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Mapping the Calgary Flames: A geographic visualization

The Calgary Flames organization is enjoying some of its best depth ever. A young core, offseason lineup upgrades, and highly touted prospects are all reasons to be excited. These players come together wearing the Flaming C, but just where exactly do they come from?

To get a sense of the composition of the organization, I explored a few different geographical representations of the Calgary Flames: birthplace, current league, and current team. These metrics were chosen to see if they reveal anything about the Flames that might not be immediately obvious.

Where were they born?

Birthplace, a whimsical driving force of locker room rivalries, should actually give a good idea about where the Flames find their players. North American players make up over two thirds of the organization, with 41 of 60 players in total. The remaining 19 are all European-born from eight different countries.

Canada

The Flames are loaded with Canadians through and through. On the NHL roster, 13 players were born in Canada, and in Stockton there’s 14. There is no doubt that Canada is well-represented in the organization.

Sean Monahan and James Neal take the spotlight as Canadian forwards, with Sam Bennett and Mark Jankowski not too far behind. Curtis Lazar completes the Canadian forward set for the Flames.

They had a big turnover in Canadian roles this offseason. Most notably, Troy Brouwer, Kris Versteeg, and Matt Stajan have all moved on from the Flames and found new teams in the Florida Panthers, Avangard Omsk of the KHL, and the Red Bull Munchen of the DEL, respectively.

Interestingly enough, prior to the Dougie Hamilton trade, the Flames often iced an all-Canadian defense corps in 2017-18 with Mark Giordano, Hamilton, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone, and Brett Kulak. Four of six Flames defensemen will still be Canadian in 2018-19 — five of seven, if Dalton Prout joins them — Noah Hanifin being the lone American, and hopefully a certain Swedish defenseman will join them. More on that later.

Mike Smith will be the Flames’ #1 goaltender for the second straight season. That’s Canadian 2014 Olympic gold medallist Mike Smith, in case anyone forgot.

In Stockton, Spencer Foo, Andrew Mangiapane, Anthony Peluso, Dillon Dube, Morgan Klimchuk, Matthew Phillips, Glenn Gawdin, Kerby Rychel (though born in California), and Alan Quine are all possible candidates to play in the Flames’ bottom six. Other players — most of whom are likely to spend the majority of their seasons in Stockton — include Tyler Graovac, Ryan Lomberg, Brett Pollock, Zach Fischer, and Josh Healey. The two Canadian goaltending prospects, Mason McDonald and Nick Schneider, fall behind their American counterparts in the depth charts.

Beyond the NHL and AHL level, only one Flames prospect is Canadian: D’Artagnan Joly. The last Canadian in the Flames’ system is Linden Vey, whose rights remain with them for one more season since they qualified him in 2017.

USA

The American chapter of the Calgary Flames is a fairly limited one. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Garnet Hathaway will be joined this season by Hanifin, Derek Ryan, and Austin Czarnik. Hanifin, brought in from the Hamilton trade, just signed a six-year, $29.7 million deal. Ryan and Czarnik present intriguing bottom six options for the Flames that will surely be revamped for 2018-19.

A similar tale is told in Stockton, with Buddy Robinson being the new American joining the goaltending duo of Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons. Elsewhere, the Flames have only have two remaining American prospects, both playing in the NCAA: Demetrios Koumontzis and Mitchell Mattson.

Europe

Sweden easily has the highest count at seven players, with Mikael Backlund and Elias Lindholm taking the reins in the Flames’ top six, Rasmus Andersson knocking at the door for a spot in the third pairing, and Oliver Kylington poised to be one of the best defensemen in the AHL this coming season. Prospects Linus Lindstrom and Filip Sveningsson are playing hockey in Sweden and former SHL defenseman Marcus Hogstrom will be playing in Stockton after signing a one-year, two-way contract earlier this summer.

The two Czech with the Flames are Michael Frolik and David Rittich, who both look to bounce back this coming season. Frolik did not seem like himself after returning from a broken jaw midway through the year, and Rittich had a rollercoaster of a season after taking big steps towards being the Flames’ relied-upon backup goaltender.

