The Calgary Flames are pushing for a playoff spot. Down in the American Hockey League, the Adirondack Flames are doing the same thing. But there’s a bunch of other players in the Flames organization who are also toiling away, working towards (eventual) NHL opportunities.
So on this sleepy Sunday, how are the Flames (non-pro) prospects doing? (European prospects exempted because they both already finished their seasons.)
CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
SAM BENNETT – KINGSTON FRONTENACS
You may have heard of this kid. He’s 18. Spent majority of the season in Calgary rehabbing an injured shoulder. He’s played 9 games with Kingston. He’s got 21 points, including 11 goals. He’s doing well, and helping Kingston (who’ve already clinched a playoff spot) potentially move up a bit in the standings. Bennett’s doing well.
HUNTER SMITH – OSHAWA GENERALS
By coincidence, Oshawa plays Kingston tonight for the first time since Bennett returned to the OHL. Smith has had a decent season himself, with 48 points (and 22 goals) in 56 games. I’d be concerned about his penalty minutes, though: he’s got 115 PIMs this season, including 80 that aren’t related to fights. I mean, he’s big and uses his size, but that’s more than a penalty per game. Oshawa’s clinched their division, by the way.
MASON McDONALD – CHARLOTTETOWN ISLANDERS
The Islanders have clinched a playoff spot but their placement is unclear in the mess that is the QMJHL standings. However, McDonald has quietly been one of that league’s top netminders – his .906 save percentage is third in the league – and he’s played more games than all but three Q goaltenders.
AUSTIN CARROLL – VICTORIA ROYALS
If you asked me what I’d hoped an over-age season would look like for a junior player, it’d be Carroll’s year. He leads Victoria with 76 points in 67 games and he’s the straw that stirs the drink for them. They’ve clinched a playoff spot, too. Like Smith, I’m a bit concerned about his discipline though – 122 PIMs this season, including three fights.
MORGAN KLIMCHUK – BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
The Wheaties have already clinched their division. Klimchuk has had a good season, with 73 points (and 32 goals) in 57 games. He’s only got 22 penalty minutes, which seems to indicate that he’s (a) not worse than the players he’s against and (b) disciplined. He’ll be a pro next season, most definitely.
ERIC ROY – BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
Roy has had a decent over-age season on Brandon’s second pairing, with 43 points (5 goals) in 63 games. He’s not blowing the doors off, so to speak, but he’s not a tire-fire, either. He’s simply not an exceptional junior player right now.
KEEGAN KANZIG – CALGARY HITMEN
Kanzig is fairly typical of a big Calgary Flames prospect. His scoring isn’t amazing – 22 points (3 goals) in 66 games – but he sure does take penalties and fight a lot. He’s got 164 penalty minutes and is third in the WHL with 14 fighting majors. Interpret that as you care to. Calgary will be in the playoffs, and has clinched a spot.
MATTHEW DEBLOUW – MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Deblouw had a rough sophomore season, playing fourth line minutes and getting bumped out of the line-up quite a bit. He’s been a lot better this season, putting up 13 points in 34 games and contributing 3 game-winning goals. His face-off numbers are down from last season (49%), but he’s been strong late in the season. He’s probably not a prospect of note, but he’s definitely recovered from that awful last season. And hey, he’s a seventh rounder, so expectations (and investment) is low. Michigan State begins the playoffs next weekend.
TIM HARRISON – COLGATE RAIDERS
Harrison had 10 points in 35 games for the Raiders, and continues to be a role guy for his team. He’s big, he hits guys and he occasionally takes penalties. He’s not an offensive powerhouse, but he’s still added three game-winning goals, so at least he picks his spots. Colgate has advanced to the second round of the ECAC playoffs.
MARK JANKOWSKI – PROVIDENCE COLLEGE FRIARS
The Big Jankowski has had a decent year, with 23 points in 32 games. He’s gone through stretches when he’s barely scored, and stretches where he’s scored in bunches. He’s a good face-off guy, and his coach praised his play in last night’s game with New Hampshire. The Friars play again tonight in the deciding game of their opening-round series.
JOHN GILMOUR – PROVIDENCE COLLEGE FRIARS
Gilmour recently returned from an injury. He amassed 11 points in 25 games this season, which isn’t bad for a late-round college defenseman. He’s fine. He was second star in PC’s win against New Hampshire yesterday.
JON GILLIES – PROVIDENCE COLLEGE FRIARS
Gillies has had another strong college season, passing the 100-game mark in his conference and continuing to have a save percentage around the .930 mark. He continues to be one of the best collegiate goaltenders in the nation. Keep an eye on the Friars, because as soon as their season is over, he could go pro. Maybe.
BRANDON HICKEY – BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS
Two years younger than Gilmour, Hickey is already off to a strong start to his college career with a strong Boston University squad. He has 15 points in 35 games thus far, largely playing second-pairing minutes. BU has advanced to the next round of the Hockey East playoffs. I wouldn’t be shocked if they went far.