The Calgary Flames made some adjustments this morning with the recalling of Tyler Wotherspoon from the Stockton Heat (AHL). With that of course, someone is going down to the AHL and it’s Brett Kulak. Both defensemen are still relatively young, with some upside, and opportunities in their game but it’s Wotherspoon’s time to hopefully shine.
This is yet another opportunity for Wotherspoon to possibly find himself in the lineup and make a positive on-ice impact.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) December 8, 2016
With Kulak heading down, there should be some worthwhile discussion about evaluating the growth and development of the Flames’ fourth round pick in 2012. There were significant positives found in his game through 15 games, primarily his skating ability and ability to contribute positively to on-ice shot metrics (52.7% CF at 5v5).
These attributes are things that are worthwhile – even in limited showings – and it’s a step in the right direction. There is still reasonable uncertainty about who and what Brett Kulak will pan out to be, but there should be some optimism that at some point in the near-future he should get another look.
That said, with every rookie in the game there were the standard growing pains with Kulak. That is not to say he struggled mightily and regularly, but there were some expected holes in his game. And with him not playing, being a healthy scratch since Nov. 27 it’s an opportunity for Wotherspoon to potentially step into the lineup.
Wotherspoon’s showcasing last season through 11 games was silent, but there were some promising results including a 53.17% CF at 5v5, primarily playing with Deryk Engelland on the third pairing. Like Kulak, he did find some success with Engelland and it’s a possible spot for him if he plays.
With Stockton this season, like his showing last season with the Flames, he’s been relatively under the radar with a goal and five assists through 19 games played. Wotherspoon – like Kulak – is still in the same uncertain boat. Is his ceiling strictly a third pairing role? Or is there any semblance of hope in his existing skill set and trajectory so he can become a second pairing guy?