Photo Credit: Stan Szeto / USA Today Sports

FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects: #2 Rasmus Andersson

Rasmus Andersson seemed like a good bet when he was picked 53rd overall in 2015. A near point-per-game defender for the Barrie Colts that year, Andersson was well liked for his offensive capabilities and hockey IQ, but slipped due to concerns about his fitness and commitment.

Two years later and Andersson still looks a good bet despite those concerns. At just 20 years of age, Andersson was one of Stockton’s top blueliners last year and was even called up for a one-game audition with the parent club near the end of the season. His ability to jump to the top of the rotation straight out of junior is why Andersson continues to rank near the top of our prospects list. He improves to #2, up from #4.

A brief history

Andersson was an impressive prospect during his draft year for reasons beyond his high point totals in the OHL. At just 16 years old, Andersson was a regular skater in the SWE-1 (Allsvenskan) pro league in his native land. In fact, Andersson appeared in 81 pro games before skipping across the pond to join the CHL.

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Teens playing well in pro leagues tend to have good outcomes when it comes to projecting prospects at the NHL level. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt that Andersson also turned out to be one of the best blueliners in the OHL during his two-year stint in Barrie. The 6′, 210 pounder scored 21 goals and 124 points in 131 games before moving back to the pro game with the Heat last year.

Andersson’s three goals and 22 points in 54 games for Stockton doesn’t seem all that notable, but 17 of his 22 points came at even strength (tied for best amongst Stockton defenders with Oliver Kylington), and by the end of the year he was often playing against the other team’s best lines.

In addition, Andersson had the best relative goal differentials for defensemen aged 21 or younger in the AHL last season:

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Of course, we have to take GF% with a grain of salt, because we don’t know how much of it was driven by something like on-ice SV%, which skaters don’t tend to have much control over. However, it is potentially another positive arrow for a player who seems to have a lot of those going for him.


Calgary Flames development coach Ray Edwards praised Andersson for the work he’s put in, but noted there’s still room for improvement before he’s quite at the NHL level.

He’s got to get faster, he’s got to get stronger, he’s got to lean out a little bit. His brain is elite, so his body has to be elite. Like a lot of young players, it takes some time to get that body into an elite package and that’s one of Rasmus’ goals, is trying to get his body in the same sort of frame as his hockey brain is, because his hockey brain is off the charts – his ability to make plays and slow the game down, he doesn’t get rattled by pressure. He’s unbelievable with the puck. When he gets faster and when his pace can elevate to an NHL level, he’ll find himself pushing to play in the NHL.

Stockton Heat head coach Ryan Huska noted improvements in Andersson’s game as his first pro year wore on.

We used Ras against top lines. A lot of times when you think about Rasmus, you think about a guy that’s got the offensive ability, that sees the ice really well, that can make some good plays with the puck because he’s got great instincts, but he’s got the intelligence that allowed us to play him against top lines. When you have that much trust in a young guy that he can get the job done against some of the best in the American Hockey League, I think it says a lot about where his game moved towards the end of the year where we trusted him in different situations and most nights he did an excellent job.

What comes next?

Andersson seems to be the next guy who really should push for a job on the Flames’ blueline. Unlike a guy like Brett Kulak, however, Andersson’s ceiling is probably higher than a third pairing guy.

When Andersson ultimately makes the leap will depend on two things: how well the player continues to improve his conditioning and when a roster spot finally opens up on the Flames’ rather jam-packed blueline. For now, Andersson just needs to develop on the farm and wait for an opportunity to usurp one of the incumbents in the big league.


#20 – Ryan Lomberg #19 – Adam Ollas Mattsson
#18 – Daniel Pribyl #17 – Eetu Tuulola
#16 – Adam Ruzicka #15 – Emile Poirier
#14 – David Rittich #13 – Hunter Shinkaruk
#12 – Matthew Phillips #11 – Jon Gillies
#10 – Morgan Klimchuk #9 – Andrew Mangiapane
#8 – Dillon Dube #7 – Spencer Foo
#6 – Mark Jankowski #5 – Oliver Kylington
#4 – Adam Fox #3 – Juuso Valimaki

