Setting expectations for the 2013 Flames draft class

The 2016-17 hockey season is slowly creeping upon us, and pretty soon junior teams will begin their seasons. Heck, European teams already have began their regular schedules. With that in mind, we’re looking at the last few seasons worth of Calgary Flames draft picks, checking out each player’s progression, and making some prognostications and goal-setting for their upcoming years.

Let’s move onto the 2013 Draft class! (NHLE calculations from the most recent Hockey Abstract revisions.)

SEAN MONAHAN

First round selection, sixth overall in 2013.

  • 2013-14: 34 points in 75 games (NHL) – 37.1 NHLE
  • 2014-15: 62 points in 81 games (NHL) – 62.8 NHLE
  • 2015-16: 63 points in 81 games (NHL) – 63.8 NHLE

(Draft Year NHLE was 35.3.) Monahan has been a full-time NHLer for three seasons. He’s gotten votes for the Selke and Lady Byng over the past couple of seasons. He just got a big-money, long-term contract. I’d estimate his production ceiling is probably around 75 points, but I also can’t see him dropping below 60 points. If the Flames’ power-play can be revitalized, a 70-point season is probably realistic.

Considering the Flames had awful, awful luck with firsts before him, Monahan has been a very nice performer.

EMILE POIRIER

First round selection, 22nd overall in 2013.

  • 2013-14: 87 points in 63 games (QMJHL) – 29.4 NHLE
  • 2014-15: 42 points in 55 games (AHL) – 29.4 NHLE; also 1 point in 6 NHL games
  • 2015-16: 29 points in 60 games (AHL) – 18.6 NHLE; also 0 points in 2 NHL games

(Draft Year NHLE was 23.0.) After a couple consistent years post-draft, Poirier slid back last season with his production stalled out by a particularly flat start. He ended up getting things turned around late in the season (and even made a brief NHL appearance), but he’ll need to have a good camp to get back on the NHL call-up radar.

Considering how Poirier’s game projects – he’ll need to be an offensive contributor to make the transition to the NHL – he’ll need to re-establish himself as an offensive leader on the farm. A return to the 40-point level is definitely needed. If he can get to the 50-point level, we might be able to write off last season as a one-off.

MORGAN KLIMCHUK

First round selection, 28th overall in 2013.

  • 2013-14: 74 points in 57 games (WHL) – 28.7 NHLE
  • 2014-15: 80 points in 60 games (WHL) – 29.5 NHLE
  • 2015-16: 9 points in 55 games (AHL) – 6.3 NHLE

(Draft Year NHLE was 23.4.) Similar to Poirier, Klimchuk back-slid a bit last season after having a couple good post-draft years. He made the transition to the AHL last season and struggled early on with injury and the pace of play, but he seemed to figure things out by the end of the season.

His game isn’t predicated on offense, though you’d hope he can score some goals while playing a good 200-foot game. If nothing else, you’d hope he can get his point total somewhere into the 20s. (That would hopefully reflect some consistency in terms of offensive production.)

KEEGAN KANZIG

Third round selection, 67th overall in 2013.

  • 2013-14: 8 points in 63 games (WHL) – 2.8 NHLE
  • 2014-15: 22 points in 70 games (WHL) – 7.0 NHLE
  • 2015-16: 20 points in 53 games (WHL) – 8.3 NHLE

(Draft Year NHLE was 2.2.) Aside from a brief AHL appearance last season, Kanzig has been primarily a WHLer since being drafted. He improved his offensive production last season and ended up still with an NHLE below 10. When he was an overager in the Dub and bigger and stronger than everybody else. (And playing top four minutes.)

In the AHL, a 8.3 NHLE would be about a 0.21 points-per-game, or about 15 points. He’ll probably be a third pairing guy. Somehow, he seems destined to back-slide. The hope for the Flames is probably that Kanzig figures out the pro game and isn’t a liability.

TIM HARRISON

Sixth round selection, 157th overall in 2013.

  • 2013-14: 5 points in 34 games (ECAC) – 2.8 NHLE
  • 2014-15: 11 points in 34 games (ECAC) – 6.1 NHLE
  • 2015-16: 17 points in 36 games (ECAC) – 8.9 NHLE

Harrison has played three seasons in the NCAA. He has been a depth guy on a club that’s not a college powerhouse, both things that suggest he doesn’t have a bright pro future. The Flames have until Aug. 15, 2017 to sign him or they’ll lose his rights (as he’s going to graduate after this season). Barring Harrison suddenly becoming an offensive dynamo, he’s probably not in their future plans.

RUSHAN RAFIKOV

Seventh round selection, 187th overall in 2013.

  • 2013-14: 20 points in 47 games (MHL)
  • 2014-15: 18 points in 35 games (VHL)
  • 2015-16: 2 points in 33 games (KHL) – 4.0 NHLE

Rafikov has spent the last three seasons in the Russian hockey system. He bounced around a lot last season. He spent the previous two seasons in leagues that don’t usually translate into North American pro success – the MHL (the Russian junior league) and the VHL (the Russian AHL). He produced reasonably well, but was hardly a world-beater in those leagues. The Flames have to sign him by June 1 or lose his rights. It seems extremely doubtful given the defensive depth in their system that they’ll try to sign him, regardless of how this season goes for him.

The KHL season has already started. He has an assist, which puts him well ahead of last season’s pace. He’s headed for a career year!

  • reidja

    Outside of Monhan with the #6, this draft class is looking like a bit of a bust. Big seasons out of Poirier and Klimchuck are the only thing that will make it seem salvageable.

  • Kensington

    While Mony has been a star, More or less disappointment so far in the rest of the draft class. Hopefully Emile and Morgan can have a big turn around season. I think Emile has the talent to be a top six forward if he gets his head on straight. Time goes fast for these young guys and they need to really focus if they want to have a NHL career.

  • freethe flames

    This is an important season for both Poirier and Klimchuk and I suspect they are fully aware of it and prepared accordingly but only time will tell. I could see Poirier with his speed and skill set being an effective 3rd liner who can kill penalties and still be able to produce good solid third line counting points. Klimchuk could be a third or 4th liner who can play every night and play on the PK. While it is an important season it is not a make or break season. Their future is in their hands; good luck to them.

    • supra steve

      Yeah, not the first time that a club took a flier on a huge D prospect. I think Button’s job is safe for now, esp. if one or more of Hickey, Kylington or Andersson become top 4 D-men.

      For me, the success/failure of the 2013 draft kind of depends on Poirier’s development over the next year or two. It’s still only 3 years since that draft, a little too early to know for sure.

  • BurningSensation

    Monahan’s emergence means that draft was already a ‘win’, regardless of how Poirier or Klimchuk do.

    If they make it, it’s just icing on the cake.

    • Connor McDaigle

      They can’t be given a pass for only hitting on a high percentage 6th overall in a deep draft. Purging your best players for first round picks and missing on them is not acceptable. The latter rounds were flat out terrible.

      • KACaribou

        Valid point but I don’t think the success rate is very high for any team choosing any player late in the first round. Poirier was in the 20s, and Shinker and Klimmer were both late 1st round.

  • KACaribou

    Shinker not included was an oversight. Remember the commotion when Feaster picked Poirier over Shinker? I think Poirier, Klimmer and Shinker all have a chance to blossom this year, and I can’t help but think the Flames dumping so many off the AHL roster is to elevate these three and give them a real chance to shine. It’s going to be a big year for them all. Maybe a final year to make it or move on.

    Who wouldn’t like to see big Keegan make some miracle improvement in the next year or two and become a 5/6 or 7 monster on the Flames back end?