Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
Calgary Flames recall defenceman Yan Kuznetsov from AHL’s Calgary Wranglers
By Mike Gould1 month ago
The Calgary Flames have recalled defenceman Yan Kuznetsov from the American Hockey League’s Calgary Wranglers, the club announced Friday morning.
Kuznetsov, 21, has collected seven points (two goals, five assists) in 21 games with the Wranglers to begin the 2023–24 regular season. The Flames originally selected the Murmansk, Russia product in the second round (No. 50 overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft.
A spot opened up on the Flames’ blue line after left-handed defenceman Dennis Gilbert made an early exit from Thursday’s 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators with an injury as a result of an awkward collision with Philip Tomasino. Flames head coach Ryan Huska indicated after the game that Gilbert would likely have to go through concussion protocol.
After trading Nikita Zadorov to the Vancouver Canucks, the Flames have run relatively lean at the bottom of their defensive rotation, alternating between Gilbert, Jordan Oesterle, and Nick DeSimone for the most part in recent weeks. Ilya Solovyov has occasionally joined that group.
Now, it’s Kuznetsov’s turn. The 6’4″, 209-lb. defender has yet to make his NHL debut in parts of four professional seasons in the Flames organization, racking up seven goals and 26 points in 112 career AHL games with the Wranglers and Stockton Heat. He appeared in five games with the Wranglers during the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs, collecting two assists.
Kuznetsov has primarily been deployed on either the Wranglers’ second or third defensive pairings this season. He’s a big, toolsy defender with average mobility and a willingness to make body-on-body plays. He projects to most likely be a third-pairing defender at the NHL level.
The Flames originally drafted Kuznetsov out of the University of Connecticut, where he played two seasons (including his draft year) and managed 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 50 games. Kuznetsov also spent part of the 2021–22 season with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs, with whom he captured the Memorial Cup alongside fellow Flames prospect Jeremie Poirier.
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