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Taking Stockton: Mikkel Aagaard

If you, faithful FN reader, are as depraved as me, you have also reached the point in the summer where spare time is spent consuming contract details of third- and fourth-string goaltenders and scouring the aged fossils cluttering the UFA bin. Well, let me be your guide as we venture into the even dimmer recesses of Flames prospectdom, *spooky voice* players who played in the ECHL last year. Come debate the merits of the Flames retaining the vowel-devouring Dane, Mikkel Aagaard.

Despite a fantastic last name and generally strong numbers out of the OHL (94 points in 123 games), Aagaard went undrafted and was plucked by the Flames in the summer of 2016 as a tryout. Originally added to the Flames roster for the 2016 Penticton Young Stars tournament, Aagaard impressed enough to warrant an invitation to main camp. From there, the 6’0 centreman snagged the attention of many onlookers in training camp and preseason, including our own Ryan Pike, and earned an AHL deal after being cut in September.

Aagaard split last year between the ECHL’s Adirondack Thunder and the Stockton Heat of the AHL. In Adirondack, Aagaard was a monster, producing at better than a point-per-game pace in 38 games. During his time in Stockton, Aagaard was modestly productive, but was it enough to warrant investing further in him this season? Let’s have a look at how Aagaard’s rookie season, albeit in a very limited sample of just 25 games spread over the course of the AHL season, stacks up against other Flames rookie seasons in the AHL.

For this chart, I used the age that the player was for the majority of their rookie season, though in some cases players had in-season birthdays. As you can see, Aagaard doesn’t exactly jump off the screen here but his production is respectable given the pedigree of some of the players on this list.

(Also, it again illustrates what a great rookie season Poirier had. Here’s hoping he can find that kind of production again this season.)

In his 25 games, Aagaard wasn’t a prolific shot generator, but managed almost a .5 ppg pace. In my exceptionally limited viewings of Aagaard last year, I thought he was able to keep up with AHL competition and what stuck out to me was his ability to pass the puck. Certainly not a flashy player by any stretch of the imagination but smart with the puck and pretty smooth hands. Take those comments with a grain of salt, but he was noticeable in each viewing I had.

After his season was done, Aagaard represented Denmark at the World Championships for the second year in a row and, for the second year in a row as well, he was held pointless. During the WCs, he was most notable for this:

Yikes.

When combined with his production at the ECHL level, it seems that Aagaard should be given a shot this year in Stockton, especially considering the present lack of centremen the Flames have at the AHL level. With Linden Vey and Mike Angelidis departing, the Heat currently have Mark Jankowski (a good bet for serious NHL minutes this season), Brett Pollock (spent almost all last year in the ECHL and managed eight less points than Aagaard in 28 more games), and Daniel Pribyl (can play centre or wing and struggled to stay healthy last season) penciled in as centres next year.

Currently, Aagaard is a UFA, his one-year deal with the Heat expiring in July. There is no word on where he is headed next season so it is entirely possible that he could be retained by the Flames. Needless to say, there is plenty of time for more additions to the roster at the NHL or AHL level but it seems as though Aagaard might be deserving of a longer look next year in the AHL. He has outgrown the ECHL and is ready for the next step, wherever that is.

Perhaps the Flames have found something in Aagaard, or, perhaps he returns home and becomes a fine Nordic insurance salesman. Who knows! Late July hockey everyone!

  • freethe flames

    For an organization that does not have a lot of AHL centers he seems like a good fit. I would like to see him signed. I’m not overly concerned about whether he has an NHL upside but the Heat need to have some good players around to support the development of the prospects.

      • McRib

        No, WHLers are allowed to sign AHL tryout agreements after their season has ended, but they aren’t allowed to play full time in the AHL until they’re 20 years old. Therefore, Dube has to go back to the WHL if he doesn’t make the NHL this year. Kylington was drafted out of Sweden, they have a different NHL/AHL collective bargaining agreement.

      • Carl the tooth

        Dube is obviously too good for whl I wonder how he is utilized in worlds this year ? Is it same coach because last year by end of tournament dube was starting and ending all periods and defencive zone draws .his hockey sense stuck out to me the most always in the right place like chucky boyeee

  • Baalzamon

    According to EP, Marek Hrivik can play C, so maybe that helps.

    Also I still think Freddie Hamilton will be waived and demoted. Lazar is staying with the big club, but I also don’t think he’s good enough to crack the regular lineup.

        • Carl the tooth

          I remember hoping we would get lazar at the draft and shinkaruk we ended up with poirier and klimchuck which look like they could be playing in NHL soon enough .funny we ended up getting shinkaruk and lazar 5 first rounders from what was considered a deep draft year .monahan was the obvious steal being the best player from that draft class atleast forward .i think lazar was always a project along with the rest but I see some potential there abit very small portion.but 3 points in 4 games in a bottom 6 role to start ain’t to shabby he’s definitely a north south type player right now and will work great with flames forecheck system . Last year when flames were forechecking hard and fast on teams and hemming them in it was a thing of beauty didn’t matter who it was . I didn’t know lazar was that fast he’s gonna be great on the forecheck it’s gonna be another trevling steal . Trevling will get gm of the year

          • Carl the tooth

            I could see a ferlund lazar Hathaway line being very affective.everyone seems to forget about Hathaway flames won a lot with him in the line up the guy was an impact and I see some good vision in his passing in the offensive zone just seemed like the players he was playing with couldn’t pick up those passes .

    • Ari Yanover

      I think the best way is to maybe leave a comment in an article (I’m usually looking at the comments section, at least until they blow up into 100+ monsters) or maybe hit a writer up on Twitter (our handles should be visible at the top of the article, to the right of the header image).

  • McRib

    Great article, Aagaard quietly had a good season last year at a young age (considering he is a pTe Birthday 1995), hopefully he can improve on it this year. He can defineitly skate, which usually translate to being a good pro.

  • McRib

    Juuso Valimaki is getting rave reviews from multiple sources watching the World Junior Summer Showcase.

    I’ll post this here again because I previously posted it on a shared Nation Network article and some may not have seen it.

    2016-2017 NHLe:
    Juuso Valimaki 24.17
    Cale Makar 18.22.

      • McRib

        There has been some fairly substantial research done (Canucks Army in particular, did a really interesting NHLe re-draft a few years go) that has found fairly conclusive evidence linking a correlation of taking higher NHLe players in the draft with an increased probability of NHL success. On a case-by-case basis obviously anything can happen, but if you consistently take higher NHLe players you’re likely to end up with more impactful NHLers.

        There are outliers who achieve stardom in the NHL despite average or below average Junior production (Chara, Weber, even a Getzlaf or Jamie Benn), but for the most part the more you score in Junior/NCAA the more likely you’re to be a top player in the NHL.