Flames Top 15 Prospects 2013: #6 Bill Arnold


Bill Arnold
– pic via Bart Hanlon

With the recent acquisition of Corban Knight – combined with the drafting in 2012 of college-bound kids Mark Jankowski, Matthew Deblouw and Jon Gillies – it’s pretty obvious that the Calgary Flames are gung-ho about college prospects. This isn’t exactly a brand-new proposition, as it’s a drafting habit that arguably began in 2010, when the Flames grabbed University of Wisconsin defender John Ramage and then-incoming Boston College forward Bill Arnold.

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Since then, Arnold’s become one of the most interesting prospects in Calgary’s system.

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Arnold has put together a pretty good resume since being drafted in the fourth round in 2010. He’s been to the World Juniors and two Frozen Four tournaments. He’s won two conference championships and an NCAA championship. He’s gone from being a bottom-six college player averaging just under half a point per game and transformed into a guy who has scored 71 points in his last 80 games while remaining a very reliable, very complete hockey player.

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If there’s a good comparable for Bill Arnold, it may be Max Reinhart. The eldest Reinhart son has excellent vision and hockey sense, but arguably isn’t “exceptional” at anything beyond that. Arnold may lack Reinhart’s puck distribution skills, but he’s also kind of just good at everything. He’s big (six-feet, 205 pounds) but relatively mobile. He’s physical but doesn’t take a lot of penalties. He’s good defensively but doesn’t lack a scoring touch.

Moreover, the legendary BC coach Jerry York has described Arnold as a strong two-way player, but also a guy who’s capable of taking over a game. His teammates speak highly of him and he’ll return to Boston College for his senior year as an alternate captain of the club. When he’s dabbled in the high-end international world of hockey, he’s played quite well – he was named one of Team USA’s top three players at the 2011 World Juniors.


Bill Arnold is a year away from being a professional hockey player. Since being drafted by the Flames, he was a very good rookie in the NCAA, a really good sophomore in the NCAA and a really good junior in the NCAA. He probably doesn’t project to be must higher than a third liner in the NHL, but his success in the NCAA – and how it’s happened to unfold – suggests that he’s likely to at least crack an NHL line-up in the near future.

He may not have a sky-high NHL ceiling like teammate Johnny Gaudreau, but his build, playing style and general demeanour suggests that he has a much higher floor than a lot of players within Calgary’s prospect base.

Flames Top 15 Prospects

  • piscera.infada

    On an unrelated note, I see that Ben Scrivens will be “picking up where Burke left off” and marching in support at the Gay Pride parade with family and friends of gays and lesbians.

    As much as some of us think Burke is a Dinosaur in respects to his ignoring stats or love for Grit apparently he is doing alright in respecting peoples orientation. I can’t say as much for many older people I have met before.

    In summary good for you Burke and good for you Scrivens.

  • Derzie

    I don’t know why you’d bring that up here this is a hockey prospect post but all right then. Who cares who marches in the gay pride walk.

    In regards to Arnold, I see him being a poor man’s Rene Bourque, but in a more consistent fashion. If this guy makes it above 4th line duty, which I think he will, we’re talking about a great return on that 4th round pick. Looks like some of Sutter’s picks weren’t that terrible after all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I can’t wait for this draft. Take Lindholm, then Morrisey, Santini. Also if Burakowsky is still there after 22 we have to take him. Same goes for Domi but I think both those guys will be goners.

    • piscera.infada

      No love for Rychel at 22? (I would love to see a feature on him – unless, of course, it’s already been done and I just missed it).

      I’m also a big fan of Santini.

      In regards to Arnold, I like the guy (much like I like the Knight acquisition). I think these are the kind of players you can get in the mid-rounds of a draft that you can never really have enough of – 3rd/4th line guys, but can ideally be bumped up if need be. I also think it’s players like this that can surprise. It seems like they all have the work ethic necessary to succeed.

