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Checking in on the 2023 draft class: a Calgary Flames prospect update

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Photo credit:Rob Wilton/Vancouver Giants
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
It’s hard to believe it, but we’re creeping up very quickly on the 2023-24 trade deadline. So not only does that mean that the NHL season is almost two-thirds completed, but it also means that the 2023 NHL Draft was eight months ago.
So eight months on, how are the six players the Flames obtained at the draft faring?
Samuel Honzek (first round) obviously had some tough injury luck, suffering an abdominal injury in the NHL pre-season that delayed the start of his season until December, essentially scuttling any plans at the WHL level to test him out at centre – because it’s tough to learn that position, and really tough to do so against players that are already in mid-season form. Honzek’s offensive numbers are about the same as he had last season, but he’s shown flashes of really strong play. Honzek’s baseline right now seems to be “really good,” and as he gets more comfortable post-injury he could find another level. (He did last season.) He’s trending well, and probably destined to spend time with the Wranglers whenever the Giants’ season is done.
Etienne Morin (second round) has had an odd season. His shot rates are better than they were a year ago, which is good. But he’s not getting points at the same rate, which suggests either some system things with Moncton where they bury fewer chances with him on the ice… or some tough puck luck. It’s probably both. Morin’s lack of a production uptick is by no means a disaster, but it’s definitely disappointing for a guy whose offence was his bread and butter.
Aydar Suniev (third round) has been very good in a tough college conference. Moving from junior A to the NCAA is challenging for a lot of players due to some stylistic differences – among them is far more two-way hockey in the NCAA than the BCHL – but Suniev has adapted, grown, and still managed to put up some good offensive numbers. If the question dogging him was “Hey, can he score the types of goals in college than he did in junior A?” the answer is a resounding yes. If he can round out his checking game a bit, and have the puck more often as a result, he could take a huge jump offensive in his sophomore season.
Jaden Lipinski (fourth round) has held down the fort all season for the Giants. With Honzek absent for big chunks of the season – between his injury and World Junior stint – Lipinski’s had to be an all-situations centre for Vancouver, playing a ton and doing his best to keep the team afloat. He’s largely succeeded. He’s put up consistent offensive numbers, and he’s been somebody the coaching staff can throw out in any game situation and get good minutes. Like Honzek, he’s probably destined for a Wranglers stint at some point this spring.
Yegor Yegorov (sixth round) has been flat-out excellent for MHK Dynamo Moskva given his usage. He’s splitting starts and sometimes goes 7-10 days without getting much game action. But his numbers are really solid. He’s likely sticking in Russia for another season or two, but it’ll be fascinating to see how he does if given the challenge of playing some pro games. Goalies are projects, and Russian goalies often doubly so, but he’s trending well early on.
Axel Hurtig (seventh round) missed time this season due to off-season shoulder surgery, but he’s been really consistent and reliable for Rogle’s junior squad. He’s gotten a few pro looks – both in the SHL and the third-tier HockeyEttan – and gotten good reviews, albeit in a very small sample size (and very small roles). The Hitmen are hoping to get him over to North America for next season, as he’s allotted one of their two import slots.
Let’s dive into this week’s prospect update.

Parker Bell – LW/C, Tri-City Americans, WHL

20; Calgary’s fifth round pick (155th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date4421224333252117424.20
2022-235525396451362818728.82
Bell registered three points, all assists, in four games. He’s a model of consistency, and his efforts up the middle led to a game-tying goal against Seattle. (Tri-City eventually won that game against the rivals.)

Jake Boltmann – D, University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA/Big 10

22; Calgary’s third round pick (80th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date24011111241.14
2022-23 (NCAA)37145353423.69
Notre Dame lost a pair of games against Wisconsin. Boltmann played top four minutes but got zero points.

Hunter Brzustewicz – D, Kitchener Rangers, OHL

19; Vancouver’s third round pick (75th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; Acquired in a trade with Vancouver
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date519647336522510937.91
2022-23 (OHL)686515732312111022.20
Brzustewicz’s first week with the Flames was quiet offensively. He was busier in week two, with a pair of multi-point games, including the game-winning goal on the power play against Guelph.

Lucas Ciona – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s sixth round pick (173rd overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft; 11th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date39213232503.07
2022-23 (WHL)6328477553543719429.48
Three games for Ciona, but no points as he toiled on the fourth line.

Matt Coronato – RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s first round pick (13th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft; 2nd-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date3314223625231612243.47
2022-23 (NCAA)3420163631191614124.31
Coronato had four points over three games. Are they skewed a bit towards the power play recently? Sure. Does it matter? Not really. It’d be great if he was generating goals at five-on-five, but he’s producing consistently nonetheless.

Samuel Honzek – LW/C, Vancouver Giants, WHL/Slovakia, WJC

19; Calgary’s first round pick (16th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; 4th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
WHL season to date1881321161084928.89
WJC season to date531432110n/a
2022-23 (WHL)4323335640362613432.25
Honzek had three points in two games.

Axel Hurtig – D, Rögle BK, J20 Nationell/SHL / Kristianstads IK, HockeyEttan

18; Calgary’s seventh round pick (208th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
J20 season to date183585853616.47
SHL season to date400000000.00
HockeyEttan season to date40111115n/a
2022-23 (J20)34268373473.82
Rögle was off this week at both pro and junior levels.