Three players in the Flames system come from Slovakia, all of whom share a common bond beyond their heritage. Adam Ruzicka was drafted in the fourth round in 2017, and Martin Pospisil and Milos Roman followed suit, both also selected in the fourth round in 2018.

Finland takes the prize this year for being the home of FlamesNation top ranked prospect Juuso Valimaki. Fellow countryman Eetu Tuulola — self proclaimed goal-scoring lover — completes the duo of Finnish-born prospects for the Flames.

From Russia, Dmitri Zavgorodniy and Rushan Rafikov make up the entire Russian presence in the system. Both were seventh round selections, Zavgorodniy in 2018 and Rafikov in 2013.

To round out the Europeans, Germany, Norway, and Belarus each have one player in the organization: Yasin Ehliz, Mathias Emilio Pettersen, and Pavel Karnaukhov, respectively (though Karnaukhov represents Russia in national play).

Born into a league

A high-level way to evaluate how players are developing for the Flames is to look at which league they play in. With player origins fresh, plotting birthplaces colour-coded by their respective league presents a fun perspective on the distribution of talent in the system.

The leagues are sorted in order of highest to lowest NHLe, courtesy of Emmanuel Perry, as a means of differentiating the leagues in a logical manner. Most of the Flames’ NHL players come from Canada and USA, with only four roster spots going to Europeans. A majority of prospects are also North American, scattered across many different leagues. Similarly, a handful of European prospects are also playing in various leagues as a part of their potential journeys to the NHL.

It does seem interesting that a lot of higher end talent in the Flames system comes from North America, but it also says something about a shift in drafting philosophy, as some of their best prospects come from overseas. Whether that trend continues or not is left to be seen, but kudos to the Flames’ scouting staff in knowing where to look and making the right moves.

Team representation

Lastly, the leagues can be further broken down into current teams. Aside from Calgary and Stockton, where else are the Flames represented? In every other city or town besides Moscow (thank you Linden Vey!), each player is the sole representative of the Flames on their teams.

Team League Number of players
Calgary Flames NHL 23
Stockton Heat AHL 23
Vancouver Giants CHL (WHL) 1
Sarnia Sting CHL (OHL) 1
Rimouski Oceanic CHL (QMJHL) 1
Baie-Comeau Drakkar CHL (QMJHL) 1
Arizona State University NCAA 1
University of Denver NCAA 1
Michigan State University NCAA 1
Sioux City Musketeers USHL 1
CSKA Moskva KHL 2
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL 1
Skelleftea AIK SHL 1
HPK Liiga 1
IK Oskarshamn Allsvenskan 1

In North America, the players are fairly dispersed between Canada and USA. From east to west and north to south, there are plenty of places that have a Flames presence.

The Flames have prospects developing across Canada on four CHL teams. Roman will continue with his second year with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Out east, Ruzicka will be a third-year veteran on the Sarnia Sting of the OHL.

Joly and Zavgorodniy played against each other last season in the QMJHL, Joly with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, and Zavgorodniy with the Rimouski Oceanic. Joly is about to start his fourth year in Baie-Comeau, while Zavgorodniy will enter his second in Rimouski.

Down in the states, of course there’s the multitude of players in Stockton, but there’s also a few NCAA prospects as well as a lone USHLer. In the NCAA, the Flames have three first-time NCAA players, all of whom played in the USHL last year.

Mattson at Michigan State University, Pettersen at the University of Denver, and Koumontzis at Arizona State University make up the Flames’ representation in the NCAA. Pospisil will play his second and final year in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers before also heading to the NCAA, and will play out of the St. Lawrence University in 2019-20.

Across the ocean, the KHL has Karnaukhov playing with CSKA Moskva alongside Vey, and Rafikov is with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Outside of Russia, Lindstrom plays with Skelleftea AIK of the SHL, Tuulola plays with HPK in Liiga (Finnish Elite League), and Sveningsson plays with IK Oskarshamn in HockeyAllsvenskan.

There’s a time and place for everything

The roster Brad Treliving put together to play in front of the C of Red this coming season is as exciting as ever, not to mention the cavalry of players in Stockton hoping to make the jump to Calgary sooner rather than later. The rest of the prospects are all developing across the world, hoping to impress when they get their opportunities.