      • piscera.infada

        Although we have no AAA prospects (not sure where sven pans out) guys like this help to give me some faith.

        I would be curious to see some sort of chart showing what % of players from all the feeder leagues make up NHL players. Similarly it would be REALLY nice to see a breakdown of each league and the number of players that make up 1,2,3and 4th lines.

        • piscera.infada

          That would be interesting, but I think over the last 5 (or so) years, the feeder-league dynamics have shifted a bit. I think we’re seeing alot more college players making up central roles in organizations, for instance. That’s why I kind of like this new found college focus Flames management is undergoing. The US development system seems to know how to push out great prospects, and they all play with that certain edge and flair. Just my opinion – it certainly isn’t meant to belittle Canadian and European prospects.

      • piscera.infada

        No sir no Rychel for me. His play was likely enhanced when Khochlachev came back to play for the team. I just don’t believe in him. Too much stock is being out into finding “the next Brad Marchand” IMO. I think Burakowsky, Domi, and Morrisey are all better than him. Rychel is a mid second round talent.

        • piscera.infada

          I don’t feel the love for Morrisey, but that’s just me. And yeah, I’d love Domi – be he’s likely going 10-15. If he’s there at 22, do it.

      • Jeff Lebowski

        I’ve changed my wish list for draft. If they don’t trade up and pick three firsts:

        1-best centre at 6. I used to favour Lindholm over Monahan but not anymore. I’d love either of them.
        2-abrasive scoring winger at 22. Rychel would be perfect (future David Clarkson?) however high snipe ability is paramount. I’d take a lady bing winner here too.
        3-big mobile defenceman at 28. Mobile is primary attribute.

        If D at 22, W at 28 I don’t care. Aw hell, I just hope they take bpa all the time but in that we get some tough to play against guys but guys who don’t live on the boards.

        I really got sick of watching Calgary not be able to play in the middle of the ice ever and getting stymied against the walls. I want a team that can play it any way.

        Arnold: I hope he can skate well. He strikes me as a Stephane Yelle guy. Low maintenance, trustworthy to play simple.

    • piscera.infada

      I don’t know where else I would bring it up but a hockey site…

      Its pretty slow in the off season and there are not a lot of articles to post on, most of them draft related lately (not that I mind).

      I think you missed the point of my post. I was getting at the fact that Burke may be more open minded then he gets credit for is all. We are apparently looking for a hockey ops guy and certainly he could be in the running.

      • I don’t think we can assume his open-mindedness about sexual orientation in sports can necessarily indicate he’s open minded about hockey analysis. Burke has an intensely personal connection to the Right to Play cause thanks to his son’s tragic circumstances, which is no doubt informing his views.

        • piscera.infada

          Agreed. Personal views and hockey views are not necessarily corollary. Burkey is still an old mind in the new NHL. I think the Flames need new blood (new ideas moreover – they have been a stagnant management team for too long; although that seems to be changing – Feaster willing).

          Regardless of why he did it. Props to Burke.

        • piscera.infada

          I am not saying that he is or will be open minded about hockey analysis, but maybe you can teach an old Dinosaur new tricks? 😉

          It is too bad we missed the train on John Davidson…

      • Parallex

        I fail to see how Brian Burke’s support for the GLBT community indicates that he’d be more open-minded with regards to hockey ops… it’s not like ones support for gender & orientation issues is at all related.

        I mean is a close family relative going to come out of the closet as a statistician and as a result change his opinion on where a ideal team should fall on a truculance-possession axis?

        • piscera.infada

          “I mean is a close family relative going to come out of the closet as a statistician and as a result change his opinion on where a ideal team should fall on a truculance-possession axis?”


  • BurningSensation

    Brian Burke, lousy GM, surprisingly decent human being, excellent Dad.

    As for Bill Arnold, I think the Rene Bourque comparison is off, if only because Bourque couldn’t win a face-off to save his life.

    His skill-set just screams ‘shut down pivot’ to me. Maybe he earns some second unit PP time, but all in all, he projects as a decent checker.

