FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: Final lists revealed

Another year, another August (mostly) gone by.

We’re now mere days away from September, and with that, mere days away from players arriving en masse back into Calgary, training camp opening, and the preseason kicking off in like… two weeks.

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With the passing of another August, so, too, has another month of limited excitement gone by. Troy Brouwer got bought out. Noah Hanifin still has not been signed. And we have officially gone through another edition of the Flames’ top 20 prospects, and one in which top talent really seems to shine.

The top 20

A reminder that the way it works is pretty simple: a player voted in the top spot got 20 points, second place got 19, and etcetera, all the way down to 20th place votes, which garnered a single point. Whoever had the most votes in the end topped the list.

We started with the no-votes and runners up.

Six players – Zach Fischer, Josh Healey, Ryan Lomberg, Mitchell Mattson, Mason McDonald, and Nick Schneider – all failed to make any of our top 20 lists.

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Brett Pollock received one point, Eetu Tuulola six, and Yasin Ehliz came close to making the top 20 with 13 points.

And then…

Rank Prospect Points
1 Juuso Valimaki 155
2 Rasmus Andersson 154
3 Andrew Mangiapane 145
4 Dillon Dube 137
5 Oliver Kylington 128
6 Spencer Foo 117
7 Matthew Phillips 109
8 Tyler Parsons 108
9 Jon Gillies 96
10 Morgan Klimchuk 89
11 Glenn Gawdin 77
12 Linus Lindstrom 71
13 Adam Ruzicka 59
14 D’Artagnan Joly 52
15 Dmitry Zavgorodniy 40
16 Milos Roman 37
17 Filip Sveningsson 27
18 Emilio Pettersen 26
19 Demetrios Kouzmontzis 19
20 Martin Pospisil 14

A mere point separated our overall ranking between Valimaki and Andersson. Throw in Kylington’s top five ranking – and a fairly definitive one, at that – and the Flames’ prospect strength really does come from the backend.

Though the forwards have a chance at making something of themselves, as well. Mangiapane and Dube shot up the rankings to round out the top five, while Foo didn’t fall too far behind himself. Phillips only just beat out Parsons to squeak into the seventh spot, placing the two goalies right together.

The grouping was, overall, top heavy. The top 10 – really, maybe it should just be top nine – are well-defined, and everyone underneath them – including all five selections from the 2018 draft – are a bit more of a crapshoot, with deference going to those who have generally scored more at higher levels (and a preference for major junior, as Zavgorodniy and Roman separated themselves from the others).

Individual lists

Eight of us voted on lists this year. That means there are eight of us you get to yell at! Hooray.

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Rank Ari Ryan Mike Christian R Christian T Bill Karim Taylor
1 Valimaki Valimaki Andersson Valimaki Valimaki Andersson Mangiapane Andersson
2 Andersson Andersson Valimaki Andersson Andersson Valimaki Valimaki Mangiapane
3 Mangiapane Dube Mangiapane Dube Mangiapane Mangiapane Andersson Valimaki
4 Dube Mangiapane Kylington Mangiapane Dube Dube Dube Dube
5 Foo Kylington Dube Kylington Kylington Kylington Kylington Kylington
6 Kylington Foo Foo Parsons Foo Parsons Foo Foo
7 Phillips Parsons Phillips Phillips Phillips Foo Phillips Parsons
8 Parsons Phillips Parsons Gillies Gillies Phillips Klimchuk Phillips
9 Gillies Klimchuk Gillies Foo Parsons Gillies Parsons Gillies
10 Klimchuk Gillies Klimchuk Lindstrom Klimchuk Gawdin Gillies Klimchuk
11 Lindstrom Lindstrom Gawdin Klimchuk Joly Klimchuk Gawdin Gawdin
12 Gawdin Gawdin Lindstrom Gawdin Gawdin Ruzicka Joly Ruzicka
13 Joly Ruzicka Ruzicka Sveningsson Lindstrom Lindstrom Ruzicka Lindstrom
14 Ruzicka Roman Zavgorodniy Roman Zavgorodniy Joly Lindstrom Zavgorodniy
15 Roman Zavgorodniy Pettersen Ruzicka Roman Sveningsson Ehliz Joly
16 Zavgorodniy Pettersen Joly Zavgorodniy Pospisil Pettersen Koumontzis Ehliz
17 Pettersen Koumontzis Svengsson Joly Ruzicka Roman Roman Sveningsson
18 Pospisil Joly Koumontzis Pettersen Koumontzis Zavgorodniy Pospisil Roman
19 Tuulola Sveningsson Tuulola Koumontzis Sveningsson Pospisil Tuulola Pettersen
20 Koumontzis Ehliz Ehliz Pospisil Pettersen Koumontzis Sveningsson Pollock

As usual, I can’t speak for how anyone else’s list shook out: only my own. But I would like to share my basic thought processes once again.