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  • JMK

    I took the prospect rankings from FN, flamesfrom80feet (F80) and matchsticks and gasoline (M&G) and combined them to get an average. It isn’t perfect as F80 had a top 19 as I excluded Brett Kulak, and M&G had a top 17 as they included all players under 25. It also weights FN & M&G as the same as F80 when they are probably an accumulation of writers whereas as F80 is just Darren Haynes. But anyway here it is with rank, player and score:
    1 Tyler Parsons 58
    2 Adam Fox 54
    3 Rasmus Andersson 53
    4 Mark Jankowski 51
    5 Juuso Valimaki 47
    6 Jon Gillies 42
    6 Spencer Foo 42
    8 Oliver Kylington 40
    9 Andrew Mangiapane 38
    9 Dillon Dube 38
    11 Morgan Klimchuk 27
    11 Emile Poirier 27
    13 David Rittich 25
    14 Matthew Phillips 23
    15 Hunter Shinkaruk 20
    16 Daniel Pribyl 13
    17 Josh Healey 8
    18 Adam Ruzicka 7
    19 Eetu Tuulola 4
    20 Linus Lindstrom 3
    21 Adam Ollas Mattsson 2
    22 Ryan Lomberg 1

    • JMK

      I like this one as I’d rank Fox higher than most, and it gives Rasmus and Jankowski the edge over Valimaki. I think Foo might be ranked a little high by all media (everyone had him 7th) but at least this shows Kylington, Mangiapane and Dube are not far behind.

        • Eggs Bennett

          Still a lot more uncertainty about Fox due to not having played in a pro league (remember Gillies when he dominated H-East?) I like giving Jankowski more recognition, especially since he is the most likely prospect to make the Flames this year out of camp. Valimaki sounds like he has a high ceiling, but again a lot more uncertainty about his floor at this point as an 18 year old.

        • McRib

          NHLe at 20 years old. Emile Poirier 27.5, Spencer Foo 14.7.

          Only about 8% of all top NCAA FAs become impactful NHLers, nothing is more overrated in all of the prospect world, don’t get me wrong I am as hopeful as anyone that Foo becomes a part of that 8%, but he didn’t start putting up elite points until 23 years old on a line with another very strong player. Emile Poirier has been a play driver all by himself his entire career at a much younger age.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Great exercise. I have to admit that I looked at all these lists and lost track of which was which. I would put an asterisk beside Parsons since the number 1 prospect is a goalie that has not played a pro game yet. Based on what we saw in the OHL and WJC Parsons is the real deal…but unproven.

      I have Janko and Ras higher since they have passed the first test of pro hockey and are trending to be core NHL players. Fox is intriguing, he seems to be benefitting from a shift in paradigm towards smaller, skilled, offensive defenders not unlike Makar.

  • Lucky 13

    This list provided by (dellowhockey) is a decent reminder of how good Andersson is.
    I watched Joe Hicketts who was a (Captain) and foundation for the Royals on defence and am surprised he’s lower than Andersson.
    Hicketts was a fan favourite and owns Victoria’s franchise-record for most career points by a defenseman (173)

    I know it doesn’t take into account all aspects of the position, however having positive goal differential speaks to the defensive side of his game.

    I can’t wait to see Andersson make the final leap on the Flames roster!

  • UpTkachuk

    I believe the Flames will carry 7 D-men. With the Kulak signing and the top 5 in place, this would leave 6 and 7 up for grabs. However, someone like Andersson might be best served by starting the year in the A and being moved up if needed. I’m sure if there were a right handed spot needing to be filled, he would be the one to slot in…

    • DoubleDIon

      The signing of Stone was unnecessary I think. Just further jams up the blueline. Anaheim makes room for their young guys. It’s worked out pretty well for them. Ras, Kulak and Witherspoon are all ready for NHL bottom pairing minutes.

      • Baalzamon

        Hamonic will be injured at some point, probably for a while, at which point Andersson will be called up and play a lot. I’m already on record saying Stone will be traded next summer to recoup picks, and that’s when Andersson will get his chance at a full time spot.

      • Torchy

        Anaheim didn’t “leave space” for the young guys, in the last few years nearly every one of their established D missed significant time due to injury. Despres and Stoner barely played. Their plan was to accumulate depth and it paid off because the young guys stepped up when they were needed.

        I’m very happy with the depth on Calgary’s blue line. Somebody will get hurt and when that happens it’s a damn good thing that they weren’t already running “plan B” in their NHL roster. Think back to how grim things were that time Brodie was injured in preseason

  • buts

    If Raz, Fox, Kulak, Kylington, Valimaki, Wotherspoon, Matteson and Healey pan out then BT will have a lot of bullets to use in sprucing up the forward ranks in the not too distant future.

    • Off the wall

      Josh Healey:
      Man can this kid hit, reminds me of Scott Stevens’ of past years..
      It’s been noted he hits too hard for college hockey.

      Here’s a small sample, keep your head up!

