The Calgary Flames are smack-dab in the middle of a pretty intense playoff race that will probably go until the final buzzer in Game 82 on April 4 at the Saddledome. But many other teams and players in the organization are also in the midst of playoff pushes.
Who’s in? Who’s out? Let’s take a look.
The League: American Hockey League
The Prospects: The Heat have 15 players under Flames contracts on their roster. 11 of those 15 players are 25 years old or younger.
The Playoff Picture: Even though they lost both of their games this past weekend in Iowa, the Heat are second in the AHL’s Pacific Division (just four back of Tucson for the division lead). The top four teams make it, and the gap between Stockton and the fifth place team is currently five points (with Stockton holding four games in hand). They’re not a lock, but they’d have to completely collapse to miss.
Kansas City Mavericks
The League: ECHL
The Prospects: The Mavericks have two Flames properties on their roster – goalies Nick Schneider and Tyler Parsons.
The Playoff Picture: Kansas City is in last place in the ECHL’s Mountain Division. They’re eight points back of the final playoff spot. It’s not an insurmountable climb, but they’d need to leap-frog three teams to get into the post-season.
(If/when Kansas City’s season ends, the Flames will likely re-assign Schneider and Parsons to Stockton to practice with the team.)
The League: The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
The Prospect: Dmitry Zavgorodniy
The Playoff Picture: The Oceanic are third in the QMJHL’s Eastern Conference, 33 points up on Halifax for the last playoff spot. They haven’t clinched but they’re a virtual lock.
The League: The QMJHL
The Prospect: Jakob Pelletier
The Playoff Picture: Moncton’s playoff predicament is even rosier than Rimouski’s. They’re the top team in the Eastern Conference, 35 points up on the Mooseheads. They also haven’t clinched yet but they’re a lock.
The League: The Western Hockey League
The Prospect: Milos Roman
The Playoff Picture: The Giants are third place in the WHL’s B.C. Division. They’re six points up on the Kelowna Rockets, the Memorial Cup hosts and top Western Conference wildcard team, and 16 points up on Prince George (the best team not in the playoffs). They’re very likely in.
The League: The WHL
The Prospect: Dustin Wolf
The Playoff Picture: The ‘Tips are second in the WHL’s U.S. Division. They’re 24 points up on Seattle for a divisional playoff spot and 33 points up on Prince George for a wild-card spot. They’re a virtual lock.
(If any of the CHL prospects have their teams eliminated before Stockton’s done, they’ll most likely join Stockton for the remainder of their playoffs.)
The League: The NCAA’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference
The Prospect: Emilio Pettersen
The Playoff Picture: The Pioneers are third in NCHC but they’re fifth in the NCAA’s pairwise rankings due to their strong out-of-conference record. The way the Frozen Four tournament works is the six conference playoff champs automatically get in, followed by the 10 best remaining teams via the pairwise. Denver seems a virtual lock for an invite.
(For those curious about Pettersen’s future, it’ll probably become clearer once the NCAA tournament kicks off. If he goes nuts in the tournament, or if Denver wins a championship, he might not have anything left to do in the NCAA.)
Arizona State Sun Devils
The League: The NCAA’s independent pool
The Prospect: Demetrios Koumontzis
The Playoff Picture: The Sun Devils are 10th in the pairwise, so unless all the conference winners are ranked behind them they should get in. Their entire schedule is non-conference games since they’re independent and they’ve matched up well against good teams.
Michigan State Spartans
The League: The NCAA’s Big 10 conference
The Prospects: Josh Nodler and Mitchell Mattson
The Playoff Picture: The Spartans are in a three-way tie for 19th in the pairwise rankings. They’re on the outside looking in.
The League: The Swedish Hockey League
The Prospect: Linus Lindstrom
The Playoff Picture: Skelleftea is 8th overall currently. In the SHL, the top six teams automatically make the playoffs and the 7th to 10th teams face off for the final two playoff spots. Skelleftea is slotted right now for that qualifying round.
The League: The SHL
The Prospect: Carl-Johan Lerby
The Playoff Picture: Like Skelleftea, Malmo seems destined for the qualifying playoffs. They’re 9th overall presently.
The League: The SHL
The Prospect: Filip Sveningsson
The Playoff Picture: Oksarshamn’s prospects aren’t quite as rosy as their counterparts. They’re second-last in the SHL and likely headed to the relegation playoffs, where they’ll compete against the top teams in the secondary HockeyAllsvenskan league to determine two spots in the SHL for next season.
(Depending on how far the Swedish teams go, there’s a non-trivial chance that a few of the Swedish prospects could migrate over to Stockton for their playoff run. The SHL playoffs usually end in March or April, depending how far the teams go.)
AIK IF U20
The League: J20 SuperElit, Sweden’s top junior league
The Prospect: Lucas Feuk
The Playoff Picture: AIK is currently in the first phase of the J20 playoffs, where the teams outside of the top 10 try to qualify for the Anton Cup playoffs. AIK is currently fifth – the top six move up to the main tournament – but they’ve also played fewer games than everybody ahead of them. They’re in good shape right now.
The League: The Major Hockey League, Russia’s top junior league
The Prospect: Ilya Nikolayev
The Playoff Picture: Loko is currently second in the MHL’s West Conference. The top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs, so they’re a virtual lock to qualify.