What really helps me in separating these players is dividing them into tiers. Valimaki and Andersson: tier one. Mangiapane and Dube: tier two. Foo, Kylington, and Phillips: tier three, and so on.

From there, it’s a matter of weighing ceiling and immediacy. How good can this prospect be at his peak, versus is he more likely to make the NHL sooner rather than later? For example, I believe Valimaki’s ceiling is higher than Andersson’s, but that Andersson is a bigger threat to make the NHL this season… but Valimaki probably isn’t too far behind, and he has the greater potential, so he won out in my books. But for Mangiapane and Dube, as far as I can tell at this stage, their ceilings may not be too far apart – but Mangiapane, who has already played professionally, is perhaps more likely to make the NHL before Dube, so he got the nod for me there.

Voting was a lot more difficult the further down the list, but that’s because we’re simply not as familiar with those prospects. The guys in my top 10 I have followed and known about and been excited over for a couple of years. None of the others have reached that allure just yet, so ranking them kind of turned into a “let’s see what sticks” affair.

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But anyway! That’s how things turned out for us. Agree? Disagree? Just how horribly wrong did we get things, anyway? Sound off in the comments; we’ll soon be seeing a lot of these guys playing, and maybe some will blow the doors off and make it within a month and change.

  • freethe flames

    I believe at the beginning of this series was the premise of being Calder eligible. If that was the case then immediacy should trump ceiling in my opinion. It’s great that 3 of the top 5 are defenders but after that there is really no one; future drafts need to replenish the holes that will be left by Andersson, Valimaki’s and Kylington’s eventually graduation to the big show.

    • Baalzamon

      I believe at the beginning of this series was the premise of being Calder eligible.

      Yeah… meaning if the player is eligible for the Calder trophy they’re considered a prospect. That’s it. Being eligible for an award isn’t a criterion for ranking, it’s a determiner for eligibility on the list.

  • Jobu

    Thanks for the effort guys! Jobu appreciates. These prospect articles certainly add some life to an otherwise droll offseason.

    Hopefully Calgary doesnt trade away all their picks again next year so we can have more new blood to talk about.

  • everton fc

    DMITRY ZAVGORODNIY Zavgorodniy could be the real “sleeper”, on these lists. If this kid gains a few pounds of muscle, and figures out the North American game a little more… He could be a real interesting, productive prospect. Phillips is the other I can’t wait to see, at the professional level, in Stockton.

    I think the most over-rated may unfortunately be Ruzicka. And I’d have Dube, over Mangiapane.

    Big year for Parsons, coming. And funny many have Foo so far down the list, but also have him as a potential 4th line forward this season – “on the cusp of making the team”.

      • I know I’m a bit of an outlier there, but I really think Mangiapane has the potential to be an impact top six forward in the NHL. He’s done nothing but light up the AHL (second in P/GP last season) and I don’t think it’s fair to criticize his 10 games in the NHL at all, especially considering he played with Stajan/Brouwer/Lazar for 99% of his shifts. You have to look at the player’s ceiling, not their floor.

        • Atomic Clown

          Understandable absolutely, but aren’t Andersson and Valimaki more surefire bets to be high impact players in the NHL? This is largely due to the opportunities available to rookie dmen versus rookie forwards. Highly likely one rookie dman gets in to the NHL this season, and depending on how Harmonic/Brodie/Stone rebound, we could be looking at another next season. On the forward however, there’s a bit of a logjam. Next to impossible for Mangiapane to break into the top 6, very difficult to break into top 9.

    • LannyMac

      I wouldn’t call him a whining little twerp but the only reason I ever listened to the afternoon show was due to Kerr. He is not an entertaining host IMO. No reason to listen to the Fan in the afternoon anymore. Hope they get a quality co-host

    • LannyMac

      I know Mangiapane played with Stajan and Lazar last year which wasn’t ideal. But (big but) he never did a single thing to separate himself from those two. JMO he is never going to be a regular in the NHL. What is it that makes him so appealing to most of you. He was successful in the A but that means next to nothing. Also I have no problem with smallish players as long as they bring grit or a bit of an edge something this team seriously (and I mean seriously) was lacking last year. Dube has some of that. Maybe early but by mid season Dube will supplant Mangiapane on the depth chart.