      • Trevy

        Hey I’m with you on this kid OTW….really curious how he’s going to parlay his game in the pros! Hope he doesn’t try to do too much, just needs to play his position and take advantage when the timing is right

        • Puckhead

          OTW, I thoroughly enjoyed that video. The Flames should have enough high-end D in their system where they probably could use a guy like Healey. I’ve been rooting for Healey since he joined and would love to watch NHL highlights of him blowing people up.

        • Intercourse the Penguins

          Pure hockey. Pure joy. Another example of why it is so fun to be a Flames fan now as opposed to 5 years ago. Healey might a sideshow but please keep us posted on throwback, troglodyte (dare I say truculent) players in our system.

      • wot96

        Denis Gauthier and Dion could hit too. The questions are whether he takes himself out of position to make a big hit and can he do it against NHL competition? IF the answers to those questions are no and yes, in that order, winner, winner, chicken dinner!

          • Trevy

            I get that too, but looking at them both, Sieloff really had a rough go in his entire hockey career, wasn’t very good offensively and was generally a minus player. Where as Healey is more offensively gifted, more durable and a plus player. Bottom line, several teams were in on him and I’m glad the Flames get a freebie with him and see if he transforms into anything. If he does, what an embarrassment of riches we would have on defense

          • OKG

            I know people believe Sieloff is a bust but I wouldn’t be so quick to say that. What he and Healey have most in common is both are entering their age 23 season as professionals next year. Which for defensemen is very young.

  • DoubleDIon

    Man we have an embarrassment of riches on the blueline. Probably should consider a deal around a player like Kapanen or Brown. Both Toronto and Calgary have prospects who will stagnate if they’re too far down the depth chart.

    • UpTkachuk

      The Flames have something at defence that they didn’t have until last year. It’s called depth. Now they will be able to survive a key injury as players are maturing and developing into their potential. I think management has done an excellent job of building depth. It will be interesting to see how our forwards develop this season.

      • DoubleDIon

        We had depth before. Is Stone better than Ras, Kulak or Wotherspoon right now? I’m not convinced he is. I’m sure Kulak is better right now and think there’s a chance the other two could be too. Kylington needs polishing and isn’t ready but maybe he would be midseason.

          • BringtheFire 2.0


            I like how you value Engy’s toughness. I know it’s an old school notion, but a fighter is still useful sometimes as a deterrent to stars getting hurt.

            Unlike a certain; “I do it too” guy who shall remain nameless.

      • Intercourse the Penguins

        Excuse my ignorance but if a d’man lines up in a forward position and the puck drops don’t certain instincts kick in.Cover a guy, get open, move the puck. D’men are the smart players. Forwards might have better finish but d’men see the ice.Why not ice 2 forwards and 3 d’men.I want our prospects to play this season because we are a longshot to cup. Don’t trade any prospect until they show who they are. Dustin Byflugien.

    • Atomic Clown

      The prospect that would probably give us the highest return is Fox, followed by Kylington, based on potential. Toronto already has a speedy flashy young swedish dman in liljegren. They want someone who can step into the NHL right away. That means they would be more interested in Andersson, or Hamilton as we’ve all heard. Unless the return is Marner, I wouldn’t touch our d prospects. They’re only going to get better, and then we can demand a kings ransom like Nashville’s been doing

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      On PAPER we have an embarrassment of riches.

      I’m waiting for them to play before I make that call. I’m still a little sore from the expectations of last season.

  • MontanaMan

    Good discussion. Quick question: With the apparent stalemate between Pastrnak and Bruins management, does Tre put a package together to bring him to Calgary as a right winger for Monahan and JG? Tre would need to work the cap to make it work, but what a great RW and a fit for the top line.

    • Baalzamon

      Pastrnak would be awesome but I honestly don’t think the Flames have the pieces to make such a trade, not without hurting themselves in the short term anyway.

      For the sake of discussion: it’s hard to imagine such a trade being talked about without Bennett being involved and that, of course, is not enough. They won’t be interested in Gillies given they already have Malcolm Subban, but a left-shooting defenseman is something they lack (they have two on their current roster, and one of them is 40 year old Chara). Something like Bennett, Brouwer (to make the salary work), and Kylington? Doesn’t seem like enough for a young winger coming off a 70 point season. The only other thing I can think of would be Gaudreau straight across, which would sort of put the Flames in the same position they’re already in.

      In short: no, I don’t think so.

      Of course, this is the Bruins we’re talking about. It’s just as likely they’ll flip Pastrnak for a wet sock and claim, straight-faced, that it was for the betterment of the team.

