News and Notes – March 11 2014

There are no games today for your Calgary Flames. But the team did have an optional practice, which has heavily skewed towards the younger players in terms of attendance. With a bit of a slower day around here, why not a quick run-through of what’s going on.


Good news! Curtis Glencross and Kevin Westgarth are playing on Wednesday. Also good news: Tyler Wotherspoon is basically fine and will also (probably) play, according to coach Bob Hartley. This possibly means someone like Ben Hanowski will get scratched. That’s just a guess, though.

Other guys hurt include (deep breath):

  • Dennis Wideman (week-to-week)
  • Markus Granlund (unclear timeline)
  • Karri Ramo (potentially back next week or week after)
  • Jiri Hudler (day-to-day)
  • David Jones (out)

For the curious, Michael Ferland is in town and was seen at the ‘Dome. My guess is he was checking in with team doctors following his knee surgery. If he’s smart, he’ll be doing what Lance Bouma was doing last year and living in the video room as much as he can. Ferland has the exact skill-set (big, mean and mobile) that te Flames desperately need.


The folks over at Hockey’s Future have updated their Flames top 20 prospect rankings. While I admit that I’m not crazy about their arbitrary ranking and projection system, I’m always interested in what they have to say. Here’s their top 10 (full list here):

  1. Sean Monahan
  2. Johnny Gaudreau
  3. Sven Baertschi
  4. Max Reinhart
  5. Corban Knight
  6. Mark Jankowski
  7. Tyler Wotherspoon
  8. Patrick Sieloff
  9. Emile Poirier
  10. Jon Gillies

First question: Where’s Markus Granlund? (He’s 14th). I’m also not 100% sold on Reinhart or Jankowski being that high. Granted, when I rank prospects, I treat it as if I’m picking teams in shinny – I just want the guy who’s going to be the best for my team, not necessarily the guy who’s best now. Jankowski definitely has a lot of potential, but Reinhart arguably has the highest “floor.” Also, given how much he’s torn up the Q, Poirier is probably too low.

Needless to say, it’s nice that the Flames finally have some depth. Our buddy Jonathan Willis ranked the 30 NHL teams by prospect pool over at Bleacher Report. He ranked Calgary 8th, which shocked even him, but Calgary’s lack of defensive prospects (outside of maybe Tyler Wotherspoon) is a spot of concern.

By the by, we’ve begun the process for the hotly-debated Flames 15 for this coming year. The wonderous Justin Azevedo is spear-heading it again. I’m excited to see who moves up and who moves down.


You laughed as poor Eddie Lack gave up seven goals in the third period of last night’s epic 7-4 Canucks collapse, didn’t you? I feel bad for some of the players, but the Canucks are resembling the late Darryl Sutter Flames more and more with each passing day.

And it’s sad, because the Canucks were easily Canada’s best shot over the past decade at winning a Stanley Cup, yet they just couldn’t get the job done – whether because of luck, injuries or occasionally downright dumb roster moves. I can see why that fanbase would be as frustrated as they seem to be now.

  • beloch

    Guess who’s #6 on the team prospect rankings? Detroit. They haven’t tanked for picks in a long, long time. Year in, year out, they avoid going on epic buying sprees and concentrate on quietly developing talent and occasionally bringing in a few picks with the surplus. I’d love to see Burke abandon the idea of being a “buyer” and just concentrate on sustaining support for the farm long-term. This is how teams stay good for decades.

  • EugeneV

    I asked this yesterday in another post, but what about if our first this year is in the 5 – 8 range?
    Should we then look to trade down, and maybe pick up Fleury mid first and Virtanen in the second?

    what about trading our pick to the Isles if Buff takes their first this year? maybe for their 2015 first and Ryan Pulock?

    • T&A4Flames

      You obviously read Button’s prospect list. Don’t pay attention to that, Virtanen is not falling to the 2nd round and I’d be shocked of Fleury fell out of the top 10, being that he is the 2nd best Dman in the draft.

      • McRib

        Agree, Jake Virtanen is a Top. 15 in almost every other ranking outside of Craig Button’s. Which makes me think his brother (our head scout Todd Button) will not draft Virtanen (which would be a reach for the Flames at 4-6 anyway).

        Glad Leon Draisaitl jumped up in Craig’s ranking this month kid has been on fire and was worried the Flames might not draft him considering. I think we will end up with either a Leon Draisaitl or Michael Dal Colle, like both and they are no brainers in that range with big frames for Burkie.

        Its our other picks that I am worried about with Burkies drafting “big” philosophies. I hope we don’t reach for no skilled big prospects with our 2nd/3rd rounders, but he can’t go wrong with our Top. 10 pick.

    • beloch

      When has trading down ever worked? Seems like a “we are smarter than everyone else” move. Cringe….

      I don’t think we have to worry about not being top 5. It would take a minor miracle to draft anywhere but top 5 given the gap between the bottom 5 and 6.

