It’s that time of year again! August is upon us, and it’s probably the deadest month of the hockey calendar. While June has the end of the playoffs and the draft, July has the start of free agency, and September has rookie and training camp, August has… um…
Yeah. So, as is our annual tradition here at FlamesNation, it’s time to rank the prospects!
Our top 20 list kicks off tomorrow, and will run over the course of the remaining August weekdays until we just don’t have any more left (so Sept. 1, then). Then we’ll be much closer to the start of the season, and can hopefully go back to our regularly scheduled, “But which line does it make the most sense for Matthew Tkachuk to play on??” posts, but maybe with more actual information.
Not all prospects are included on this list: only the ones eligible to win the Calder Trophy are. The requirements for that are to be under 25 years old for this season and have played fewer than 25 NHL games. So Tkachuk obviously does not count, nor does someone like Garnet Hathaway. We had 32 players to choose between, though! Most of them probably won’t get a sniff of NHL action this upcoming season, but we’re hopeful some of the older, bigger names will pop the Calder eligibility cherry and establish themselves.
As always: the seven of us are not necessarily experts, just very passionate nerds who spend too much time thinking about this stuff and succumbing to our own biases. Fortunately, we also get to talk to people who have watched many of these players, so we can get some of our preconceptions confirmed by their expertise. And while lists are finicky things, we all did our best, and I think the final list is rooted in reality.
With that said, let’s take a look at the guys who didn’t make the cut.
While some prospects are very much good, some don’t have much reason to be on anyone’s radar. That especially holds true for these guys, who didn’t get a single top 20 vote from any of us:
- Austin Carroll
- Zach Fischer
- Pavel Karnaukhov
- Mitchell Mattson
- Mason McDonald
- Brett Pollock
- Nick Schneider
- Hunter Smith
- Filip Sveningsson
I don’t think any of these names are particularly surprising. Some – McDonald and Pollock – fell off of last year’s top 20, but spending the entire season in the ECHL will do that. Some – Fischer and Sveningsson – were only just drafted. Karnaukhov is probably not going to play hockey in North America again, so why bother? Mattson spent the entire year in the USHL, and Carroll and Smith are more of the “they’re big, so they have to prove they cannot play” type.
They didn’t get many votes, but they made a couple of top 20 lists, which basically makes them runners up. They are:
- Josh Healey
- D’Artagnan Joly
- Linus Lindstrom
Healey and Joly are newcomers – Joly just drafted, Healey picked up as a free agent out of college – who still have a lot to prove. Meanwhile, Lindstrom is playing over in Sweden, so we basically don’t get to see him at all. Some voters recognized he has potential and included him on their lists, but there’s probably a bit of North American bias present here.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for prospect #20!