In the 2014-15 season Calgary native Carsen Twarynski made his Western Hockey League debut with his hometown team, the Calgary Hitmen.
After two seasons with the club, he’s reportedly garnering a lot of NHL Draft interest. While likely not somebody that will go in the first two rounds – he’s ranked 64th among North American skaters by Central Scouting – he could be a really nice fit for the Calgary Flames.
There’s not a lot out there about Twarynski – when you Google him, most of the discussion of him is by me at a few different outlets. So I’m going to have to wing it here…
He’s a left winger and played on the team’s second and third line, and got power-play time on both PP units. Hitmen coach Mark French is obviously a big, big fan of his.
“I think he has a better understanding of what’s expected,” said French
in late October. “I think he knows the league a little bit more. He’s
grown. He’s bigger and stronger, which is great. He’s really dedicated
himself in the off-season. But he’s one of those guys, we lost a lot
offensive punch up front, he’s one of the guys that we’re expecting to
fill that void.”
Twarynski is a very north-south player, and doesn’t have a lot of flash to his game. He handles the puck well and has a good shot, but he primarily generates offense by going to the net and battling. His style of play somewhat resembles Pavel Karnaukhov – who the Flames took last year in the draft – except he’s probably more consistent in every aspect of his game.
His work ethic is probably what’s going to keep him on the radar for many teams, and it’s best exemplified by one play: in a 4-1 win over Red Deer, Twarynski completed his first WHL hat trick by diving to beat a defender to a loose puck and swatting it into the open net from his belly. The Hitmen were winning by two goals at that point but he didn’t want to give up on the play.
He’s 6’2″ and a shade under 200 pounds. He uses his size well and battles in the corners, but doesn’t take a ton of penalties given his playing style. And aside from maybe Jake Bean, he was the Hitmen’s most consistent player throughout the season.
Twarynski doubled his offensive production from last season, going from 22 points to 45. Much of that can be attributable to his increased ice time, but he was definitely more active in plays this season. His goal total jumped from six to 20, and he was fourth on the team in goals and sixth in points. (He was 15th and 16th in those metrics the season prior.)
He had 33 primary points, on par with 2015 St. Louis pick Adam Musil (of Red Deer) and 2014 Colorado pick Connor Bleackley (also of Red Deer), despite being younger than both of those players. He had 22 even strength primary points, on par with Hitmen teammate (and 2014 Philadelphia pick) Radel Fazleev, Musil, and Brandon overager (and Washington signing) Tim McGauley. Again, he’s younger than they are, too.
FIT WITH THE FLAMES
The Flames have an issue with their talented players not being particularly big, and their big players not being particularly talented. Twarynski is fairly big (and plays big), and his performance thus far in the WHL suggests that he has at least moderate offensive talent. On a pretty young Hitmen team that was very thin on offensive talent, he was one of their better players.
Imagine what he could do if surrounded by a better supporting cast.
(And let’s not forget: the Flames own the Hitmen, and often have a heavy scouting presence at their games. They’re undoubtedly familiar with what Twarynski can do.)
The Flames have three second round selections and a third rounder in this year’s draft. I could easily see them using one of their later seconds or their third on Twarynski. His competitiveness and consistently alone will probably make him (at worst) a serviceable pro.
Previous draft targets: Alexander Nylander | Pierre-Luc Dubois | Matthew Tkachuk | Jakob Chychrun | Olli Juolevi | Clayton Keller | Alex DeBrincat | Sam Steel | Vitalii Abramov | Jake Bean | Tyson Jost | Mikhail Sergachev | Tyler Benson | Griffin Luce | Logan Brown | Samuel Girard | Will Bitten | Cliff Pu | Taylor Raddysh | Adam Mascherin | Carter Hart | Jordan Kyrou | Cam Morrison | Cam Dineen | Matthew Phillips