  • piscera.infada

    Can we please just get at least 1 if not 2 First line prospects this draft? We could sure use some.

    Ottawa seems to have a really good looking prospect pool to the point that they have a log jam and may have to start pawning off players.

    Jakob Silfverberg, Cory Conacher, Mika Zibanejad and JG Pageau as examples who will all be looking to slot into the lineup.

    I wonder if there is some way to grab up something from them?

  • piscera.infada

    I would take Hartman over Rychel but would be happy with Santini/Morin/Muller/Morrisy with our last pick.

    As far as Bill goes Im not sure I would compare him to Rene at all, I see no resemblance there, if anything hes more of a Rob Niedermayer type guy, and every team needs those types of players to get er done!

  • Franko J

    Nieds is a good comp for Arnold.

    I like how our future bottom six forwards is projecting… similar type of guys as the Kings… but I agree now we have to focus on our top six.

    Reinhart Arnold Bouma Knight Agostino give us a pretty solid bottom six a couple years down the road.

  • RKD

    I still thinking Feaster and Weisbrod are gambling by putting all their eggs in one basket. They seem to love U.S. college players. I would rather have them pick more from the OHL.

    The cupboard is being restocked here: Gaudreau, Ferland, Hanowski, Agostino, Knight, Cundari, Reinhart, Wotherspoon, Gilles, Brossoit, Berra, Howse, Bancks, etc.

    That being said, they still are missing the top elite talent and if they can’t trade up to improve their position in the draft they are best to pick Monahan or Lindholm and try to acquire players by trading with teams who are going to be over the cap.

    Going for Horton, Clarkson, Bozak and Bickell aren’t necessarily bad moves but do they represent a team who wants to win now or later. Having centers closing in on 30 years of age isn’t what this organization needs.

  • The Last Big Bear

    So glad the Flames have guys like this in the system.

    Because 4th line grinders with 3rd line upside are a rare commodity in the ranks of pro hockey.

    Oh, sorry Corban Knight, I didn’t see you standing right there. Next to Max Reinhart. In front of that bus full of UFAs and guys playing in the AHL and Europe who will all gladly play for league minimum.

    • piscera.infada

      I sense your sarcasm.

      I don’t understand the sentiment that only “blue chip” prospects are worth having. The Flames clearly need more (actually; any), but I’m not so sure you can claim that solid bottom rotation guys are just falling from the sky in a cloud of diamonds and rainbows. They aren’t.

      I understand the need for ‘blue chippers’, but I don’t think we can blame the lack thereof on Feaster and his management team. As such, I also believe having the Arnolds, Knights, and Reinharts of the world can only make this team better in the long run – granted, it must be augmented with elite talent. The more of these guys you have in the organization, the more likely you are to be pleasantly surprised by one – see Prust and his ability to move up and down the lineup, as well as be a difference maker.

    • Think of this time as the Flames endlessly sifting through dirt and rock looking for the occasional nugget of gold.

      Chances are, almost all of these guys become little more than replacement level players. There’s a chance, though, that one of them will poke his head above the crowd and become a Dave Bolland, Frans Nielsen, Daniel Winnik, Travis Moen, etc. – middle rotation guys who are as good or better than other depth options.

      These types of guys don’t make a team elite, but they are great support players to slot in behind a elite players. It’s what separates the Blackhawks and Blues of the world from middling clubs who have good top ends but a lousy bottom-6.

