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Photo Credit: David Romuald/Romuald Images

FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: #19 Demetrios Koumontzis

It’s fairly uncommon for the Calgary Flames to draft high school players. European players tend to go directly into the club development systems, while higher end North Americans usually end up in the Canadian Hockey League or the United States Hockey League by the time they’re in their draft year.

There are exceptions to every rule, though, and Demetrios Koumontzis could become one of them. The second 2018 draftee on this year’s top 20 list is a Greek kid from a big family, and he’s already had to push through adversity and make some big choices in his young hockey career.

How did we get here?

The fifth of six brothers, all who played hockey as youngsters, Koumontzis fell in love with the game. Since then, he’s seemingly been chasing opportunities and they’ve taken him all over the place.

Koumontzis detailed his many, many travels when we spoke with him at development camp.

“I was born in Pittsburgh,” said Koumontzis in between sessions at Flames development camp. “Then I moved down to Arizona and grew up there for about nine, ten years, and then decided to move up to Minnesota to develop more for hockey. Played there throughout my youth years with Edina. Then went back to Arizona to play a year of AAA and then suffered an injury. And then for my senior year came back to Edina, and now I’m going back to Arizona for college.”

Three years ago, Koumontzis was one of the top scorers in the southwest United States’ T1EHL under-16 league with the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes. But two years ago he suffered an injury which dramatically cut back on his games. Faced with some interesting decisions regarding his future – some Jr. Coyotes teammates went to their under-18 team and he had been drafted by the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers – he headed back to the State of Hockey to get some reps.

He ended up playing a lot of hockey and was a key player for his club, which potentially allowed him to catch up on lost time.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

Koumontzis played on two teams last season: Edina High School and Team Northeast, in the Upper Midwest Elite regional high school super-league.

Games played Goals Assists Points Level
24 20 21 41 Minnesota State HS
21 16 33 49 Regional Elite HS

If the idea of playing high school hockey was to get his swagger back after missing a big chunk of time due to his past injury, it worked. Playing on his high school team he was over a point-per-game and was fourth in team scoring. Playing on the regional team with some of the best players from other Minnesota high schools, he was even better – and actually led that league in scoring.

Check out Christian Tiberi’s breakdown of Koumontzis’ game here.

Those in the know

John Sherman, sports editor at Edina’s local paper, the Edina Sun Current, shared some thoughts with us regarding Koumontzis’ play last season:

The most impressive thing to me was that Demetrios could play either wing or center and not lose any of his efficiency. His shot, speed and hockey IQ made him one of the best players in the Lake Conference and Section 6AA.

Flames director of development Ray Edwards praised Koumontzis’ mature, goal-oriented nature and his attention to detail in terms of his ability to improve his game:

You go through some of the things he had to go through, sometimes you fly under the radar a little bit. I give our guys a lot of credit, our scouting group with Jimmy [Cummins], Mike Craig and those guys. They really like this kid and spoke really highly of him, thought if we could get him where we got him we’d be getting a steal… This kid is very mature for his age… He’s a guy that has a plan, he knows what he wants, and he’s very committed to getting better.

On the horizon

Rather than head to a big-time school for college, Koumontzis made an interesting choice and opted to head to the desert to join the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils are in just their third year of existence, aren’t in any conference and only have one drafted player (their goalie) on their roster.

In other words, it’s potentially an opportunity for Koumontzis to establish himself as a strong college player on a team that really needs somebody to take charge. The Sun Devils have a pretty stacked calendar ahead of them, with dates on their schedule against seven of the 16 teams that played in the Frozen Four tournament last spring. They’ll face some stiff tests and if Koumontzis can become a key player for them this season, his stock may be on the rise. For now, though, he’s an untested (if talented) high school player whose allure lies in his potential.


#20 – Martin Pospisil

 

  • idbr

    I really appreciate the background info in this article. Interesting and informative. It also makes me think we have good scouting that looks far deeper than just the numbers. I guess when you have no higher picks necessity forces you to look harder. As with all this years draft picks it will be interesting to follow his development over the next year. Hope he pans out.

  • freethe flames

    You allude to an injury but never state what it was? For those who want to know he is is listed as being 5’10” 183 pounds. That of course will not be his size when he actually gets to be on the Flames real radar.

    I’m not sure how he or the other guys get ranked ahead of ET but that’s the writer’s choice.

    His choice of colleges is an interesting gamble one that I like. He has a chance to prove himself as a big fish in a little pond versus being a freshman (little fish) at a more established school. Good luck to him

    • freethe flames

      Odds are pretty long on most guys outside of the top 10 picks most years and even longer outside of the top two rounds. This is why I only really worry about the guys who have a chance to make the big squad. Players who are this young unless they are elite are long shot. But as we are now into the dog days of summer the writers are filling space to keep us interested until something happens.

  • brodiegio4life

    Picking outside of the first round is pretty much a complete crapshoot, may as well take some boom or bust guys who have potential over guys like Kanzig, and Hunter Smith who will never get better than they already are.

    • Redleader

      I wonder if Burke had a lot to do with those picks . Horrible draft year for flames , mason mcdonald etc . Should get some picks back this year with a trade or two. Is the exspansion draft next season? There’s a good chance we are gonna lose a good player .

    • Boring Flames Fan

      Our drafting has been much better now.

      Round 2, 2015 Rasmus Andersson , Kylington
      2016-Tyler Parsons, Dillon Dube

      Let’s hope they play more than 40 games!

    • tyhee

      While the Flames can’t be praised for their drafting during those years, there are some circumstances surrounding that particular fact.

      1. To make 22 years with only one playing more than 40 games for the Flames, you have to include 2018, in which even if the Flames had a 2nd rounder he couldn’t have played any games for them yet. Their 1996 2nd rounder was Steve Begin who played 159 of his 524 NHL games for the Flames.

      2. There’s a pretty good chance that Flames’ 2nd rounders in 2015 (Andersson, Kylington) and 2016 (Dube) will end up with more than 40 games for the Flames.

      3. Blair Betts was selected by the Flames in the 2nd round but spent most of his NHL time with the Rangers and Flyers after being sent to the Rangers in the Chris Simon trade. Kurtis Foster was selected by the Flames in 2000 but traded and then proceeded to play 405 NHL regular season games.

      There was also the Jarret Stoll debacle.

      4. The Flames have a history of using 2nd round picks as assets to be traded. They exercised no 2nd round pick in any of 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2017 or 2018. That’s 9 out of 15 seasons with no second pick including four in a row (2004-7) and six out of seven (2004-2010.)

      • The GREAT WW

        Not arguing any of your points, but the one second round pick who did play more than 40 games for the Flames we traded for Shinkurak…..

        So basically we have NOTHING to show for 22 years of second round picks…..

        WW

  • C Watson

    We are only 2 prospects in and I see a trend here already. We as readers have been informed that all 5 of the Flames picks for this year have been included in this list. The first pick of the draft is rated as the 20th prospect. The second pick of the draft is the 19th prospect. This shows that you writers think you know better than the Flames scouting staff. I wonder how many of you have actually seen any of these guys play a meaningful game. Your credibility as talent evaluators really needs to be questioned.

  • Just.Visiting

    Going to have some long waits on the class of 2018. Not keen on his choice of school either. As noted in the post above, it seems odd to have all of the late round 2018 picks making the list-new shiny things?