirty comparison of their junior showings. Nino played in the WHL and was on a 0.28 NHLE ppg pace at age 17, and at age 18 he stepped it up to 0.38 ppg. Gaudreau was still in the USHL at 17, but at 18 he scored at 0.41 ppg NHLE pace. This is slightly better, but bear in mind that Gaudreau was a much smaller player who went straight into a league with significantly more mature players that is closer to NHL level difficulty. If Gaudreau doesn’t significantly regress over the course of this season, it looks like he has taken a major step forward at age 19, while Nino fell flat on his face… and possibly broke his nose… in a couple different places.

    In short, Gaudreau and Nino were similar performers in the juniors at age 18, with the edge going to Gaudreau, but they have gone in opposite directions since then. Nino is emphatically *not* worth trading Gaudreau for, unless you belong to the Darryl Sutter “size trumps everything” school of thought.

    • Captain Ron

      I really liked your comment. You make some great points. It might be worth trying to pick him up in a deal but I don’t see any reason to dump a load over it. At this point any deal should be clearly in our favor for an unproven prospect who didn’t even get an invite to his NHL teams camp. If he had already proven he could produce at the NHL level then maybe we get excited and pay a little more for him. It’s a novel idea to get him and Sven together but only if it makes sense for us to do it without taking too much risk.

    • RexLibris

      That sounds like a underestimation of the Isles’ valuation of Niederreiter.

      Recall last season how many Flames fans felt that a 4th round pick for Kyle Turris was as much as they were willing to gamble on him.

      Ottawa came in with Rundblad and a 2nd round pick.
      That was a fair price to pay for Turris as a player and prospect. Today that cost may seem to have been a little low, but we will probably have to wait for Rundblad and the pick to materialize in the NHL before making a final decision.

      That being said, comparing the Turris trade to ones being suggested for Neiderreiter, and adjusting for draft pedigree, skill and position, I think that Garth Snow would expect, and likely be offered, significantly more than Horak, Ferland and a 4th round pick.

  • supra steve

    I can’t believe I’m the first person to ask this, but…

    who the heck did Nemisz get a point against?


    Brodie for Niederreiter straight-up would be an overpay. Well, maybe not, but I’ve been a big Brodie fan since… well, since he was drafted, really. And Niederreiter has shown absolutely nothing in the NHL. The return to the Islanders needs to be penalized for that.

    I’d be more inclined to go something like Butler and a draft pick–bearing in mind that I actually like Butler, unlike the vast majority of Flames fandom. Or perhaps Butler and a winger, since the Flames already have way too many.

    • I’d have to take a look, but it’s a very short list at 19 years old. Sven was hovering above 50 last year for awhile before cooling marginally at the end of the year.

      I’ll make the comparison closer to the end of the year because 18 games is just such a small sample. It would make sense to let the season more or less play out so we get a better feel for things.

  • Oyo

    Horak sent down to abbotsford. And scratched Butler. What. the. hell. ( I understand why Horak got sent down) but it pisses me off that becaus we sign old, slow, crappy pluggers so when Horak plays better then half the roster, we can send him down.


    • supra steve

      My take is:

      This is a new coaching staff with this team and they had almost no training camp to properly evaluate their players. I think we need to cut them a little slack for a few more games. Sarich may well be the one sitting next game.

      Horak will get the ice time he needs to continue his progression in Abby. With Cervenka and Hudler returning, no room for Horak at this time.

      My patience is probably largely due to my glee with every loss. LOTTO PICK OR BUST!…or is it BUST and then LOTTO PICK?

  • Kevin R

    No to Johnny being traded. Can we get the Red Wings back to the table for JBO? Sounds like they need him. I’m losing patience with Feaster missing windows of opportunity. I like the chance of throwing Reinhart in a package for NN. That Wang is such a tightwad, why dont we throw in Stajan & agree to cover half his 5.0mill owed for the remainder of his contract & throw a 2013 3rd & 2014 2nd. Huge overpay potential but heck, we’re desperate.

  • DieHard

    If you want to start looking at a Neiderreitter trade start with what it would cost for somebody to acquire Baertschi. Regardless of whether or not the player wants to be traded, or is struggling as a 19-20 year old, the Islanders or any other team are not going to give him away for a package of garbage. Players over 24 in the Flames system, and draft picks higher than the second round are not going to cut it regardless of quality that you lump together.

    I am of the opinion that the Flames are a mediocre and average team at best and that we are in need of some form of rebuild. So I would not be looking to trade Baertschi, Gaudreau, Brodie, Reinhart, Horak, or Backlund.

    I think that based on the projections of the Flames team for this year I think that the Islanders would want our first round pick. And I think that our first round pick would be enough to get Neiderreitter considering where that pick could be, the troubles the player and team are having in NY, and the fact that the potential of picks has more luster than a struggling prospect. The Islanders would probably want a conditional second pick added in case the Flames over achieve and fall out of the bottom ten teams. But a top 10 pick this year for a previous 5 pick is reasonable value.

    • Kevin R

      Yeah but this the Isles & Wang is the cheapest SOB you could imagine. So Feaster needs to get Murray to buy a quick rebuild on the fly. You throw in a kid like Reinhart who is the brother of their current 1st rounder that is not that far off being NHL ready, then you give them Stajan & hell agree to pay 3.0mill on the 5 mill lefton the contract in actual $$$ & a 2014 2nd rounder. That just may work to the appetite of who you are trading with. Money talks with Wang & NN has really done nothing at the pro level. I agree, a team like the Oilers, it would have to be a hockey trade & you are absolutely right. With Wang, I dont know about that.

  • Kevin R

    Last 5 games of Markus Granlund in SM-Liiga:

    Lukko Rauma-IFK Helsinky 1-2 (0+1)
    IFK Helsinky-Jyvaskyla 4-1 (1+1)
    Hameenlinna-IFK Helsinki 4-2 (0+1)
    IFK Helsinki-Hameenlinna 2-3pen (1+1)
    Tappara-IFK Helsinki 3-2 (1+0)
    5 games – (3+4)

    He is currently 48th in SM-Liiga in points (in a weak team)
    What is more impressive is that he is 3rd in team scoring with 22 points behind just Swedish Joakim Eriksson (26 pts) and future IIHF Hall of fame member Ville Peltonen (23 pts).

    p.s.: IFK is just playing with SaiPa and in the middle of the match, in which IFK leads 1:0 Granlund has already an assist on Peltonens goal. That means points in last 6 games!

  • seve927

    Couple things: Just because someone was a 5th overall pick doesn’t mean that’s still his value two years later. If the price is a top 10 in 2013, I can’t believe anyone would touch that. Not a fair return. Look at who they left when they picked him – Granlund, Tarasenko, Fowler… He probably should have been a mid to late pick – that’s how his value should be assessed now. If you’ve mishandled and alienated him so that he wants a trade, you’re going to pay for that. I don’t think we’d be able to get a 1st for Jankowski right now either.

    “I am of the opinion that the Flames are a mediocre and average team at best and that we are in need of some form of rebuild. So I would not be looking to trade Baertschi, Gaudreau, Brodie, Reinhart, Horak, or Backlund”

    Second, you can’t just hang on to everybody you draft because you’re rebuilding. The whole point of the BPA draft strategy is that you collect assets without regard to your own needs, because you use their value to get what you’re actually looking for. I don’t have any interest in Nino, but I’d definitely trade some of our current good value assets to get a guy like O’Reilly, or some other true organizational need. We’re overloaded on 2nd/3rd line centers and LW. And our D is behind in the development curve. We’re going to have to trade some of that depth at some point to take a step forward.

    Oh yeah, IMHO.