The players in the organization are all in very different stages of their careers, from pros to prospects. With many unique stories being told, where will their careers pan out? Well that’s impossible to foresee, but at least now we know where they came from.



  • freethe flames

    On a completely different note according to Capfriendly the Flames currently have 44 players under contact. I know the max NHL deals is 50; do the Flames add to this list before camp or do they only add some PTO’s to camp? Does anyone know who they have signed to AHL deals only; I know McMurty(a center who played for them last year), what is Fischer’s status? Anyone else?

  • Brian Burkee

    If we don’t get to the Stanley cup finals this year then I believe it will be a major disappointment. We only have a couple years to do this before Gio and especially Smith are done. Tre has built the best team a fan could ever hope for. We are loaded with high end talent and I still believe we have the best defence in the league. It should be an easy sweep of the oilers this year and winning the pacific shouldn’t be a problem.

    Dougie and Ferland out

    Hanifin, Lindholm and Neal = Stanley cup.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      we should make the playoffs if Smith not on the ir… still don’t know what Bill Peters can do, and 0 idea about Ryan vs cost if it was worth it.
      Side note we will see PTO for the roster not going to China from BT report,

        • Roger the Shrubber

          Agreed on Ryan. I feel like people are going to complain about him. At least the guy can skate and win faceoffs, though. I’m not hoping for much besides a capable 4th line center who can win some important draws when called upon.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      I wish I could wake up on a Sunday morning with your level of joy and optimism. I must admit I’m pretty good at it, but you give me new levels to shoot for!! First thing. It can be done and we should hold that thought … keep an image of the boys hoisting the jug firmly in mind. Second … it’s really hard to get to the finals … think of everything that has to go right and all of the things that might go wrong. I don’t say this to dampen enthusiasm, but simply to say that we can’t define not getting there as “a major disappointment”. A major disappointment is a first round loss or not getting to the playoffs at all. A minor disappointment is a 2nd round loss. Losing in the conference finals would be a successful season. Losing in the cup finals would be a very, very successful season. Winning it all … unbelievable!.

    • FuNky ANGER

      Maybe we should temper such high expectations until we see how the team plays together.

      Not that I don’t think this team is good … but setting such high expectations early can be a fools foley.

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    Bill thanks for trying to bring new material to the plate at the end of a very long summer! We’re needing hockey I see!!! :-). Well done, but time for some real action to talk about!!

  • Off the wall

    We should do a FN member geographical visualization.
    I bet we have representation all over the world. Some that I’m aware of include, Europe, Australia, USA, Canada- (coast-to- coast)
    I wonder how many fans there are who read this blog that are from parts unknown?!

      • Off the wall

        Haha, from Scotland, live in BC.
        We ALL count JMK!

        It’s been very interesting for me.
        I put my email out for those on Vancouver Island wishing to enjoy a game in Duncan together.

        I’ve received emails from several people who read FN daily, but aren’t members who comment.

        They have expressed their enjoyment of FN and how much they appreciate the members contributions on here.

        It’s been a bit of an eye- opener for me and I must say it’s great to receive feedback from those who make up the (silent) members who enjoy it as much as we do!

        • The Real SlimBrodie

          I love your stories otw. I love all the persona’s people portray on this site. Some are villains, but you still love reading their posts because they create conflict and havoc. Some ride in and defend against trolls. Then there is the always grumpy (₩₩). It all makes for a great inner storyline.

          • Off the wall

            The personalities are what make this a FUN Nation. It covers a broad spectrum—from analytical to whimsical and everything in between together.

            WW is a permanent fixture here.
            As much as we hear his repetitive remarks, I’ve always liked him. Even our “silent” ones have an appreciation for what he brings here.

            FN wouldn’t be the same without him or any other member on here.?

      • deantheraven

        From Calgary but live in Germany. Don’t miss too many games, although the time difference makes it difficult to do without learning the score beforehand. Sadly, it also means I usually have to leave off FN for a few more hours than I’d like to do because, spoilers. Love it here.
        GFG!