      • MontanaMan

        I would agree with your assessment but with the Bruin’s trade record, anything is possible. Ownership are very stingy so when they make up their mind that they aren’t paying for a contract, it’s open season. If they are in need of LD, what about Brodie and a prospect?

        • supra steve

          I can’t see the Flames doing it this season…but if they were willing to move Brodie, there should be no prospect going with him to get Pasternak. If Adam Larsson is worth Taylor hall, then Brodie should fetch Pasternak.

        • Baalzamon

          Does Brodie waive to go to Boston? I mean I’d do it for Pastrnak, but that’s pinning a lot of hopes on a rebound from Hamonic and progression from Mr. Kulak.

          Although I guess worrying about Brodie’s trade protection (which might actually be limited somehow) is a little outside the discussion at this point, since I mentioned Brouwer already.

          Honestly for Pastrnak I’d do it, but I’m not sure if that’s actually a good idea. Brodie is important to this team.

    • oilcanboyd

      What is Pastrnak asking after a 34 G/ 70 P season? Likely, 8 years and 8 million? I would not stress out the Cap that much…would have t give up too much, especially when the projected progress of the Flames is good IMO. And no when Johnny and Gio are getting less than that.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    When you have a little time to kill….I recommend a read on the NHL website.


    The fantasy hockey cheat sheet breaks down projected performance in the following categories:

    – Top 250 Overall – Johnny (41)
    – Top 100 Forewards – Johnny (29)
    – Top 50 Defenders – Hamilton (8)
    – Top 25 Goalies – Smith (19)

    As well as…

    LIST STORIES: Top rookies | Sleepers | Breakouts | Bounce-backs | Injury rebounds | Yahoo position updates | Bye weeks

    Not a lot of Flame love. Surprisingly, Bennett is only projected to get 40 pts next year and did not make the Sleeper, Breakout, or Bounce back lists even as honourable mentions. Perhaps we are over valuing him?

  • PrairieStew

    On a 20 man roster you normally have 12 forwards 6 d and 2 goalies. FN rankings here have the prospects at 3 goalies, 5 d and 12 forwards, so pretty close to ideal numbers. The imbalance is that 4 of those D are in the top 5 prospects; the NHL club has 5 established D-men signed long term plus 3 guys at the fringe competing for the 6/7 spots, this year. Essentially, it is agreed that somehow this strength should be parlayed into improving the forwards, either for the immediate future or the longer term.
    I know it might be difficult to imagine, but what might the Flames do to acquire a legit scoring RW. I floated the idea of Wayne Simmonds a while ago; with Giroux, Voracek and Couterier signed longer term ( and Nolan Patrick coming), Simmonds has only 2 years left at $4m before he becomes a FA. It’s not likely the Flyers resign him. Philly needs a veteran defenseman to teach Gotisbehere and Provorov to play the game, they are very thin back there. Could a deal to involving TJ Brodie be had here ? With TJ being younger and signed for 3 years rather than Simmonds for 2, we’d need something else. I’d propose Dale Weisz come this way in exchange for the Flyers taking Brouwer. $9m in salary to Philly, $6.3 coming back.

        • supra steve

          I’d love to have him with the Flames, but I’d hate to pay the price that would be required. As for what a “beat reporter” thinks…I wouldn’t put much trust in his/her thoughts. There are a lot of sports reporters in Calgary that have absolutely no clue what the Flames are/will do.

          • PrairieStew

            True enough on the reporter. And giving up Brodie is not something I consider lightly. Over the past 4 seasons, he may have been the Flames best player. I just really see the fit; Simmonds would be fantastic on the #1 line; leaving Ferland to play where he belongs as the#3 LW with Sam and Versteeg. Kulak’s ready – but probably not quite ready for #2 pair, would a combo of Kulak, Bart and Spoon be enough behind Gio on the left side ? Fill one hole and make another….

          • supra steve

            At least one veteran D man will have to be shipped out in the next two years, but I’d be surprised if anything like that happened before next year’s draft.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I have been pushing the Simmonds trade for awhile…seems to be a perfect fit on the top line. I would love to have him and Ferland banging bodies in the Pacific division. I would be inclined to dangle Brodie sine I believe Ras will be top 4. I like Brodie but he has a hard time hitting the net with his shot along with some other deficiencies. You have to give to get.

  • everton fc

    My biggest fear w/Andersson is this; can he skate every night, at an NHL-level? That’s been the beef on this kid – that and conditioning.

    If he could only skate like Kylington!

