Back in the summer time, the FlamesNation crew sat down and hashed out the rankings of the 20 best Calgary Flames prospects. That was completed back in early September, and we’ve had almost a full hockey season since then and the Flames have acquired a few prospects in the interim. Thus, there’s quite a lot to digest in regards to the composition and performance of the Flames’ young up-and-comers this season.
Let’s check in and see how the organization’s prospects have done this year, shall we?
Our requirement for “what makes somebody a prospect” was fairly simple: Calder Trophy eligibility. From the NHL, here’s the full definition of what makes somebody eligible:
To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25
games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of
any two preceding seasons in any major professional league. Beginning
in 1990-91, to be eligible for this award a player must not have
attained his twenty-sixth birthday by September 15th of the season in which he is eligible.
In essence, you qualify for our Top 20 Prospects ranking by being:
- A player on the Flames reserve list (e.g., recent draft pick or signed to an NHL contract)
- Not yet 26 by September 15, 2015
- Having played fewer than 25 NHL games in any single preceding season (or fewer than 6 games in any two preceding seasons) [Drew Shore, Markus Granlund and Joni Ortio weren’t eligible last summer because of this provision, nor was Freddie Hamilton after he joined the Flames organization.]
THE TOP 20, IN TABLE FORM
|1||Sam Bennett||19||Calgary (NHL)||64gp, 15g/17a||42.3|
|2||Jon Gillies||22||Stockton (AHL)||2-3-1, .920sv||n/a|
|3||Emile Poirier||21||Stockton (AHL)||47gp, 11g/13a||19.8|
|4||Oliver Kylington||18||Stockton (AHL)||34gp, 4g/5a||10.3|
|5||Morgan Klimchuk||21||Stockton (AHL)||38gp, 3g/4a||7.1|
|6||Rasmus Andersson||19||Barrie (OHL)||59gp, 8g/49a||24.9|
|7||Brandon Hickey||19||Boston University (NCAA)||33gp, 5g/3a||7.3|
|8||Tyler Wotherspoon||22||Calgary (NHL)
|9||Bill Arnold||23||Stockton (AHL)||36gp, 7g/10a||18.3|
|10||Mark Jankowski||21||Providence College (NCAA)||34gp, 15g/23a||33.8|
|11||Kenney Morrison||24||Stockton (AHL)||28gp, 2g/7a||12.5|
|12||Andrew Mangiapane||19||Barrie (OHL)||53gp, 46g/44a||43.8|
|13||Ryan Culkin||22||Stockton (AHL)
|14||Kenny Agostino||23||Stockton (AHL)||49gp, 17g/25a||33.2|
|15||Hunter Smith||20||Stockton (AHL)||38gp, 1g/4a||5.1|
|16||Mason McDonald||19||Charlottetown (QMJHL)||17-15-3, .896sv||n/a|
|17||Brett Kulak||22||Calgary (NHL)
|18||Austin Carroll||21||Stockton (AHL)||40gp, 4g/5a||8.7|
|19||Garnet Hathaway||24||Calgary (NHL)
|20||Rushan Rafikov||20||Admiral Vladvostok (KHL)
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
HK Ryazan (VHL)
Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
UNRANKED, BUT ELIGIBLE
|Riley Bruce||18||North Bay (OHL)||52gp, 1g/10a||5.5|
|Matt DeBlouw||22||Michigan State (NCAA)||25gp, 7g/7a||16.0|
|Turner Elson||23||Stockton (AHL)||48gp, 11g/15a||21.0|
|John Gilmour||22||Providence College (NCAA)||30gp, 9g/14a||23.2|
|Derek Grant||25||Calgary (NHL)
|Tim Harrison||22||Colgate (NCAA)||36gp, 8g/9a||9.0|
|Keegan Kanzig||21||Stockton (AHL)
|Pavel Karnaukhov||18||Calgary (WHL)||47gp, 12g/18a||14.0|
|Adam Ollas Mattsson||19||Djurgardens IF (SHL)||22gp, 1g/3a||9.0|
|Brett Pollock||19||Edmonton (WHL)||65gp, 25g/43a||23.3|
|Kevin Poulin||25||Stockton (AHL)||10-7-2, .845sv||n/a|
|Nick Schneider||18||Medicine Hat (WHL)||17-24-1, .898sv||n/a|
|Hunter Shinkaruk||21||Stockton (AHL)
|Patrick Sieloff||21||Stockton (AHL)||36gp, 1g/6a||7.5|
|Bryce van Brabant||24||Stockton (AHL)||46gp, 7g/5a||10.1|
- Sam Bennett is a regular NHL player now, and has quietly become a pretty good one. He’s eighth in rookie scoring.
- Andrew Mangiapane is a very strong OHL player, and scores a ton. He, Derek Grant and Bennett are the only Flames prospects with NHLEs north of 40.
- Kenny Agostino and Mark Jankowski are virtually identical statistically when you control for league differences. Hunter Shinkaruk also projects, points-wise, to be part of this “pretty good but not great” cluster.
- John Gilmour, Rasmus Andersson, Garnet Hathaway, Brett Pollock, Turner Elson and Nick Schneider are also having pretty solid seasons in their various levels.
- Emile Poirier just hasn’t been great this season. His ticket to the NHL is going to be his offense, and he just hasn’t put it together lately.
- Morgan Klimchuk hasn’t been amazing offensively, though his defensive play has drawn some nice responses from Stockton regulars. When you account for his style of play and his size, his play away from the puck was always going to be what got him to the NHL. He’s coming along slowly, but steadily.
- Ryan Culkin was stuck in the ECHL due to the numbers game in Stockton, but he hasn’t really been amazing since getting brought up to the AHL. Heck, he also failed to put up numbers like Brett Kulak did last season in the ECHL: Kulak had 30 points in 39 games with Colorado in 2014-15, well ahead of Culkin this season.
- Rushan Rafikov probably isn’t a prospect of note anymore, considering he bounced around the KHL and the Russian minor leagues like a bad penny.
Players that won’t be eligible for next season’s Top 20 listing for various reasons: Derek Grant will be 26 and has played too many NHL games; Kevin Poulin will be 26; Sam Bennett and Tyler Wotherspoon have both played too many NHL games.
PROSPECT DEPTH MOVING FORWARD
This coming NHL Draft is going to be pretty important for the Flames. In terms of prospects with point-generating potential – which I’ll generously say is anybody with an NHLE of 20 and above – the Flames have roughly 10 (Bennett, Andersson, Jankowski, Mangiapane, Agostino, Elson, GIlmour, Grant, Pollock and Shinkaruk, and a case can be made for Poirier). Of that group, Bennett and Grant won’t be prospects next season, and everybody else will probably be playing pro hockey, as guys like Andersson, Jankowski, Mangiapane, Gilmour and Pollock are all graduating from junior and college.
To keep the pipeline moving, the Flames desperately need to restock their offensive potential outside of the pro level.