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FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: #11 Glenn Gawdin

Glenn Gawdin had a heck of a 2017-18 season. The 2016-17 year ended with his Swift Current Broncos losing in the second round of the playoffs, Gawdin going unsigned by the St. Louis Blues and then going unclaimed in the 2017 NHL Draft.

But his following season saw his fortunes radically swing the other way: he had an offensive explosion, he got signed by the Calgary Flames, and the Broncos won the Western Hockey League Championship with Gawdin as captain. He heads into his pro years as one of the Flames’ most interesting prospects.

How did we get here?

Originally from Richmond, BC, Gawdin played much of his minor hockey in the Vancouver area. He was a star player with the Seafair Islanders midget team, captaining them and putting up over two points per game in 2011-12. That performance earned him the distinction of being the fifth overall selection in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft, going to the Broncos. The following season he was just over a point per game with the midget Greater Vancouver Canadians.

Gawdin made the jump to full-time WHL duty in 2013-14, with 22 points in 66 games as a rookie used in a secondary role. He doubled his offensive output in his sophomore season with 54 points over a full 72-game schedule as he crept more into the Broncos’ top six group and was relied upon more for scoring. He was ranked 59th among North American skaters by Central Scouting that season and was selected 116th overall by the Blues. His third WHL season saw him improve to a point-per-game offensive output (53 points in 53 games) and his fourth whirl around that circuit saw him improved to 59 points in 52 games while serving as team captain in 2016-17.

But between concerns about his developmental ceiling and likely some worries about him missing 19 and 20 games the prior two seasons, the Blues didn’t sign Gawdin prior to the June 1, 2017 deadline. He re-entered the draft and went unclaimed, but the Flames liked him enough to offer him an invite to development camp and then the fall’s rookie camp. He eventually signed an entry-level deal in November.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

Gawdin spent his overage season in the WHL, his fifth full season in that league.

Games played Goals Assists Points
67 56 69 125

Let’s get it out of the way right out of the gate: Gawdin was an overage player who played the bulk of the season on a line with Tyler Steenbergen and Aleksi Heponiemi, two very good junior players who had strong offensive numbers prior to their teaming. But the trio just clicked like few have in the WHL, with all three of them hitting the 100-point mark.

Gawdin enjoyed the biggest breakout of the trio, nearly doubling his previous career high in points and finishing second in the WHL in scoring. He missed five games (primarily late in the season) as he dealt with a nagging upper-body injury. He finished five points behind Moose Jaw’s Jayden Halbgewachs in the scoring race, but he got the last laugh when (a) the Broncos eliminated the Warriors from the playoffs, (b) the Broncos won the WHL championship, and (c) Gawdin was named playoff MVP.

Good overage players usually have good offensive seasons, but Gawdin’s was impressive even by those standards.

For a further look into Gawdin’s numbers, revisit Christian Tiberi’s writeup here.

Those in the know

Seattle-based WHL beat writer Andy Eide (of 710 ESPN Seattle) has seen a lot of Gawdin throughout his junior career. He summed up Gawdin’s impressive overage campaign.

As an overager, Gawdin centered one of the most potent lines in the CHL. He more than doubled his previously high point total with 125, which was second overall in the WHL. Serving as captain for the Swift Current Broncos, he was perhaps at his best in the WHL Championship series. He potted five goals in the six-game series with Everett, highlighted by his spectacular hat trick in Game 3 which included a diving shorthanded goal late to tie the game and the overtime winner. The Broncos won it all to earn a Memorial Cup berth and Gawdin added 14 goals and 32 points in their 24 playoff games.

Traci Kay covered the Broncos this past season as a beat writer for Dub Network. She praised Gawdin’s abilities as the team’s on-ice leader, including drawing some comparisons to Jarome Iginla’s performances with the Kamloops Blazers during their Memorial Cup runs.

As captain, his role was to motivate his team and lead them to the best of their abilities. I don’t remember seeing leadership like his since the 1980s. He took the team from the bottom to the top alongside Manny Viveiros in a matter of three years. Gawdin was his teammates’ biggest cheerleader. He wasn’t even playing in the Canada/Russia series but he still showed up. He was there, supporting his teammates and cheering them on. When others fell behind a little, he was there to keep them motivated and determined to do their best. He did this by example. He worked harder, skated faster, and showed the team what was expected of them and they always followed his lead.