    Someone mentioned Kulak’s ceiling as “5/6/7”. I disagree. I think his ceiling is “3/4”. This season will confirm Kulak’s ceiling, me thinks…

    I would also say Jankowski is a better “prospect”, “at present”, than Andersson, for the aforementioned issues w/speed and conditioning. The fact Spencer Foo is, on average, our 6th best prospect (see JMK’s post) is quite frankly both frightening and disappointing. And I like Fischer over Tuulola!

    Dube remains a very under-rated, very under-discussed prospect. And Mattson is a better prospect than Lindstrom and Tuulola. This fans opinion.

    As for Lomberg… The next Scotty Nichol?? We shall see…

    • freethe flames

      It would be great if Kulak can become a 3/4 as you predict(there are others as well) and this is his year to show some significant progress. As for Andersson conditioning there were no hints of it at development camp and if he had come in poor shape it likely would have leaked out. I agree that Janko is likely the most NHL ready of all the prospects by all accounts he has put the time in since he was drafted. The prospects tournie will tell us something about both as will training camp.

      Who from FN is going to Penticton?

  • freethe flames

    Based upon the quality of talent we appear to have on the back end both on the NHL team and as prospects it would appear that at some time a trade will need to be done; maybe not this year but early next year. Now that of course depends on the development of Ras/Valimaki/Fox and Kylington. This could also include Kulak/AOM or even Healy. Should be interesting.

  • deantheraven

    Nice exercise, as stated, and I admire the effort and the insight of FN writers. I don’t have a lot of trouble with the Top 10 (and a big tip o’ the lid to JMK here for the added value!), but I’d rank prospects not only on their ceiling but also how soon I expect to see them as regulars in the NHL*.

    *(Not necessarily with the Flames). Therefore,

    Jankowski (17/18)
    (18-after the TDL) Klimchuk, Shinkaruk Andersson
    I can see Jankowski holding a spot in the first 20 or so games, after that who knows. Klimchuk, Poirier and Shinkaruk have slim chances of making the team out of camp, but look like they should fit somewhere. It might depend on if and what the Flames are buying at the TDL.

    (18/19) Poirier, Kyllington, Fox, Foo
    Rittich, Gillies, Phillips, Mangiapane, Pribyl, Lomberg
    All of these guys except Fox and Foo have shown they can play at the AHL level. If you believe what you read here, these guys look closest to NHL- ready.
    And, after a season or two of pro hockey, maybe:
    (19/20) Parsons, Dube, Ruzicka,
    Mattsson, , Healey, Valimaki

    I have to balance pro experience (AHL, KHL,ECHL and Europe) and the player’s presently- perceived ceiling for my ranking. If I look up at night I can see the stars, but they’re far away and I’m grateful for a good lantern that always lights the path when I need it.
    Some of the above players may have already reached their ceiling at the minor pro level (and really who knows what can happen between junior hockey and the Bigs), but you gotta think most of them, even guys like Lomberg and Pribyl, could be at least semi- regulars on a lot of teams if they got a shot.
    Most of the rest look like more seasoning is required, but if they really are ‘top prospects’ that says to me they should be playing at the highest level soon. Given some of these players’ waiver status, there’s going to be movement. Or there ought to be. (Two words: Paul Byron) And you always wonder about trading away a prospect before you’ve seen his best. But if Tre sees a deal at the deadline for an upgrade that will get the Flames closer to The Cup, I bet he goes for it. An ‘assets’ future value doesn’t come into play if you’re goal is to win now. Future regrets pale or get erased when the sweepers clean up after the parade. (Two words: Brett Hull)

    Bottom line is, if they can’t play here because of an immovable roster they should be playing somewhere, and if the Flames are in Win Now mode they’ll be doing some dealing. Not many on the active roster are going to fetch a top six winger without creating some holes. Prospects can fill holes and mature, or get dealt for value. I’m ok with that now. As long as the cupboards remain stocked, the next 2-3 years look good. Hopefully they keep the window open, The Chicago Way not the LA Way. More graduates this year, and every year!

  • Just.Visiting

    It would be interesting to see where Ras would be in a redraft. He seems to offer a well rounded game without the risk-reward element of Kylington. I wish we could have seen more of a look at him when he was with the team late in the year. Definitely in the first round, though.

    He looked tentative and a bit slow in the one game I had seen, but some of that would be rust, nerves and a concern about the avoidance of mistakes.

    Looking forward to seeing how he develops, and would expect to see either Hamonic or Stone moved at some point before the 2019-20 season.