Flames Weekly Prospect Update: Parsing the prospects

You know there’s always good news here.

Fancy table, last week’s installment, you know the drill.

Forwards

  • Dillon Dube is finally back from injury, and picked up three assists in his return to the WHL. That’s pretty good!
  • I’m not sure what else there is to say about the Heat that Taylor didn’t. It was a very ho-hum week from the team, playing only two games with many of their stars being called up to the big team. Those who shined have been shining all year around.
  • Pavel Karnaukhov has an assist and six shots in three Canada/Russia series games. I guess that’s alright.
  • Mitchell Mattson scored a goal and an assist this past weekend with the Bloomington Thunder. I still have him as a long shot, but if this is the spark to something special, I’d reconsider
  • I say it every week, but Matt Phillips has yet to score a point that isn’t primary.
  • In non-prospect prospect news, Youngstars standout Mikkel Aagaard was called up to the Heat because of the number of departed bodies and registered an assist in his first game. He currently has 10 points in 11 ECHL games, doing much better than actual Flames prospect Brett Pollock. Aagaard has always been an intriguing player to me, and it’s good to see that he’s doing well. Perhaps he emerges as an actual prospect some day, but he needs to work hard for now.

Defenders

  • Adam Fox is Harvard’s #1 defender right now. The 2016 third round pick is at a point-per-game pace early into conference play, and getting some good minutes.
  • I’m starting to get concerned about Brandon Hickey, who has fallen out of the top spot at BU. He didn’t start either game against big-name Michigan this past weekend, and his ice time appears to have dropped. He’s been usurped by Charlie McAvoy and Chad Krys, two players younger than Hickey. They are highly regarded players, but the coach trusting them over Hickey is a pretty bold decision that doesn’t occur without reason.

Goalies

  • I lied last week. Jon Gillies is currently missing time with a finger injury. He should be back next week. 
  • In the mean time, David Rittich is in the net and hasn’t been that bad.
  • Tyler Parsons returned to the crease, and immediately posted a shutout for London. The Knights are carrying three goaltenders, and the other two have also been really good, so Parsons will be rotated in and out.
  • Nick Schneider is still leading the WHL in wins. He’s been the most surprising Flames prospect this far into a short year.

You make the call

Looking at their recent call-ups, the Flames have essentially established two levels within their top tier of prospects. Let’s call the first level the lightly used group. That refers to recent call-ups Hunter Shinkaruk and Garnet Hathaway, and players like Emile Poirier. Players with some, but not none, NHL experience. Regardless of performance in the A (Shinkaruk was pretty good, Hathaway was meh), these two come up because the team at least has some sense of what they’re going to do.

Thus enters the second level, the mint condition-ers. This level includes Daniel Pribyl, Andrew Mangiapane, Mark Jankowski, and Morgan Klimchuk. They are more-or-less new to the whole professional hockey deal, but are producing at impressive rates. The team would probably like to keep these guys playing down below so they can hone their skills without being crushed at the NHL level.

Assuming no other Flames get injured (knock on wood) that forces the team’s hand, when would you bring the second level players up? Who would they replace?

And we’ll leave you on that note. Until next week.

  • Steve-o

    When to bring up mint prospects? I dunno. I do know I’m literally at the point where I have to be paid to watch them. They are in a word, unwatchable. My best guess as to when to bring up mint prospects. When a tier one head coach( like Hitchcock for term if was available in this past summer?) is behind the bench?.

    • I’d imagine so based on previous performances. We’ll have to wait and see if his injury holds him out, but a simple glance at the available options indicates that he’s in the running on merit alone

      (fwiw: I would say Dube and Fox are the top Flames WJC candidates this year)

  • cjc

    Jankowski and Klimchuck both deserve all the good press they’ve received so far, but I wouldn’t say they are forcing management’s hand as far as the next call-up. They wouldn’t be usurping spots in the top 6, and the bottom 6 haven’t really been the problem thus far.

    There is also this issue – do you want their confidence destroyed by stepping into the steaming pile of dung that is the Flames season so far? If there is concern that GG will wreck them, then they’re safer in the AHL.

    Once the trade deadline has passed, the Flames will be more or less eliminated and they can play a few games with less pressure. That’s assuming Calgary can clear some cap space at the deadline.

  • Deef

    “I say it every week, but Matt Phillips has yet to score a point that isn’t primary.”

    But how many points are we talking about here? Has he been stuck at 7 points for 3 weeks now?

    I’d look myself, but… you know… I’m lazy!

    • Baalzamon

      He has 21 points (12 goals) in 19 games. Tied for second in team scoring (by 1 point) and first in goals.

      EDIT- What happened to Sam Steel? He goes from a mildly disappointing draft year to the WHL’s leading scorer?

      • McRib

        Regina’s offense is absolutely firing on all cylinders regardless of Steel, not to say he hasn’t been a catalyst, but Hobbs, Wagner, Brooks, etc are all very legit talents as well. The real test will be when Steel turns Pro, though in defense of Steels draft year I must mention that he battled major injuries as a 15 & 16 year old and he was kind of playing to not get injured last year. This year he has turned into what everyone has always thought his potential was, a legit Top. 20 talent in the draft if he had put it all together. It’s actually funny because Anaheim doesn’t have a huge scouting presence on the prairies and in Steels case I think that kind of benefited them when other more local teams had become too critical with multiple viewings they just drafted straight upside. All that said Josh Mahura their third rounder looks like an even bigger steal (plus Max Jones), IMO. Lastly I still think Dube has more upside than Steel going forward to pro (Dube is a much better skater, plays with more intensity), which should get Flames fans excited.

        On a related note I really hope Austin Wagner gets a look with Team Canada for the WJ, as he has game breaking speed that would really play on the big ice.

  • McRib

    “I say it every week, but Matt Phillips has yet to score a point that isn’t primary.”

    Phillips numbers have been good this year, but I also kind of think he has battled bad luck most of the year as well and they should be even better, which is kind of scary to think about. I have watched Victoria a couple of times recently and he has been absolutely dominant from a puck possesion standpoint. When he is on the ice his team is in the offensive zone the entire time creating, I really haven’t seen anything like it to be honest this year in the WHL elsewhere. Dave Lowry runs a tight ship defensively, so I don’t think he will ever hit the huge offensive numbers he would in other systems this year, but I think he will finish well over a point per game and will only continue to put up more lopsided figures. Hockey Canada was outright foolish to not include him in Russia Series (Josh Mahura as well).