Setting expectations for the 2016 Flames draft class

Training camp is almost here, so we’re taking a trip down memory lane and checking out previous Calgary Flames draft classes. Which picks are doing well?
Which are doing poorly? And what are reasonable expectations for their
performances this coming season?

We close out with the 2016 NHL Draft class! (NHLE calculations from the most recent Hockey Abstract revisions.)

MATTHEW TKACHUK

First round selection, sixth overall in 2016.

(Draft year NHLE was 49.3.) The big question is this: is Tkachuk going to be in the NHL next season? If he is, I’d expect his production to drop relative to last season due to the challenge of the transition. If he’s in the OHL, expect him to tear things up and his numbers to climb even higher.

TYLER PARSONS

Second round selection, 54th overall in 2016.

(Draft year save percentage of .921.) Unlike his London Knights teammate Tkachuk, there’s zero chance that Parsons plays pro this season. That means he’ll be in the OHL and unless his game falls apart or London decides to forget how to play hockey, his save percentage numbers should remain in the same general ballpark.

DILLON DUBE

Second round selection, 56th overall in 2016.

(Draft year NHLE was 22.5.) Dube had a good year in the Dub, playing at a point-per-game pace. Kelowna isn’t going to be worse next year and Dube will get a lot of ice time with good teammates. Expect a slight uptick in his production.

ADAM FOX

Third round selection, 66th overall in 2016.

Fox was nearly a point-per-game player for the U.S. National Development Team. While there’s no universally-accepted NHLE conversion for the USHL, that’s pretty damn good. He’s headed to Harvard, and Fox’s production this season should be a good benchmark for how he does on a team that isn’t crazy stacked. Over a 40-game season, being in the teens points-wise would be a solid start.

LINUS LINDSTROM

Fourth round selection, 96th overall in 2016.

Lindstrom was a point-per-game player in the Swedish junior league. He’s playing in the Swedish Hockey League this season. Given he won’t get a ton of ice time, getting a point every five games would be pretty solid for a first full pro year.

MITCHELL MATTSON

Fifth round selection, 126th overall in 2016.

Mattson was a very productive high school player who played a bit in the USHL and had two points in 21 games. He’ll be a USHLer full-time this season, and you’d hope he can increase his points-per-game a bit. A point every four games would be a decent start.

EETU TUULOLA

Sixth round selection, 156th overall in 2016.

Tuulola bounced between the Finnish junior league and the SM-Liiga last season, and he’ll be with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips this season. A 30-point year as a rookie would be a fine start, and anything around 40 points would be great. Everett doesn’t have a ton of offense, so if Tuulola can light the lamp he’ll get to play a ton.

MATTHEW PHILLIPS

Sixth round selection, 166th overall in 2016.

(Draft year NHLE was 23.4.) Phillips was a very productive player last season, helping drive the bus offensively on a pretty good team. Victoria didn’t lose many key pieces and Phillips is a year older, so expect his numbers to improve slightly.

STEPAN FALKOVSKY

Seventh round selection, 186th overall in 2016.

(Draft year NHLE was 14.5.) It’s hard to estimate what Falkovsky’s production will be this season, as it’s not entirely clear where he’ll be playing. If he’s playing pro, his production will probably crater a bit given he’s a defenseman and offense seems not to translate readily in the first year of pro for blueliners.

  • Just.Visiting

    This was my favourite ever Flames draft. It offered a nice blend of near term, long term and taking a shot on raw talent.

    I think that Tuulola seems likely to exceed expectations based on what I’ve seen so far.

    From the highlight snippet from June, I also think that Mattson could surprise this year. Size and hands are always a nice combination if the intangibles are there/brought out.

    • McRib

      Yeah Dube’s production before his eye injured in the first couple of months of the season was insanely good last year (on pace for 100+ Points). When he came back into lineup however he never really played with the same fire and was relegated to less of a scoring role. If he can regain that scoring role he will easily be among the WHL scoring leaders, IMO. I follow the WHL closely and I personally think he has the most upside of other WHL forwards his age group (Steel and Benson) from last years draft. Not piss off Oilers fans on here, but I think Benson is a major tweener who was finished growing at 13-14 years old and now other players are catching and passing him all over the place. Dube has by far the most standout speed of those three and therefore the most upside in my opinion, although Steel supliments with a good Hockey IQ, but he has had a ton of injurys and plays scared at times. Even considering everything Dube went through last year he still had a better point per game average compared to Steel and Benson. I would have draft Will Bitten or Abramov over Dube, but if I was taking a WHL forward in the Top. 60 last year it was Dube by a mile.

  • McRib

    Didn’t Tkachuk have the highest NHLe of any draft eligible last season (Matthews 2014-2015 numbers were higher though)? I mean his production might have been slightly influenced by Marner, Dvorak… But those numbers are just too good to think he will drop off, especially considering the primary points he put up in the playoffs. I mean I would rather Tkachuk whose numbers were off the charts over Juolevi who was also on the Knights Power Play and put up fairly tame numbers compared to even a Jake Bean or Mikhail Sergachev. I mean basically Tkachuk couldn’t have had better numbers regardless of the situation. I just don’t understand why Tkachuk is always criticized and Juolevi was never for playing on the same power house team.

  • OKG

    Anyways I am going to predict ~0.8 PPG in the USHL for Mattson. People underestimate him but everything I have read piques my interest. Hoping Phillips and Dube both break the 30.0 NHLe mark this year.