Flames Weekly Prospect Update: Onwards to December

We’re now two months into the general hockey season, and clearer patterns have begun to emerge. The Flames haven’t totally shaken off the early October struggles and are still, at their core, an inconsistent disaster that has been propped up by good goaltending (for once). We’ve all been waiting for the team to turn the mythical corner, and to their credit, they have. Their only problem is that time is a flat circle.

For the positive side of this intro, let’s look to the prospects who, nearly a quarter into the season, have had very good performances. As previously mentioned, clearer patterns have emerged. Contenders have separated from pretenders, and there are more of the former than the latter. Let’s dive in.

Here’s our fancy table, here’s last week’s installation, and since WJC camp rosters are being announced this week, be sure to check out this article about Flames prospects and their chances of making it. As of this morning, Dillon Dube is already on Team Canada’s roster, and hopefully there’s more to come.

Forwards

  • Austin Carroll appears to be done as a prospect. Even with a lot of Stockton’s talent in the NHL right now, he can’t seem to get into the Heat lineup. They’re willing to give Mikkel Aagaard, someone who isn’t Flames property, more minutes than Carroll. Heck, they’re more willing to give retreads like Matt Bailey and Jamie Devane chances. I wonder about injury, as he was listed day-to-day two weeks ago, but there’s nothing in the news (and it’s not like he was playing beforehand). It’s strange that they haven’t sent him down to the ECHL yet or made any arrangement that gives him playing time.
  • I hate to say it folks, but Andrew Mangiapane and Morgan Klimchuk have started to slow down. Between the two of them, they have scored three points over the last two weeks.
  • I worry more about Klimchuk than I do Mangiapane. His early season success seemed to point to him riding an unsustainable wave, and we’re now seeing the drop off. That happens to every hockey player, but he isn’t shooting a whole lot either. Mark Jankowski and Mangiapane were also shooting in the >20% range, and that number fell accordingly. However, they kept shooting, and are up there for shots on goal in Stockton (30 and 39, respectively). Klimchuk is only at 29, and at 17.24% shooting, he will likely continue to dip in the coming weeks.
  • Before someone asks, it has nothing to do with Janko going up to the NHL. They were trending downwards before he got a recall and Linden Vey returned. Their struggles are on them.
  • Linus Lindstrom scored his first goal of the season, so props to him.
  • I am quite sorry to say that Matt Phillips has scored a secondary point, breaking a six week streak. He still has 26 primary points, but 27 would’ve been nicer.
  • Eetu Tuulola’s played a very small role for Everett, but it’s still concerning to not see him score in the past week. He didn’t look great the week prior, so hopefully he steps it up in the next few weeks.

Defenders

  • The more I see of Rasmus Andersson, the more impressed I am. Week after week, he looks more and more like the real deal.
  • Ditto for Adam Fox, who is now leading in Flames defensive prospect scoring even though he has yet to play 10 games. Now Harvard has faced a lot of trash teams (Arizona St x2, Colgate [sorry, Tim Harrison], Cornell, Princeton, and Bentley) which could inflate his point totals, but I’m still very excited for him.
  • Brandon Hickey is still raising concerns. BU appears to be using him less and less each week which, again, is not good for one of the older players on the team. He is used as a second pairing shutdown guy behind Chad Krys and Charlie McAvoy, but I’d argue that it would be better for his development if he was given a more offensive role. Historically, that’s where he’s been most successful. 
  • Adam Ollas-Mattsson scored a point this week, which is cool.
  • Keegan Kanzig actually got in an AHL game this weekend, which is also cool. He’s still going to be an extra in Stockton, but at least he’s playing there. 

Goalies

  • Jon Gillies returned from a thumb injury this week, but didn’t put up a good showing in net. While he did get involved in a goalfest with Tuscon on Saturday (5-4 for the Roadrunners), his SV% has dropped below .900%
  • Which raises the question of what to do with David Rittich, who has been lights out in Gillies’ absence. He was brought in to push Gillies and reduce the stress on Calgary’s presumed future number one, but has been outplaying him. I doubt these are trends that last forever (remember that luck doesn’t just apply to shooters), but right now, it’s concerning.
  • Tyler Parsons is back in form. His adjusted GSAA/60 (a rating that considers league-wide performance against shots from different parts of the ice) is up around 4.48, putting him eighth in the OHL. He began the season somewhere around -2, which would put him in the bottom 15 for OHL goalies. Parsons, when healthy, has been very good this year.
  • Nick Schneider continues to concern me. He is still the WHL’s leader in wins, but his SV% has been slipping quietly week by week. He’s down to a .905SV% (two weeks ago, that number was around .915) suggesting that he’s getting some heavy run support from the Tigers in front of him. One day, that bubble will burst.

Prospect of the Month

For November, I’m awarding Rasmus Andersson the distinction for his brilliant play this past month. It was a toss-up between him and Oliver Kylington, but I’d say Andersson took the biggest step forward in November. He’s currently fifth in points and points per game for defencemen under 21. His transition to North American pro was always going to be the largest hurdle for him to clear, but so far he’s been great.