      • MDG1600

        What you say is true but I still think Mang could go either way – it is probably too early to tell. I am old enough to remember Marty St. Louis in a Flames jersey and I can tell you there was absolutely nothing remarkable about his on ice play for the Flames the first time he got called up (13 games – 2 pts.). He looked more promising the next year but Calgary gave up on him, probably because they thought he was too small. The league is different now so I think Mang will get his chance with Calgary but he needs to produce if he is going to get top 9 or top 6 ice time.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Interesting. What makes you think Dube can score at the next level….we sure know that Mangi can. Dube could be a better fit on the Flames 4th line but Mangi looks like has he more to offer when he is with skilled players. Lazar has left me jaded a little bit…I was really pulling for him.

  • Al Rain

    My criteria for evaluating prospects would be complicated as it would encompass everything from ceiling to immediate impact to chances of making the NHL, etc.

    But my process for ranking prospects would be dead simple: who would you rather keep?

    And, as I mentioned in a previous post, I see Mangiapane and Dube as quite far apart (and in the reverse order listed here). Mangiapane will make the team as a goal scorer, or not at all. Dube’s ceiling is probably pretty similar but his overall skill set makes him a virtual lock to be an important contributor for a decade. If you could only keep one of them, which would it be?

  • MDG1600

    I think the old saying that familiarity breeds contempt applies really well to our attitudes towards prospects. It is interesting that virtually all of this years drafts make the top 20 while players that have kicked around the system awhile ( McDonald, Schneider, Pollock, Tuulola…) are nowhere to be seen. I don’t know if a top 20 prospects list was created 2 years ago but I have to think players like Tuulola, Pollock and McDonald were probably on it.

    • Sea of Redd

      I couldn’t find the final rankings for 2016, but here was the concensus (or close to) amongst flamesnation readers.

      I don’t think it’s that familiarity breeds contempt. Just that some players continued to evolve and get better while others plateaued.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      The one guy affected by recency bias to me is Tuulola. A junior age guy 6th in a good pro league (and I believe I read that he was #2 in the second half had to rank ahead of some recent late round picks. I’m not saying he should be 15 or above but I think he deserves to be in top 20.

      • Baalzamon

        I agree, and I raised that in the near misses article. Tool is coming off a 0.5PPG season in a fairly good pro league. That beats anything Pospisil or Koumontzis have done, at the very least.

  • Off the wall

    Thanks for making August bearable FN writers!

    The last month- every night about dinner time onwards, I watch the sky. No, I’m not looking for forest fires. I’m watching a marvel unfold.

    Cuz there’s people doing a feat that I’d never do… skydiving!
    I honestly don’t know how they do it—free falling for what seems like eternity, before they open their chute. I have no idea how high they are- (10,000ft?) but it amazes me every time!
    I get vertigo just being on a high building, let alone pretending I’m a bird in the sky. They land in a field about a mile away from my home. Is it bravery, thrill seeking or just a sport? Maybe all the above.

    In contrast to our prospects, some appear to have taken a dive, others have steadily improved, soaring like a bird in the sky.

    One thing that always makes an impression on me- the winds can change (quickly) and although we watch from afar- it can make a huge outcome in landing safely in the NHL.

    Coaching, proper eating, workout regimen and mental makeup are all factors to consider. As are possible injuries.

    Deployment of the chutes is one important step never to be taken lightly. Same with deployment of these prospects.

    If deployed properly, we will have an enjoyable experience- watching our young prospects take the plunge.

    It’s exhilarating to watch!

  • JMK

    Another random observation unrelated to the article. I was so wondering what impact heading to China might have. Standings at the end of October last year had LA and Vancouver 2nd and 4th in the West respectively, the two teams that want to China. Obviously it’s a small sample size as they were first teams to do it, but fingers crossed Calgary get a similarly good start this season.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Great exercise. I agree with most of the selections but I have Ras #1 however I admit I have not seen Valimaki play a lot. He has a lot of supporters from hockey minds that know the game better than me so I am intrigued. Phillips is the other player that I feel is going to make a statement at the pro level and be in the running for the AHL rookie race.

    My biggest concerns on the list is Dube’s scoring at the next level, is he Brayden Point or Curtis Lazar. Parsons health worries me as it seems to be something different all the time…I wonder if he is just unlucky.

  • Alberta Ice

    Will look forward this year to Mangiapane not playing on Brouwer’s line this year. Really like the top 13 of this list and hope they can really put pressure on those ahead of them and make the Flames a very competitive team this year.

  • Thunder1

    Random Sean Monahan quote

    “I feel like a new man right now,” the 23-year-old center said at Scotiabank Saddledome, where several Calgary players skated informally. “I’m more flexible, more mobile, meaner and stronger, so I think it’s a good feeling to be healthy.”

    He gets 40 or more this year.

  • Just.Visiting

    Using the criteria of whether I would trade someone lower on the list for someone ranked higher above them, I’d have Parsons at 3 and Dube above Mangi. I’d also slot Gillies a couple of slots higher, even though he’s potentially going to be a hit or a miss, rather than an ok.