        • deantheraven

          Goettingen, Germany, very central on the map. Nearest town with a team is Kassel, currently DEL2. James Wisneiwski(Sorry James) played there last year. We get to a few games there and I’m going to see if I can find a way to get to one of Matty Stajan’s games this year, just to say ‘hi’ and ‘thanks’.

    • Walt Whitman

      Los Angeles, California
      In what used to be the United States. I think we’re headed to the Republic of Gilead or something now, and Canada is the last vestige of freedom in North America.

  • Squishin

    Great to see more diversity in the prospect pool. European leagues are getting better and better, and I’m glad the Flames are cashing in.
    Can’t wait for hockey to start. Now that it’s cooling off, it’s time to get on with the indoor sports.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    Hey, can someone help a Big Ern out? When does training camp start for the flames? Like, is it before China? Likely a silly question, but this last year has been my first in following the flames intensely, and I never really looked into stuff this much. Thanks!

  • deantheraven

    Un related, but has there been an announcement of who the 26 going to China will be?
    I’d book tickets for Johnny, Monny, Byng, Neal, Lindy(Beast), Ryan, Brodano and HammerFinn, and Backs & Fro as well. That’s 12 NHL regulars (Business Class) who are expected to suit up on opening Night.
    Then there’s the Economy Plus Section (downgraded seats, less meal choices, only 1 free drink with meals, and contracts under $4 mil), with seats reserved for Vets like who?
    Stone, Kulak, Bennett, Lazar, Hathaway and Czarnik have earned the leg room (and Jankowski is a tall fellow, too). That’s 19 reservations. Minus two goalies, That’s 5 seats left in Economy (same seats as Economy Plus but you have to buy your meals* and headphones, and everybody watches the same movie).
    *(A dinner roll and bottle water is provided free of charge)
    it would be easy to take Anderson and Kyllington, Mangiapane and Dube and maybe Klimchuk, but I’d like to see a lot of these guys, and they wouldn’t all get into both of those games.
    The players without tickets for the China Tour will play 2 or 3 games back in the Canada before the travelers have recovered from jet-lag. Sure, There’ ll be PTO’s that can fill out a line up to play the Oil & The ‘Nucks. But part of me wonders if more of the Prospects would get longer looks, and more of them, if they don’t join the China team.
    So do you leave all the prospects at home, take them all and play them in, what, 1 overseas game and the last two at home? Or leave some of the seats in Economy Plus empty, inviting those fellows in Economy to steal a taste the good Life?
    And who tags along with Smith for a ride in the last row before the WC?

    • freethe flames

      I suspect the 22 guys listed on the capfriendly site(maybe excluding Prout) as NHL and the following: Rittich and Andersson for sure. After that will they take their top prospects in Valimaki and Dube or will they take their top AHL guys such as Foo, Mangaipane, Rychel and Klyington.

    • Skylardog

      Looking at the China roster logically, and assuming that they are taking all of the main guys, the list is not as open as we may want. Normal roster is 23 made up of 14 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goalies. For the 26, you could assume reasonably 15 forwards, 8 D, and 3 goalies. This is the breakdown that LA took last season.

      So the list is, barring some nagging injury:
      Forwards:
      Gaudreau, Mony, Neal, Backs, Tkachuk, Frolik, Bennett, Janko, Hathaway, Ryan, Lazar, Lindholm, plus Czarnik. That is 13. Add in 2 of Mangi, Foo, Dube, Klimchuk. I think Foo is a lock to go, probably meaning Mangi or Dube.

      On Defense:
      Gio, Brodie, Hanafin, Hamonic, Kulak, Stone, Andersson plus one other. Valimaki? or Kylington.

      In Goal:
      Smith, Rittich, & Gillies would most likely go.

      I think that echos your lineup quite closely.

    • Getpucksdeep

      Lazar, Hathaway, Peluso and Prout have the requisite games to qualify as “NHL” for a pre season game. Czarnik and Quine do not. Unless I’m mistaken that means 4 guys from the main roster should be staying in Canada unless the league gave them some exemption for the overseas trip.