      I predict we finish 28th (ahead of Buffalo & Florida) and win the lottery to get 1st overall. The Coilers ‘won’ the lottery one year, the hockey god’s need to balance the universe.


  • McRib

    Morgan Klimchuk is not even in the Top. 10? Hahaha. Hockeys Future is a joke. I have said it before, but I still don’t understand all the hype for Curtis Lazar…. (Read Jonathan Willis comments on Ottawa’s System)

    Morgan Klimchuk has 1.31 PPG compared to Lazar’s 1.29 PPG in their +1 Draft Seasons and Klimchuk has battled injury twice this season and is on the weaker team. They both are character kids and gym rats off the ice that will keep growing games, but Klimchuk has more offensive tools in my opinion going forwad. People talk about Lazar as a Top. 10 Prospect in the world yet no one even mentions Klimchuk at all when discussing the Flames Prospects…

    Recently Hockey News Ranked the Flames 24th in Future Watch which is laughable (They have Anthony Mantha in the Top. 10 who outside of producing goals is utterly useless and has a long way to go to be an NHLer), but regardess it clearly shows how much weight world junior apperances goes into most peoples rakings, because IMO Klimchuk and Poirier are as underrated as they get in the NHL. For most people to have us as a Top. 10 system currently this considering shows how great our depth is elsewere.

  • McRib

    My Top 15 Flames Prospects (Couldn’t do a Top. 10): 1. Johnny Gaudreau 2. Emile Poirier 3. Markus Granlund 4. Sven Baertschi 5. Morgan Klimchuk 6. Jon Gillies 7. Tyler Wotherpoon 8. Michael Ferland 9. Max Reinhart 10. Bill Arnold 11. Corbin Knight 12. Patrick Sieloff 13. Mark Jankowski 14. Brett Kulak 15. Eric Roy

    Even if you disagree with the order that is a lot of quality players in the past guys like Corbin Knight & Max Reinhart would have been Top. 2-3 Prospects in our 1990-2000 systems. I agree with Jonathan Willis “…the number of quality forwards in the system is almost shocking”.

  • EugeneV

    Some sad news.

    SAGINAW, Mich. — Officials with the Saginaw Spirit say Michigan State Police have told them that the body of missing junior hockey player Terry Trafford has been found.

    A man’s body was found Tuesday afternoon in an SUV matching the description of one belonging to Trafford in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Saginaw County’s Saginaw Township.

    Trafford reportedly last was seen about 9:30 a.m. on March 3 at the Dow Event Center, the home arena for the Spirit.

    In a statement on the Ontario Hockey League team’s website, the Spirit offered condolences to Trafford’s family and his friends in Ontario and Michigan.

    Saginaw Spirit president Craig Goslin had said Trafford was sent home prior to his disappearance “for a violation of rules,” but said Trafford wasn’t permanently cut from the team.

    At one point in the search, police said they believed Trafford, a centre with the Spirit, might have left the state to return to his hometown of Toronto.

    “On behalf of the Spirit we would like to thank the police who were looking for Terry,” the team said in a statement.

    “We have reached out to Terry’s parents and will look to provide them with support over the coming days.”

    OHL commissioner David Branch issued a statement expressing condolences to Trafford’s family and friends, saying it’s “a tragic situation for all involved.”

    He thanked police for their efforts, and said the league will co-operate with any investigations into Trafford’s death.

    Trafford spent four seasons with the Spirit, with 29 goals and 49 assists. He had eight goals and 24 assists this season.

    Skye Cieszlak told The Saginaw News that she and Trafford have dated since 2010 and that he “was devastated” after the team sent him home “for partying on a road trip.”

    Cieszlak said Trafford sent her a text message Sunday that said, “his life was over and that he didn’t want to do it anymore.”

    The league said Wednesday’s game between the Spirit and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds has been postponed, and will be rescheduled at a later date.

    — with files from The Associated Press

  • prendrefeu

    Does anyone know how Sieloff is doing? We know an ingrown hair gave him a horrific infection , but I can’t find updates on his status. Because he is off the radar we forget to check our criticism on the Janowski pick. He is ranked highly here, despite a formative development year being written off and I am surprised.

    • beloch

      From the sounds of it, Sieloff was sidelined by that infection for most of the season and was only starting to get back into off-ice workouts in January (I haven’t found anything more recent). You’ve got to feel for a kid who makes it into the AHL only to be laid low by bacteria after playing just 2 games! He’s active on twitter and hasn’t fallen off the face of the planet. If he’s not back this season he definitely will be next season. Sieloff is still a prospect.

      Keep those pads clean kids!

      Jankowski’s stat-line is… underwhelming. However, he’s playing on a pretty craptastic team (aside from it’s goalie) and has taken modest steps forward despite not getting a lot of help out there. One has to wonder how he’d be doing if he’d been playing on a line with Gaudreau and Arnold all season! Janks is still just 19 and has plenty of time to figure things out. I certainly wouldn’t write him off just yet. The consensus, even when he was drafted, was that he’d be a long-term project.

