Flames Darkhorse Targets 2016: Jake Bean

I went to most of the Calgary Hitmen home games this season and I saw a lot of Jake Bean.

My really brief assessment? Man, the kid has some talent. He’s the son of the Flames COO, John Bean, and has obviously spent some time around the rink and gotten a chance to see first-hand what it takes to be a high-end Western Hockey League player and future NHLer.

But it’s easy to think that you know what it takes, and it’s super-hard to actually do it. Through two seasons in the Dub, Bean has emerged as one of the better puck-moving blueliners in the WHL and will likely be the first WHLer drafted in the 2016 NHL Draft. With the Flames owning the sixth overall selection, could Bean be a fit?


In a lot of ways, Bean is a junior hockey version of T.J. Brodie. He skates really well and does a great job jumping into the rush and creating offense from the back end. The Hitmen had the safety blanket on their roster of Flyers pick Travis Sanheim, but Sanheim was absent twice (once for the World Juniors and once due to an injury) and so Bean, at 17 years old, had to be “the guy” for the Hitmen. He occasionally made defensive gaffes – pinching at poor times and having to use his skating to cover his butt – but he made huge strides as a result of Sanheim’s absence.

Basically, if you want somebody to run your offense (and you perhaps have a decent all-around guy to play back a bit), Bean could be a great fit.

Here are some second opinions on Bean:

From Future Considerations:

Bean is a slick, pass first, puck moving blue liner who is absolutely
deadly in transition. He has quick feet that allow him skate with the
puck and the vision to quickly find his passing options. Has solid
composure and will calmly skate the puck out of pressure before head
manning a pass up to streaking forwards. His defensive ability needs
work as right now it consists of an active stick he uses to try to shut
down opponents as they’re coming down wide on the rush. Needs some added
strength and to improve his defensive positioning.

From Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects:

shifty and intelligent defenceman that plays with panache and poise. An
excellent skater that is a good puck-carrier up the ice. Makes very
good decisions with and without the puck, and plays strong positionally.
Works hard and doesn’t give the opposition much to work with, but could
stand to be a bit more assertive during high pressure situations. That
being said, he is not a one dimensional player. He displays natural
talent in the offensive end, but also plays a complete defensive game in
his own end. He has a proactive stick and boxes the opposition out,
limiting lanes. All-in-all, the type of all-around defenceman that you
want to have on the ice as much as possible.


When you take a look at Bean’s numbers, he stacks up pretty well compared to the rest of the WHL blueliners. He had 43 primary points, behind only Brandon’s Ivan Provorov (47) and Macoy Erkamps (44) and Hitmen teammate Sanheim (44). Comparing him to the other draft eligible blueliners, he’s way, way ahead: Medicine Hat’s David Quenneville had 38 primary points, Kelowna’s Lucas Johansen had 27 and Swift Current’s Maxime Lajoie had 21.

When you knock out power-plays, Bean still stacks up really well in primary points (he’s actually the top draft-eligible even-strength primary point defenseman by a country mile). He’s slightly behind Provorov and Erkamps, and was even in even-strength primary points with Red Deer’s Haydn Fleury (a past first round selection).

Bean led the WHL’s defensemen in goals with 24, with half of his production on the power-play.


Bean’s really good, but there are a few “fit” concerns.

First, he’d be a bit of a stretch at sixth overall. The Flames likely value the elite offensive talents of Pierre-Luc Dubois, Matthew Tkachuk and Alexander Nylander more, and arguably Mikhail Sergachev, Olli Juolevi and Jakob Chychrun are more well-rounded blueliners. If they take Bean, it’d be taking him ahead of probably five to eight guys that are seen (via consensus) as better prospects right now than he is.

Second, he’s a puck-moving left-shot defenseman. The Flames already have Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Oliver Kylington, Jyrki Jokipakka, Ryan Culkin, Brett Kulak, Tyler Wotherspoon and Brandon Hickey. Left-shooting defenders is a strength area, so it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to grab another one too early in the NHL Draft.