On the horizon

Gawdin has used up his junior eligibility (and burnt off the first year of his entry-level deal based on when he was signed), so he’s headed pro in 2018-19. He’s potentially the only right-shot center on the Heat roster – Matthew Phillips is a righty, but more of a winger – and so he’ll get a lot of opportunities based upon his qualities and skill set.

He might not be a high-end scorer at the pro level, but he’s a smart two-way player who already has a pro-sized frame. The big question will be how quickly he figures out the timing of the AHL game and whether or not he has the speed to keep up.


#20 – Martin Pospisil #19 – Demetrios Koumontzis
#18 – Emilio Pettersen #17 – Filip Sveningsson
#16 – Milos Roman #15 – Dmitry Zavgorodniy
#14 – D’Artagnan Joly #13 – Adam Ruzicka
#12 – Linus Lindstrom

  • radiomonkey

    I do wonder how much injuries hampered his draft +1 and +2 years, and how he was elevated by terrific linemates in his draft +3. The answer to all 3 is probably “quite a bit.” That said, his primary point production at 5v5 was still top 10 in the WHL this year, so he can create on his own.

    I get a feeling we’ll find out what he is at the pro level fairly quickly.

  • Baalzamon

    He re-entered the draft and went unclaimed, but the Flames liked him enough to offer him an invite to development camp and then the fall’s rookie camp.

    Strangely the Flames did draft a third time eligible that year who had far less impressive results over his career – Zach Fischer.

    Why was Fischer worth a pick, but Gawdin wasn’t? Just goes to show that you probably shouldn’t ever take players in their draft + 2 season. You can usually just sign them as free agents.

    • everton fc

      I’m a fan of Fischer, as you know. But I 100% agree with this statement.

      Would be a question for the Asst. GM/GM… But one of such a low-level… it’ll remain a mystery…

  • UpTkachuk

    He could have played out the string after St Louis gave up on him. I like the fact that he kept showing his best and he is definitely worth the gamble by the Flames. I guess you could call him a late bloomer, but I view this player (person) as one who is going to keep putting in the effort to reach his goals. If that’s the case, only he can limit where his career will go.

  • Justeen Trudope

    For me he is the most intriguing prospect on the flames. Hard not to be excited even if you have to look through some red flags. Could turn out to be a great singing on a year with next to no draft picks.

    • Kevin R

      Agree, between him, Dube & Phillips, I feel this will be fresh meat so to speak that we can watch closely & see what shakes out at the Pro level. Would be nice to see some real exciting forward prospects starting to track real well.

      • everton fc

        I can’t see any reason Phillips wouldn’t be in Stockton. And, yes, it’ll be interesting to see how he does, at the next level. How can anyone not like this kid?!

    • Bottsy777

      Hey SF – off topic here…. The other day you were asking about hotels near Rogers Arena in Vancouver. I have stayed at the Georgian Court Hotel several times and it was always quite good – and its only a couple of blocks from the Arena. Hope it helps!

      • C-of-Dread

        When I flew to Vancouver for Gaudreau’s 1st NHL game, I stayed at Georgian Court Hotel. It’s right across the street from BC Place, and about an 8-10 minute walk from Rogers Arena. There’s a few little Restaurant/bar/lounges within 2 blocks, and even a little night club too. I didn’t mind my stay there at all. Not a bad suggestion. the Rosedale is probably a little less expensive and a few blocks further away from Rogers Arena, but either are a good choice.

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    Totally off topic but given the Oilers news on Sekera wondering if the Flames might be able to throw another Stone into their floundering boat.

    • wot96

      Can’t imagine approaching your arch-rival and doing them a favour for the good of the game, and a couple of good draft picks.

      While I doubt Stone to the Oilers is the kind of trade that will really hurt in the long run, I suspect he will be more valuable at the trade deadline – and hopefully not to the Oilers.