    • McRib

      I actually know his family in Michigan…he has been in Calgary since January getting in shape with the Flames trainers. He is now off his meds and is targeting to play with the Heat this year, hopefully in the playoffs.

      In response to another question I would target his ceiling as a 3-4 guy. He is not going to get you many points but as an opposing forward you will be aware of his speed and physical presence. This kid is really tough!

        • McRib

          Not worried about that. The Heat are entrenched in a playoff spot and will soon be getting some of there top players back from the Flames.

          I am a bit worried by there goaltending..I think we are starting to see what the Oilers have seen in Olivier. He is simply not very good. Macdonald should help when he returns.

  • xploD

    Yeah the last thing I read on his twitter was about 3 weeks ago and he said he was soon to hit the ice, haven’t heard anything since. Wondering if he is gonna play sometime soon.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Depends on who you ask, and whether or not you agree with the conventional wisdom on the Nations Network about draft year NHLE being a significant predictor of NHL success.

        Some people think he’ll be the next Robyn Regehr or Hal Gill.

        His NHLE suggests his chances of ever being a career NHLer are basically zero.

        IIRC there has been literally ONE full-time NHLer in the last decade or so (who’s not a pure enforcer) with a worse draft year NHLE (it was Mark Fistric).

        I’m leaning more towards the NHLE side of things. I think Sieloff will be lucky to be the next Matt Pelech.

        Edited to note: I was wrong, Mark Fistric’s draft year NHLE was significantly better than Sieloff’s. And his Draft+1 production was more than double Sieloff’s. Which means I don’t think any player with a draft year NHLE as bad as Sieloff has ever become a full-time NHLer in the last decade or so.

        • Parallex

          Wow…I think you really have a wrong read on Seiloff! Totally incorrect on all counts.

          But then of course you are entitled to your opinion..that is the great thing about FN!

          • The Last Big Bear

            Well since my post consists mainly of verifiable facts, and I am incorrect on all of them, feel free to correct me.

            Im incorrect that draft and draft+1 NHLE strongly correlates with NHL success? I believe you’ll find that it does.

            That Sieloff’s NHLE was/is catastrophically bad? Because it is. His draft year NHLE is literally ZERO.

            I’m wrong that literally not one single player since the 2005 lockout has ever made the NHL with an NHLE that bad? It may have happened, but I’m not aware of it. Do you know of examples to the contrary?

            If you’re going to say I’m wrong on all counts, then please provide me with the correct facts.

            Defensive defencemen in the NHL don’t develop from defensive defenders in juniors. They develop from elite 2-way defenders who produce loads of points in juniors. Guys like Regehr and Sarich? They were producing 0.5+ PPG in juniors by their draft+1 year, with Sarich topping a point-per-game in the Dub. Those are the guys who become stay-at-home NHLers.

            If you have the hockey IQ to be a full-time NHL defenceman, then you have the hockey IQ to put up a few points in juniors just by positioning and safe passes alone.

            The guys who are stay at home no-production guys in juniors don’t become stay-at-home no-production NHL defenders. They become real estate agents and assistant managers at Rona, getting regular jobs like the rest of us slobs.

            I’m incorrect? Show me some exceptions. Show me some full- time roster NHLers who put up less than 0.1 PPG in juniors in their draft year. That’s a pool of thousands and thousands of draftees, and hundreds of NHLers. Surely if I’m wrong you can show some examples?

            I’ll wait.

          • McRib

            “The guys are stay at home no-production guys in juniors don’t become stay-at-home no-production NHL defenders. They become real estate agents and assistant managers at Rona.”

            HAHA lol…..

      • McRib

        Not sure if he has enough Offense Upside to be a 1-2 think he could end up being a very solid 3-4 best when partnered with a two-way guy, so that he plays it safe while linemate heads up ice. Worst case he ends up as a 4-5 have a hard time believing he doesn’t end up as an NHLer. People just rave about this kids character it has been awhile since a strickly stay-at-home Junior defender has gotten this much hype and for good reason.

      • Parallex

        Honestly… I’d say bottom pairing. I’d say that about just about every blueliner in the Flames system at present actually. It’s a point of organizational weakness.

  • Parallex

    The top 3 are probably spot on, but you’d think Granlund, Poirier and Klimchuk would be the next 3 (not in any particular order). Corban Knight looks to be a pretty solid player but he’s probably slated for a bottom 6, possibly a depth 2nd line center role when a future Flames team runs into injury problems. Same with Reinhart on the wing.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I double checked my numbers, Sieloff’s draft year NHLE actually rounds to 1 point, not 0 points.

    Still pretty sure no player with an NHLE of 1 has ever made a career in the NHL.