Bean’s a really good WHL player who’s going to probably get drafted in the middle of the first round this season. The Flames’ depth at defense likely sees them draft a forward at sixth overall and short of them getting a great offer to trade down, I can’t see Bean still being available the next time they hit the podium.

Previous draft target articles: Alexander Nylander | Pierre-Luc Dubois | Matthew Tkachuk | Jakob Chychrun | Olli Juolevi | Clayton Keller | Alex DeBrincat | Sam Steel | Vitalii Abramov 

  • supra steve

    “The Flames’ depth at defense likely sees them draft a forward at sixth overall”

    So has BPA been thrown out this year? I don’t think it has. I won’t be surprised if it’s a D-man at sixth or if Dubois falls to the Flames. I will by surprised if it’s Nylander.

    • Burnward

      Ahhhh, it’s gotta be either Tkachuk or PLD the more I think about it.

      The Oilers have to take a D this time, right?

      Ideally for me: PLD and then package those second rounders (+?) to get Gauthier.



      • Christian Roatis

        Julien Gauthier is a walking red flag. The dude shot nearly 30% for most of the season and ended up with 16 assists in 54 games.

        Wouldn’t touch him.

        • Burnward

          Some guys are pure goal scorers. You don’t accidentally score 38 then 41 over your 17-18 year old seasons.

          Plus he’s huge and can skate.

          Checks three boxes for me in what they need in a winger.

        • everton fc

          I like Gauthier, as he’s a work in progress, but I agree, his draft position may fall due to the limited assists and some issues w/positioning, the latter which could be worked out w/good coaching. Which is why, if he does fall to the later teens, a team is going to have a kid who hasn’t even filled out yet – he’s been 6’4″ for a while. He may have one more growth spurt left in him.

          PLD’s secondary position is LW. Our best bet, if we draft him, is move Bennett to LW and make Shinkaruk the RW. Not ideal…

          Tkachuk probably fits the mold of our team, or what the brass wants the mold to look like. But he’s a LW, as well. At least PLD can play pivot. And you don’t move Backlund to make room for PLD and Bennett centering. This is why guys with “secondary positions” are, to me, most valuable (Jooris, Byron when he was here, Colborne, even Bouma… Now maybe Shinkaruk)

          Abramov may be the best bet for us drafting a RW. As for right-handed shots on the backend, another reason why they need to “ink” Nakladal sooner, than later. (Morrison is the only one on the farm whose a “righty”).

          Gauthier video below, for those interested. Seems a decent kid.

          • Greatsave

            Abramov where? 6th? Not sure about that. But probably Abramov over Gauthier, yes.

            If we can flip a couple of our seconds for late first-rounder when one of these kids are still available (Abramov, Bean, DeBrincat, what have you), that would be nice.

          • everton fc

            No. Never at 6. Due to his size, he may be around at #35. But I doubt it.

            Someone mentioned “if Gauthier falls to the 2nd round…” He won’t. But if he did fall as far as #35, we’d have to look at him. Not sure, if I had the choice between Gauthier and Abramov, which was I’d go.

            I like Abramov over Debrincat. Why? Skating. Read scouting on both. Abramov is superior, in this department.

        • SmellOfVictory

          If he lasts to the end of the 2nd round he might be worth taking with the Flames’ last 2nd (depending who else is left), but he’s definitely got a lot of red flags kicking around.

  • EhPierre

    All the Top D this year (Sergachev, Juolevi, Chrychn) are left handed. I was actually somewhat hoping the Flames take Sergachev after I read some comments about him but now that Ryan pointed out the logjam that we have for our left handed D, I’m not too sure if drafting yet another leftie is a good choice, even if he’d be one of the top D prospects we have, ahead of Hickey and Culkin. That being said, I def wouldn’t want Bean at #6. Usually quotes from Hockey Consideration and Elite Prospects hype up the prospect a lot, but the quotes in this article regarding Bean don’t really hype him much; in fact they even said he has some work to do.

