2022 Flames Second Round Targets: Jordan Gustafson
Photo credit:Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
By Ryan Pike4 months ago
Friends, it’s no secret that the Calgary Flames often draft from the Western Hockey League. They own a WHL team, the Calgary Hitmen, and that gives them a nice built-in advantage in terms of scouting that league. When it comes to the 2022 NHL Draft, there are several interesting WHLers who could be available for the Flames when they select at 59th overall.
Let’s look at one in particular: Seattle Thunderbirds forward Jordan Gustafson.
Originally from Ardrossan, Alberta – a hamlet just east of Edmonton – Gustafson is a left shot winger listed at 5’11” and 179 pounds.
Gustafson worked his way up through Edmonton-area minor hockey, primarily in Fort Saskatchewan, and was selected by the Thunderbirds in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft. He made his WHL debut in 2019-20, but became a full-time WHLer when the league relaunched after the pandemic in 2020-21. In 2021-22, his second season in the Dub, he took a big step forward in his production and emerged as one of the T-Birds’ most consistent offensive contributors.
Evan Pace of Dobber Prospects had this evaluation of Gustafson:
Gustafson uses efficient, quick crossovers to gain speed and keeps his knees bent at the proper angle, adding power to his stride. He supports his teammates well in all three zones, staying in the middle of the ice to ensure defensive positioning while also being able to take advantage of turnovers and offensive opportunities. An underrated part of his game is his vision and passing ability, which he shows off in tight spaces, finding his teammates for scoring chances. He has a good blend of speed and skill to build on in the future, but his physical build and strength, as well as his tendency to overhandle pucks at times, rank him a bit lower than some of the other top draft-eligibles in the WHL. Gustafson has been a streaky scorer throughout the season, producing points in bunches and then disappearing from the scoresheet for a couple of games. If he is able to keep pace or produce at a high rate going into the playoffs, he has the potential to sneak into a late first-round selection, but he is a consensus mid-round pick as of now
Over at Smaht Scouting, Matthew Somma had this rundown of Gustafson’s game:
Jordan Gustafson is a player that has received a fair amount of hype this season, particularly in recent months. He’s playing for a great Seattle team in the WHL and is playing in all situations as an 18-year-old. Gustafson’s shifty skating is typical of most smaller forwards, but what makes him stand out is his physicality and strength on the puck. Gustafson is able to score at will from medium to high danger areas and can be a threat on a team’s power play if he makes it to the NHL.
Daily Faceoff’s Chris Peters had Gustafson ranked 77th:
A strong postseason performance has driven Gustafson’s stock higher of late. He has good two-way capabilities and good enough hands to make some plays. Gustafson plays with quickness and that makes him tougher to play against.
Gustafson isn’t huge, but he was a good player on a team that really broke out during the playoffs. The Flames probably have a good amount of information about him, given that he plays with 2021 Flames pick Lucas Ciona in Seattle.
Gustafson had 23 goals and 52 points in 58 games in the 2021-22 season after having 4 goals and 11 points in 23 games the season prior. In the post-season, he had 4 goals and 16 points in 25 playoff games as the Thunderbirds went to the championship series (before losing to Edmonton).
Gustafson was sixth on Seattle in points and fourth in goals in the regular season, and seventh in points and ninth in goals in the playoffs.
Among under-18 players in the WHL this season, Gustafson was 18th in points and 12th in points-per-game among WHL regulars. Among first-time draft eligible WHLers, he was sixth in points-per-game.
Availability and fit
Gustafson is a toolsy left shot forward who’s shown year-over-year progression in a good junior league. He’s also somebody they’ve probably seen a decent amount of, given that he plays in the WHL with a Flames prospect.
In terms of availability, he seems likely to be on the board when the Flames pick at 59th overall based upon the available public draft rankings:
Daily Faceoff: 77th
Elite Prospects: 52nd
FC Hockey: 116th
TSN (Bob McKenzie): 72nd
TSN (Craig Button): 66th
Dobber Prospects: 74th
Smaht Scouting: 74th
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