      • Kevin R

        Agree. The issue with Sekera is that he doesnt free up the LTIR cap soace until after the year starts, so their problem resigning Nurse & now cap space for another D doesnt go away. I just cant see a deal between us & them that even makes remote sense. Chiarelli has really handcuffed that team with his contracts. They literally need to move a larger salary forward to get a top 4 D, which weakens them up front, leaves them $$$ to sign Nurse & then they pick up a #5-6 D once Sekera goes on LTIR. Well it will keep the trolls off our threads lol.

    • Cfan in Van

      Couldn’t help wondering that myself when I read about Sekera. I doubt Stone is a guy they’d be after but I wouldn’t totally put it past Chia if he’s a bit desperate, and Tre wants to open up a some cash and a D position.

    • FuNky ANGER

      I just hope that the Oilers can return to an area of mediocracy because I can’t stand the idea of them winning more draft lotteries. Yes it hasn’t really helped them in the past but it seems every draft the talent at the top of the draft are more successful when stepping into full time rolls in the NHL than previous players. Plus the thought of giving the Oilers more kicks at the can to finally get it right keeps me awake some nights.

  • Garry T

    Opportunistic pickup for the Flames. Now go out and find some more guys like this because the draft pick giveaways really hurt us. Considering the numbers of Europeans and Americans being drafted now, there has to be a number of potential guys the Flames could look at because they were un-drafted.

    • mrroonie

      Did they really hurt us?

      The Flames were at a point in their rebuild where they could afford to give up some picks to acquire more seasoned players to fit with their core.

      With Flames draft picks Valimaki, Dube, Parsons, Andersson, Phillips, Mangiapane, and Kylington all in the 19-22 age range, the Flames have a decent home grown prospect pool to go with the other acquisitions like Gawdin and Foo with only a couple of spots on the big team’s roster available. If one or two of the other draft picks the Flames have made the last few years pan out as well the Flames aren’t hurting for prospects at all.

      The Flames have a pick in 19 of the 21 rounds over the next 3 seasons to start building the group that will come along behind them.

  • Rudy27

    “played the bulk of the season on a line with Tyler Steenbergen and Aleksi Heponiemi, two very good junior players who had strong offensive numbers prior to their teaming. ”

    Didn’t we hear similar things about Tkachuk… downplaying his ability by saying it was his strong line mates that propped up his numbers? Hope Gawdin shows he’s more of player than he is getting credit for.

      • Kevin R

        That 5.5 mill space doesnt happen until the first game of the season. So right now, they’re screwed, similar to Smid LTIR only we didnt compete so we didnt need the cap space.

        • Cfan in Van

          I believe they can be over the cap before training camp, and on the first day of camp can use the LTIR space. The issue is that they need to spend all their remaining cap in order to access their LTIR space, and that would leave them with no extra space going into the season. If Sekera returns from injury during the season, and they’ve already replaced him, they could be in trouble.
          That was the summation I was reading on the OilersNation thread.

          • Kevin R

            Not sure about that. I have always been led to believe the LTIR relief kicks in once the season starts. If I recall, but I could be wrong, didnt Bennett or someone have to miss the season opener because Smid’s LTIR space didnt kick in to be able to have that player in the opening game 1 lineup. Glad to admit I am wrong, if im wrong.

  • The Fall

    Serious question:

    Is it better or worse for a player to play big minutes and dominate lesser players in all situations (Gawdin/ Phillips); or to struggle in a limited role against ‘men’ (Kylington)?

    • Baalzamon

      Kylington has been a top four defenseman for the Heat for a couple years now (not a “limited role”) and his even strength and primary point production (especially last season) hardly constitutes struggling.

      I think maybe you meant to say Lindstrom?

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Babcock would say that it’s better to have them destroy a lower level rather than flounder at a higher level.

          My take is that prospects ought to play lower until they learn all they can, and there isn’t much more for them there (Ras in the AHL for instance). Until then/other than this, it’s likely too individualistic to say more.

          • Zesty14

            Its 2 personalities. Example if a certain player is having an off game and you get on his case. He either shuts down completely or gets fired up. It’s just human nature. Some players need to be thrown into the deep end to fully develop others slowly walked in from the shallow end. One isn’t better then the other. It’s all application. I get mad seeing young talent mismanaged and faltering from such easy and fixable mistakes. For me i respond well to thrown in the deep. Tell me I’m not sh. It pushes me forward. Tell me I’m amazing and kicking ass. I slack off.