    On another note, have there been any good WHL D prospects that are tearing up the league (NHL) now? From what I recall, WHL isn’t the best league for D prospects but I could be completely wrong. If someone can comment on any WHL D players that are noteable NHLers now, I’d appreciate it

    • Shoestring

      The WHL produces plenty of defencemen. To name a few Shea Weber, Seth Jones, Ryan Murray, Morgan Reily. Currently in the Stanley Cup Finals – Derrick Pouliot, Brenden Dillon, Roman Polak. The Kelowna Rockets are considered a Dman factory as they produce plenty of NHL dmen.

      • piscera.infada

        Interestingly enough, who was the coach of that “Dman factory”?

        That same guy who “ruins the development of all the Flames top prospects”–Ryan Huska.

    • piscera.infada

      If someone can comment on any WHL D players that are noteable NHLers now, I’d appreciate it

      To the point above by @Shoestring, all to varying degrees of being “notable”

      Johnny Boychuk
      Zdeno Chara
      Duncan Keith
      Brent Seabrook
      Ryan Murray
      Matt Dumba
      Josh Gorges
      Shea Weber
      Seth Jones
      Travis Hamonic
      Thomas Hickey
      Justin Falk
      Luke Schenn
      Braydon Coburn
      David Schlemko
      Jay Bouwmeester
      Roman Polak
      Dion Phaneuf
      Morgan Reily
      Alex Edler
      Dan Hamhuis
      Karl Alzner
      Dustin Byfuglien
      Cody Franson
      Tyson Barrie
      Jared Spurgeon

      Those are the “notable” ones I could find, based on a cursory google search.

        • piscera.infada

          Neither would I. He screams ‘late-teens/early-20s, slam dunk in the long-run’ to me though. I watch a lot of Hitmen games, and the way he moves with the puck and his reads in the offensive zone seems perfect for the way defenders need to play the game these days. Yes, he’s undersized and yes, he needs to figure out his work in the defensive zone. He has an innate skill and skating ability that can’t be taught though.

          • BlueMoonNigel

            Bean is going to end up as the darling of the first round even though at least 10 teams will pass on him, including your Calgary Flames. Some team that is already pretty good will get even better when they draft Jake later in the 1st round. Bean doesn’t have “superstar” and “stud” written on him which is the true mark of a real superstar and real stud. You don’t need someone to hang a “superstar” or “stud” tag on you. You just are one.

            Bean will fill out, so size is not an issue. Though the sports are different, he reminds me so much of ex-QB and now head coach Dave Dickenson when he played. You look at Dickenson in his civvies and you are absolutely underwhelmed. Put him behind a centre with 30 seconds left in the game and watch a maestro at work. Bean and Dickenson are just so blasted smart and know exactly what to do to strive at whatever level of competition they are at.

            Flames MUST TAKE JAKE! They won’t and that’s a huge mistake.

        • piscera.infada

          Forgot Green, Russell, and Stone, purposely left Myers out because I prefer to pretend he doesn’t exist (personal bias–I don’t like him as a hockey player, at all).

          Good catch on Chara too. However, point still stands.

          • Greatsave

            🙂 All in good fun.

            The major junior league with a real problem producing NHL defencemen is the Q. Their top alumni currently in the NHL are Letang, Vlasic, Beauchemin, and Oduya. And Oduya is Swedish-trained, spent his draft+1 year in the Q scoring at a point-per-game, and got drafted after that by the Caps 221st overall.

            After them it’s Jason Demers, drafted as an overager after scoring near point-per-game in his draft+2 season, by the Sharks at 186th overall.

        • Baalzamon

          Also, Chara only played in the WHL after he was drafted.

          That goes for Duncan Keith too. He was drafted out of the NCAA, and played there for half the following season, then went to Kelowna for the rest of the season. Then he was in the NHL.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I’d like the Flames to find a way to take this kid later in the first. We could follow the captain who looks like Mr Bean with a guy who is literally named Mr Bean. Perfect spiritual successor.