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2021 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings: #8 Ryan Francis

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Shane Stevenson
1 year ago
This guy is a hell of a playmaker – everywhere he’s gone it has seen him rack up a ton of points. He fell to the fifth round in 2020 and the Flames pounced – he is Ryan Francis.
Francis (19) currently plays for the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL, on their top line. It would be reasonable to suspect Francis finishes this season among the league’s top 10 in scoring, I mean he was sixth last season. It’s a very exciting year to see what Ryan Francis is capable of.

Ryan Francis
Right-shooting forward
Born Dec. 2nd 2001 in Halifax, NS
5’9” 170 lbs
Drafted fifth round (143rd overall) by CGY in 2020
Everywhere he’s gone Francis has been able to put up reputable assist totals. As the years have gone by he’s naturally progressed his vision and playmaking skills along. His ability to find offensive spots to find more goals has been his greatest improvement in his game since he was drafted.
Cape Breton took him 21st overall in the QMJHL 2017 entry draft – the same one Alexis Lafreniere went first. He took a big step his draft year – scoring over a point per-game in 2019-20. Prior to that he put up back-to-back 30 point seasons – never letting his height or weight stop him from creating offence.
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As we can see in Mitch Brown’s tracking of Francis it shows excellent offensive numbers – being a premier creator of scoring chances and extended offensive zone time. He struggles to get out of his own zone – a sign that a playdriving center might be needed for him. Not the best sign, but all of his offensive instincts outweigh that concern.
Jerome Berube of HockeyProspect.com had this assessment of Francis’ game:
He had a good year with Cape Breton and Saint John in his last junior season, nothing surprising as he’s a very intelligent and skilled hockey player. There was some consistency issue with him in the past but overall that was likely his more consistent season in the QMJHL in some tough circumstances with this Covid season. He has a good skill level; he’s more of a playmaker than a scorer. He can play center or on the wing, he projects more as a winger than a center at the pro level due to his lack of size and speed. The skating/size combo is not ideal but the rest of his game is solid, I like players with a strong hockey IQ and that’s Francis’s number one quality.

Expectations for 2021-22

If Francis wants to turn into an even better top tier prospect he needs to light up the QMJHL this year. The QMJHL is rated weaker than the other CHL leagues, so players that go on to dominate the NHL typically dominate this league as well. He could put up another point per game season and prep himself well for the AHL, but if he truly lights it up he’s looking at major top six time when he does get to Stockton.

2021 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings

The no-votes | On the bubble | #20 Ilya Solovyov | #19 Cole Huckins | #18 Rory Kerins | #17 Johannes Kinnvall | #16 Martin Pospisil | #15 Yan Kuznetsov | #14 Emil Heineman | #13 William Strömgren | #12 Dan Vladar | #11 Emilio Pettersen | #10 Glenn Gawdin | #9 Jeremie Poirier | #8 Ryan Francis

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