Report: Keegan Kanzig Sent Back To The Hitmen

In a move that isn’t all that surprising given the sheer amount of defensemen presently on their American League affiliate, reports are that the Calgary Flames have re-assigned defender Keegan Kanzig back to the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.

The move has appeared on the AHL’s transactions page – a source that is usually very accurate – and comes as the Stockton Heat temporarily had 10 healthy defensemen with the return of Ryan Culkin to the land of the healthy (and able to play).

The big wrinkle is what happens to Kanzig next; the Hitmen already have three 1995-born players (“overagers”) on their active roster in goalie Brendan Burke, defender Colby Harmsworth and forward Jackson Houck. Once Kanzig is officially back with the Hitmen, the club has two weeks to move one of their fourth 20-year-olds, and can only dress three in any particular game. Considering the team just acquired Houck I’d be shocked if they moved him, but any of the other three players (Burke, Harmsworth or Kanzig) could be on the move. Considering Kanzig’s reputation as a tough customer and a valuable physical presence, the Hitmen could use him as a big bargaining chip to improve their team – especially now that they’re without Jake Virtanen.

Down on the farm, the Stockton Heat now sit with nine defenders on their roster: Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, Oliver Kylington, Tyler Wotherspoon, Dustin Stevenson, Kenney Morrison, Patrick Sieloff, Jakub Nakladal and Aaron Johnson. Kanzig had gotten into just one game in the AHL and given the numbers game, seemingly the decision was made to send him to junior rather than demote him to the streaking Adirondack Thunder in the ECHL. I’d rather have seen him stay in pro and go to the ECHL so he could play against men and work on building his foot-speed and positioning at the pro level, but seemingly the decision was made to let him go back to dominating boys in the Dub.

(Stick-tap to the Calgary Sun’s Randy Sportak for mentioning this transaction on Twitter.)

  • Colin.S

    A guy who had 7 points in 70 games in the WHL and has questionable foot speed isn’t able to be a regular defence in the AHL, colour me shocked.

    If the Flames had instead just drafted the guy with the highest PPG in the CHL(edit: I believe this is the Sham Sharron method of drafting) at that spot in the draft the Flames would have Anthony Duclair instead. How great would that be.

    • To echo Kent’s tweet from Twitter earlier:

      They could have had Duclair or Bjorkstrand.

      To go even further, the Flames could have also drafted: Mattias Janmark (in Dallas currently), Cole Cassels (Vancouver), and/or Sven Andrighetto.

        • everton fc

          Duclair and Bjorkstrand were both in the conversation for the first round. People in the hockey community were pretty much unilaterally astonished at how far Duclair fell.

          • supra steve

            And as is always the case, when it comes time to make a selection, the only list that matters is the one held by the organization making the pick. Highly touted players “fall” every year (see Killington, Oliver). Sometimes they turn out to be the “steal” of the draft, and often they prove the scouts that passed them over to be completely correct for passing. Long story short, Calgary was not the only organization that passed over these players (just like they passed on Killington with the Andersson pick). Using hindsight to criticize picking Kanzig over another player, 2+ years after the draft, is a complete waste of time.

            I have been a BIG fan of Flame drafting in the last several years, beats the heck out of the drafting from the 20 odd years that preceded it.

  • Peplinski's Thunderbird

    I saw Kanzig play a few times during his time with Victoria, and while I wasn’t blown away, he seemed capable defensively if I remember correctly.

    Was there any reason why he wasn’t assigned to the ECHL right away? I thought him being 20 allows the flames to get around the chl transfer rules.

    • Colin.S

      His large size and if he has good positioning can hide the lack of foot speed in the CHL, however in the AHL and to a larger extant the NHL, bad foot speed will be exposed sooner rather than later. Look at Luke Schenn, his foot speed is now being exposed and he’s a depth guy instead of the top pairing he was expected to be when he was drafted.

  • McRib

    At least we learned our lesson and only drafted the no talent big “gritty” defender (Riley Bruce) in the 7th round this year, instead of the 3rd. I didn’t know if I should cry or laugh when we took Kanzig on the day of the draft. What a bad pick from the moment it happened he should have never been anything more than a 7th rounder flyer, I think it had something to do with Dave Lowry his coach in Victoria saying he was a “great character kid”.