Flames Re-Assign Ryan Culkin to Adirondack Thunder

Start paying attention to the ECHL, gang, because the Calgary Flames have finally put a player with a valid NHL contract in hockey’s AA pro league.

Earlier today, the Flames announced that they’ve re-assigned defenseman Ryan Culkin from the AHL’s Stockton Heat to the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder. The Heat also released goalie Eric Hartzell from his try-out due to the arrival for Kevin Poulin. (The moves leave the Heat with 24 healthy players, including eight defensemen.)

Culkin, 21, suffered a shoulder injury during the Penticton YoungStars Classic tournament in late September and has been on the mend ever since. He’s finally recovered, but having missed all of training camp, the decision was likely made to give him a chance to get up to speed in a league that – while good – is a bit of a step down in latent from the American Hockey League.

Culkin’s familiar with the area, having played all of last season (prior to his nasty wrist injury) with the AHL’s Adirondack Flames in the same market and building. If nothing else, he’ll know where to park.

The Thunder boast an impressive 8-1-0 record through the regular season so far. They’re down in Georgia tonight to play the Atlanta Gladiators, then face the Greenville Swamp Rabbits tomorrow night before returning to Glens Falls for a 8am MT game on Wednesday that’s likely due to a school event of some kind.

  • McRib

    This is what happens when NHL Teams are absolutely unwilling to give NHL ready players a chance (Kulak, Nakladal) and instead prefer to hold onto replacement level washed up NHLers (Smid, Engelland, Russell). This rebuild can truly start to progress when Bob Hartley isn’t burying young players (besides exceptional talents like Gaudreau, Bennett, Monahan). Today’s NHL is a young players game, it’s time we get a coach who recognizes that.

    What kind of message does it send to our AHL players when Brett Kulak earns a spot on the NHL roster with a fantastic training camp. He then plays extremely well at the NHL level, but is still sent down weeks after the season starts… It’s not motivating to play well on the farm that’s for sure. How’s Stockton doing again this year… Exactly!!!! What a great way to disenfranchise all of your young AHL talent. I don’t blame Agostino, Poirier, Arnold, etc for slow starts to the season. I frankly wouldn’t want to be a prospect in Bob Harteys world.