      • The Real SlimBrodie

        I believe he was referring to kylington before he came over to the ahl. Wow he sure has a lot of experience playing against adults. I really hope he can step up that extra level.

    • TradeBrodie

      I think it depends on the player and position. I think Kylington should continue playing eithbagainst men. If he can keep it between his ears and not get discouraged because he is struggling at times, he will benefit long term. Body positioning etc, he will have to pay attention to the finer points of the game and will not be allowed to be lazy. Valimakki as an example, I think it would hurt him to go back to the dub and dominate. For what reason? To develop lazy bad habits? Not worth padding the stats.

  • Just.Visiting

    The success Gawdin experienced last year has probably created an appetite for success that should see him be much more impactful at camp than had been the case last season. If he were to build on that foundation, he could be a pleasant surprise. Definitely a worthwhile signing.

  • Jobu

    Jobu topic switch.

    The funniest thing about the Brouwer buyout is that his name continues to be omitted from the “Best Free Agents Remaining lists” on all the sites Jobu has checked. These lists still include other flames notables as Tanner Glass, Emile Poirier, Chris Stewart, Matt Stajan, Nick Shore, and Kris Versteeg.

    To say that we’ve upgraded the bottom six this year would be an understatement.

    • Cfan in Van

      I think was mentioned in a previous article (after the draft?) that St. Louis didn’t have their own farm team. I think they shared an AHL with another NHL team at that point in time, and so they were limited to the amount of prospects they could stock pile. I’m sure this weighed on the decision to leave Gawdin unsigned. That, and he didn’t blow up until his last couple seasons.

  • The Doctor

    The true extent of the linemate effect with Gawdin is the big unknown here. That can obviously inflate numbers, you just never know how much a guy with prolific linemates is simply riding their coattails versus actually contributing, and what he’ll be like absent linemates like that. The all-time extreme example was (and yes I’m severely dating myself here) Pierrre Larouche’s linemates in junior, each of whom scored over 150 points — I think at least one of them had over 200 — in a season and neither of whom planned out in the NHL. I recall Larouche had 250+ points that season.

    • Al Rain

      In The Game, Ken Dryden referred to Larouche as one of the most talented scorers ever to put on skates. Something about his team game kept his ice time down, but Dryden describes the Canadiens dynasty as being so good that they could keep a guy like him on the bench and throw him over the boards when they needed a goal.

      Even with sparing usage he was more than a ppg player for his NHL career.

        • Al Rain

          76-77 team lost 8 games all season. And in the playoffs lost another 2 while outscoring opponents more than 2-1 all season. Swept the powerhouse Bruins in final 4-0. In the ’70s it was almost a sure thing the Habs would win the Cup. We’ll probably never see another dynasty as dominant.

          • The Doctor

            I understand too that that was the legacy (and last gasp) of the old territorial protection system from the original six NHL. Which had historically stocked the Habs with a disproportionate number of the best Quebec-born players. A lot of the French Canadian players on that team had developed through that system. But that had pretty much played itself out by the end of the 70s when all those core guys like Savard, Lapointe, Lamaire, Henri Richard and Laperriere wound down their careers. After that the Habs were on the same footing as all other NHL teams when it came to drafting and development. And ever since they’ve been less dominant and have had far fewer Francophones on their roster.

  • Jobu

    One thing not mentioned… This guys had 101 PIMs this year, second most on the team. Good sign (physicality, aggitation) or bad (laziness), its worth noting.

    Can anyone speak to the style of game Gawdin plays outside of scoring?

    • mrroonie

      I’ve not really seen him play but here are his penalty totals:

      Fighting: 5
      Roughing: 22
      Hooking: 18
      Slashing: 10
      High sticking: 8
      Tripping: 6
      Charging: 6
      Check from behind: 6
      Cross checking: 4
      Holding: 4
      Interference: 4
      Spearing: 4
      Checking to the head: 2
      Embellishment: 2

      He played 37 of 67 games penalty free.