  • piscera.infada

    I too am in the camp of I really like the young players coming up & becoming bottom 6 players & maybe, just maybe someone like Reinhart or Knight push up to 2nd line. But we need that exciting electric 1st line. I think Sven has a chance to be one, so file him under hopeful but we gotta find a way to get at least two more hopeful/looks pretty good they will be a top 3 fwd & a top 2 dman. I have lost hope trying to get a top 4 pick, it aint happening. Edwards/Feaster need to throw whatever we can afford at getting that #5. If the Lecalv/Dipietro buyouts are out, then for God sake Edwards needs to flex some financial muscle & use Wideman/ eat 2.0 mill of the salary for the next 4 years & run an internal cap 2 mill less than what we normally would run the next 4 years, & offer Wideman at 3.0mill & the #22 & even another asset like Horak for that #5. That is what Carolina needs right now, a well priced top 4 dman & a 3rd line centre, cap cheap. Monohan/Lindholm & Nichushkin with Sven would be a pretty hopeful #1 line for us Flames fans to get excited about.

    • piscera.infada

      I’ve been on that #5 pick tip for quite awhile now. I think it’s doable. But I would rather use Gio in that trade (I really like Wideman – but that conversation is for another day).

      We also have to keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be done in one draft. I assume we will be challenging for the lottery next year, so why trade anything and everything for right now?

      • I agree we don’t have to do it all this year, but we are so close to nabbing a couple of hopeful top line forwards that I can taste it. Keep in mind, Sven & Monohan & Nichushkin may not all rise to that top line potential, hence the need for some additional hopefuls next year & the year after that. I guess I am as guilty as Edwards for wanting to be back in the playoffs ASAP! I know full well it will take players with high potential a few years to be that high profile #1 line. I guess I am just so sick of having 4-2nd/3rd lines for too many years with veterans that used to be top players.

        This league is becoming more & more of a young mans game. Look at the finals here, kinda boring hockey but the hitting & shot blocking and commitment of these players is horrendously taxing on their bodies. You watch, next year both Boston or Chicago will have to go through a recover year next year. The younger the better the chance they recover from the demands of the league. The younger the easier to control their salaries & that’s why these draft picks are so valuable, more & more GM’s are tuning into what is happening. Players are having great years when they are 26-27 & getting their huge paydays only to have to be bought out after 3-4 years ala Brad Richards & some of these other buyouts we are about to see. It’s madness that is about to get corrected.

  • Greg

    So, assuming Johnny G is in fact in that top 5 somewhere, we have 5 of our top 15 prospects (and 3 of the top 10) in the US College ranks.

    Is anyone else getting nervous that some of these guys will choose to go UFA and not even end up here?

    • Franko J

      I think with what Justin Schultz did last year has set a precedence for NCAA players. We see Corbin Knight do it this year, so whose to know that Arnold or Gaudreau won’t do the same thing. Only time will tell, but my senses tell me one if not both of these prospects will not sign with the Flames.

      As for the draft, I think with Feaster trying to move up over this past weekend with no avail has hindered the Flames chances going top 3 or 4. While Feaster has made it public to rest of the teams in the top 5 the Flames are willing to trade up, the cost for trading up has grown exponential. Maybe the asking price is too steep and the Flames will keep their three picks.

  • The Last Big Bear


    I agree completely Kent, believe me, I am the world’s biggest advocate of longer development timelines. I don’t even mind this approach. If you’re panning for gold, then a pile of 6+ ft 200+lb centremen is a good place to start.

    My sarcasm was more a lament that outside of the 3 B’s, nobody in the Flames system looks to me like an impact player. I’m still just seeing pan after pan of river rocks.

  • Franko J

    I concur. Not only does a good bottom 6 separate the great from the good… it can separate the decent from the terrible. Look at Tampa… Pretty good top 6 with stamkos st louis purcell malone lecavalier… but past that not a whole lot on the roster.

  • SmellOfVictory

    Do think that this guy is a quality prospect, one who shows up in all three zones. Thought he was solid in the WJHC here in Calgary. And with his resume including two Frozen Four appearances as a key player in a highly ranked NCAA program, I think Arnold has good upside talent and leadership wise.

    The NCAA players that the Flames now have in their stable have and will continue to mature playing a high level of competitive hockey without having to turn pro until roughly 22. With Hanowski, Knight and Ramage on the come, I, for one, am keenly anticipating their first full training camp and shot at the big time.