2023 FlamesNation prospect rankings: #3 Jakob Pelletier
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
9 days ago
Jakob Pelletier was one of the best players on the Calgary Wranglers last year and when you are the best, you are rewarded for it. Pelletier’s skills have not necessarily been hidden but last season, it came to a point where his production could simply not be ignored. Walker Duehr and even Matthew Phillips got their NHL looks and when Phillips’ chance passed him by, his linemate and close friend, Jakob Pelletier got a good long look with the Flames for the last half of the season. This first-rounder may have reached a point in his career where permanent minor-league graduation is inevitable.
Pelletier lands at third on our annual prospect ranking, the same spot he claimed on our 2022 list.
Born March 7, 2001 (Age 22) in Vanier, Quebec
5’9”, 170 pounds
Drafted in the first round (26th overall) by Calgary in the 2019
Jakob Pelletier came off a stellar 62-point rookie year with the Stockton Heat. In his second season, he was projected to exceed those numbers, averaging over a point per game. In the 35 games he played with the Wranglers in the regular season, he earned 37 points consisting of 16 goals and 21 assists. He was right near the top of team scoring in the first half of the season with the Wranglers and once he earned his shot with the Flames, other AHL teammates overtook his place.
Pelletier skated in his first NHL game on Jan. 21 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It took him a few games for him to get his NHL legs, but he was on the board by his seventh game in the league on Feb. 11. He scored his first NHL goal in the Flames’ game against the Buffalo Sabres.
Pelletier kept on rolling through the month of February but went pretty quiet points-wise for the rest of the season. Had the Flames made playoffs, it’s very likely he would have stayed with the team for their run. However, because that did not happen, this gave the Wranglers the opportunity to bring him back with Walker Duehr for their playoff run. It was perhaps the best chance a Flames AHL team has ever had to win a Calder Cup given the roster they were working with.
However, that dream did not pan out in the 2022-23 season. The Wranglers played two playoff series’ and closed their season in overtime in game five of a best-of-five series against the Coachella Valley Firebirds. Pelletier’s contributions to the post-season run were the best on the team. Again averaging just over a point per game, he had four goals and seven assists for a total of 10 points through their nine-game run.
His biggest goal of the playoffs was arguably in the first game against the Abbotsford Canucks when he scored the overtime game-winner to take an early series lead. This especially held weight as it was against a team the Wranglers were struggling against towards the end of the regular season.
In just his second pro season, Pelletier made waves and proved he is one of the best if he plays at the AHL level and has the skill to keep up at the NHL level. His performance in the playoffs was also very promising and showed he could be relied on in big-game situations.
Expectations for 2023-24
As much as I enjoy watching Pelletier play with the Wranglers, I hope he doesn’t even put their jersey on next year. The time is now for Pelletier to make that AHL to NHL jump that we’ve seen guys like Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube and Rasmus Andersson make in recent memory. Come the summer of 2024, I would like to see Pelletier graduate from the prospect list and take strides in his career in the NHL.
Jakob Pelletier enters the last year of his entry-level contract this season and is expected to make the opening night roster for the Calgary Flames. Otherwise, he will join the Calgary Wranglers to start the season, but might not be there for long.
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