  • MDG1600

    Everyone is anxious to get rid of Stone but I think he can still play a valuable role for the Flames this year. He is no doubt overpaid but I think people overlook his value on the PK. Gio and Hamonic can’t be on the ice for all the PK. Hopefully Hanafin is decent but Brodie doesn’t get me excited on the PK and I don’t see those minutes going to Kulak or Andersson or Valimaki.

    • TurkeyLips

      Exactly. Stone is our #5 on the bluelibe, no rush to get rid of that. He can move up to #4 without issue. Make no mistake its Andersson vs Kulak for #6. Valimaki will be in the AHL due to Andersson’s seniority and the Seattle draft.

      • Getpucksdeep

        Stone and Engelland were both “okay” as 5th D men with 14-15 minutes a night. Both of them showed they can shine when they cover for injuries on the top 4. When they got 20-22 minutes a game they were both solid. Seems to make a difference to some defensemen if they can be more involved in the games. For the same reason IMHO Valimaki would really be better off with an AHL year to get top minutes as well, even if he is good enough to make it.

        • Cfan in Van

          “For the same reason IMHO Valimaki would really be better off with an AHL year to get top minutes as well, even if he is good enough to make it.”

          That, and the expansion draft protection makes it a no-brainer for me.

  • Fan the Flames

    Glenn will get to play with some talent in Stockton this winter having Phillips on his wing . He looked like a man possessed in the WHL playoffs . With his size , intensity and hockey sense I expect the NHL will be calling soon .

      • Getpucksdeep

        Not on mine. Gawdin’s a good prospect, emphasis on prospect. He hasn’t even played an exhibition game. Foo’s a year ahead of him as a pro and Foo may have had some breaks, but unlike many, he actually used that time to show his stuff. He put 16 shots on goal in 4 games. Few tryout players have had that many good chances in that small a sample size. Lots of players got to play RW with Gaudreau and did nothing. Monahan was on the shelf during Foo’s tryout which makes what he got done even more impressive.

        • The Fall

          All true. Gawdy and him both had breakout seasons as over-agers, but Gawd-boy set new standards and was noticeable in every aspect. That tips the scales for me. If either plays 200 games it’s a win for all of us.

  • Redleader

    What will Flames roster look like in 3 years !!!

    Gaudreau Monahan TKACHUK
    Bennett Lindholm Neal
    Mangiapane Dube Phillips
    Klimchuck Backlund Foo
    Gio Hanifin
    Valimaki Anderson
    Klington Kulak

    Parsons
    Gillies

  • Garry T

    Have been out all day at Mountainside Golf Course, Fairmont Hot Springs BC. Super course in the mountains. Great place to play. I said and some of you have taken exception and you are all welcome to do that, that there are more Gawdwins out there and we should be actively looking for them.

    Well, they need to do that. If Dube and Phillips are in Stockton along with Gawdwin, who of note can jump over the boards and create an out of your seat atmosphere. If the answer is you do nor know, then I am right. Someone said in an earlier post that now that the Flames roster is much improved , we should be re-stocking Stockton as well and that person was absolutely right. Yes we have drafted well of late. But how many guys have we got that you can get truly excited about that can come up and help beyond the three mentioned above. You could say Klimchuk but I really think he should be given an opportunity with the big club this year. Beyond Killington and Valamaki which defencemen are really going to jump out at you and get you excited. We have some prospects that look good on paper but it is on paper. Look at prospect rosters with Toronto, Tampa, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, the Islanders , Winnipeg and believe it or not Vancouver. All better stocked than we are. If I am an Owner of the Flames, I am sending a message to Tre. Do not trade any more picks! Our next draft we go 1 and then 4. Beyond that we are OK. So to fill the cupboards go back into the CHL and The USHL and look for the types of players I talked about.
    I want a great team as much as anyone else. We gave away picks, we need to go out and find more Gawdwins and Valamakis. They are out there.

  • dewtel

    I am intrigued by the decisions required to play the 2 preseason games in China. In Canada, we also have a pair of rookie games with the Oilers followed by 2 maybe 3 games before the ‘China’ players are ready to play.
    Certainly a different than a normal preseason because of the added travel to China, Anyone else speculated on who goes to China and who stays? Are the Veteran requirements still in place?