FlamesNation Prospect Profile: #18 Austin Carroll

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We continue our Top 20 countdown of the Calgary Flames top prospects with 2014 seventh round pick Austin Carroll.

Carroll was a bit of a controversial pick among Flames fans in 2014; he was almost 20 at the time and the thought process was “Hey, why not just draft a young kid as a project?” Now just over a year later, Carroll has a professional contract in his back pocket and may have quieted his critics somewhat with his final WHL season.

Carroll’s a unique property, in the sense that he’s both (a) a late bloomer and (b) a product of the Arizona minor hockey system. Yep, Arizona. A 1994 birthday, Carroll would’ve been in his formative hockey-watching years right as the Coyotes quietly became good, which no doubt influenced his choice to play the game of ice hockey.

After getting drafted by Chilliwack Bruins in 2009, Carroll soon migrated to the junior A BCHL and then leaped to the WHL in 2011-12 with the relocated Victoria Royals. The good thing about him is that he’s shown progression.

Season GP Pts Pt/GP
2011-12 62 20 0.323
2012-13 67 42 0.627
2013-14 70 57 0.814
2014-15 69 77 1.116

On one hand? Good! He’s getting better relative to the rest of the league. He generated a lot of points, too. And in his final season in Victoria, as an over-age player, he was very good. But there’s the rub – he was an over-age player.

Carroll is a big body, listed as 6’3″ and 215 pounds on the WHL website. He’s got decent mobility and hands, but his success in the WHL in terms of his counting stats derived from him being bigger and older than most of the other players in the league. And his style of play relies upon size; he’s a crash and bang winger with a decent shot who plays the right side. He’s good in the corners. He was big enough at the end of his WHL run to muscle opponents off of pucks and retain possession. And he’s big enough to muscle his way to the front of the net and skilled enough, relative to the WHL at least, to score from those situations.

The size aspect probably appeals to the Flames. The right-handed aspect probably appeals to the Flames. But at this point, he’ll need a year of professional hockey under his belt before anybody knows what he is at the AHL (or NHL) levels. That said, the success that he had in the WHL and the style of game that he plays lends itself more to bottom-six forward duties in the professional ranks, as everybody’s big in the pros.

It probably says a lot that looking for YouTube highlights of Carroll resulted in a bunch of fight videos, and this:

We’ve got the benefit of hindsight now. Anybody else the Flames would’ve have drafted in the 7th round in the 2014 Draft probably wouldn’t be turning pro this season. Anybody else would still be in junior. In Carroll, the Flames seemed to have taken a calculated risk: he’s got the size they like and he’s a right-handed shot, something they don’t have very much of in the organization. The next season of hockey will go a long way towards determining if Brad Treliving’s late-round gamble was a masterstroke or a minor misstep.

  • everton fc

    I think Carroll will surprise everyone at camp and in Stockton. Quickly. Ditto Hathaway.

    Can you imagine Ferland on the left, Carroll on the right, with a centre like Backlund, Arnold or Granlund? Perhaps we’ll see a bit of this at camp.

    • everton fc

      In response to the bit in the article. . .

      “Carroll’s a unique property, in the sense that he’s both (a) a late bloomer and (b) a product of the Arizona minor hockey system. Yep, Arizona. A 1994 birthday, Carroll would’ve been in his formative hockey-watching years right as the Coyotes quietly became good, which no doubt influenced his choice to play the game of ice hockey.”

  • Honestly, considering how infrequently 7th round picks work out, I can’t see this pick ever being a true “mistake.” He’s no world-beater, but you never know, he could be a useful addition somewhere in the bottom-6!

  • Cfan in Vic

    I was quite pleased when they drafted Carrol. I watched him play for the Royals quite a bit, and he always came off as a hard worker on every shift and one of the forwards to keep an eye on.

    For a 7th rounder, can’t really complain. Looking forward to seeing how he does in Stockton.

  • The Last Big Bear

    “That Carroll kid was pretty good as an overager in the CHL… We’d better rank him above that guy who captained ‘Russia’ (lol wherever THAT is). I mean, what is a ‘Superseries’ or a ‘World Junior Championship’ anyways? They’re not on my NHLe table, they sound made up to me.”

    -FlamesNation, apparently.

    Edited to add: (I actually like the series, but will provide my feedback mostly through the medium of sarcasm. Also, I liked seeing the breakdown in where each prospect was ranked by each Nations contributor.)

  • wot96

    I said it on the Hathaway post and I’ll say it here, who does this guy displace in the bottom six given all the traffic ahead of him? Do they even get to play for the Flames, and if they don’t, is that a bad thing? No.

    Asset management is all this is about for the Flames. So it is good to know they have some assets they picked up late. Good for the player; good for the team.

    As for the analysis, can you explain how we are calling some guy at 19 near NHL ready, and the guy at 18 a few years away, when they are both big, bottom six types? Not that I’m trying to mock an advanced stats site, and I’m not because I haven’t put any real effort into understanding it properly but what system of measurement was used to objectively assess these players because, well…you know, it is an advanced stats site and we have come to expect some appropriate methodology here – and usually get it.

    Except for Floob. He can do what he likes.

  • CofRed4Life

    As I’ve said before, he was very good in camp last year and went to the net with conviction. He has enough of what it takes to get to the NHL (decent hands, no fear, good skater, tough). I don’t expect him to make the Flames out of camp but with hard work and a good bounce or two, he could be a late season call-up. A 7th round bargain in my books…

  • Skuehler

    Austin is what Burke calls ‘a hockey player’. He plays hard and heavy and has most of the tools. He will create space and turnovers for guys like Bennett. He will get a solid opportunity with this org. He comes from the same line as Gio, Bouma, Byron, Ferland, Jooris, Elson, etc – ‘fringe’ players that work their way into peoples radar and buy into the Flames systems.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Flames ranked number 9 on Pronman’s prospect ranking. This, after the graduation of our best prospect last year… Gaudreau. This team will only get better and better!