Ben Jones – C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Free agent signing; 12th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date4514163024221712226.57
2022-23 (AHL)7117375441282120230.31
Jones keeps on doing his thing. He had two points, both assists, in three games.

Joni Jurmo – D, Ilves Tampere/KooKoo Kuovola, Liiga/CHL

21; Vancouver’s third round pick (82nd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; Acquired in a trade with Vancouver
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Liiga season to date39145343524.75
CHL season to date60111118n/a
2022-23 (Liiga)52581381161189.27
Jurmo had no points in two games playing on KooKoo’s second pairing.

Rory Kerins – C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; 14th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date361113242014118226.57
2022-23 (ECHL)3817203731252111722.36
Kerins had zero points over three games this week.

Adam Klapka – RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

23; Free agent signing; 18th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date3911152622191510126.57
2022-23 (AHL)6013122518161110316.61
Take a bow, Mr. Klapka. Klapka’s two points this week surpassed last season’s full output, in 22 fewer games.

Demetrios Koumonztis – D/RW, Idaho Steelheads, ECHL

23; Calgary’s fourth round pick (108th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date26448675507.06
2022-23 (NCAA)3771118121076713.28
Koumontzis had three points this week in the ECHL.

Yan Kuznetsov – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s second round pick (50th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; 17th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date41561181076210.69
2022-23 (AHL)63514191119116512.02
Kuznetsov had no points in three games this week.

Jaden Lipinski – C, Vancouver Giants, WHL

19; Calgary’s fourth round pick (112th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; 16th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date5015304530191213222.29
2022-23 (WHL)6619325136352315219.14
Lipinski quietly keeps having a really consistent, productive season.

Cade Littler – C, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, USHL / Penticton Vees, BCHL

19; Calgary’s seventh round pick (219th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
USHL season to date1383119863019.43
BCHL season to date208111915856.23
2022-23 (BCHL)512939684736278.75
Littler had three points in two games this week.

Brady Lyle – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Free agent signing
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date4369159739713.90
2022-23 (AHL)51724311613612424.22
Lyle had an assist over three games this past week.

Etienne Morin – D, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL

18; Calgary’s second round pick (48th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft; tied for 5th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date419273622151013820.45
2022-23 (QMJHL)6721517247342121325.03
Morin had no points this week. He was levied a match penalty for kicking another player and an automatic one-game suspension, which he’ll serve on Wednesday night.

Ilya Nikolaev – C/LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Calgary’s third round pick (88th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date233366662610.40
2022-23 (ECHL)401320332122159718.94
Nikolaev had a goal in three games this week.

Jakob Pelletier – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Calgary’s first round pick (26th overall); 3rd-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date42133111829.89
2022-23 (AHL)351621373218149242.13
Pelletier is in the NHL.

Emilio Pettersen – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

23; Calgary’s sixth round pick (167th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft; 20th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date45721282219137124.80
2022-23 (AHL)6119254435352911828.75
Pettersen had an assist this past week.

Jeremie Poirier – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s third round pick (72nd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; tied for 5th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date4167242969.74
2022-23 (AHL)699324120211317223.68
Poirier is working his way back. He returned to skating recently, but there’s no timeline estimated for his return yet.

Topi Rönni – C, Tappara Tampere, Liiga/SM-sarja U20/CHL

19; Calgary’s second round pick (59th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft; 10th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date (Liiga)22112111183.37
Season to date (U20)13814221810103526.49
Season to date (CHL)60110011n/a
2022-23 (Liiga)22235353148.42
Tappara was off this week.

Cole Schwindt – C/RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Florida’s third round pick (81st overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft; Acquired in a trade with Florida; 9th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date41912211515107520.41
2022-23 (AHL)7014183220161011818.22
Schwindt spent the week in the NHL, then was sent to the Wranglers and had a goal on Tuesday.

Ilya Solovyov – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

23; Calgary’s seventh round pick (205th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; 8th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date3737106966810.77
2022-23 (AHL)684141891688210.55
Solovyov had zero points in three games this week.

William Strömgren – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

20; Calgary’s second round pick (45th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft; 19th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date41189765408.75
2022-23 (SHL)45358665318.69
Strömgren had no points in two games and was scratched on Tuesday.

Aydar Suniev – LW/C, University of Massachusetts Minutemen, NCAA/Hockey East

19; Calgary’s third round pick (80th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; 13th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date259918141186323.20
2022-23 (BCHL)5045459073474011.81
Suniev had a goal and a lot of good chances this weekend.

Daniil Chechelev – G, HC Vityaz, KHL / Ryazan-VDV, VHL

22; Calgary’s fourth round pick (96th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft
GPTOISV%
KHL season to date158.880
VHL season to date4238.926
2022-23 (ECHL)392135.892
Chechelev is currently the third-string goalie for Vityaz.

Arsenii Sergeev – G, University of Connecticut Huskies, NCAA/Hockey East

20; Calgary’s seventh round pick (205th overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft; 15th-ranked prospect
GPTOISV%
Season to date11637.921
2022-23 (NCAA)191104.912
Sergeev lost to UMass on Friday, but made a lot of saves in the loss.

Dustin Wolf – G, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Calgary’s seventh round pick (214th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft; 1st-ranked prospect
GPTOISV%
Season to date281612.927
2022-23 (AHL)553239.932
Wolf is in the NHL.

Yegor Yegorov – G, MHK Dynamo Moskva, MHL

18; Calgary’s sixth round pick (176th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft
GPTOISV%
Season to date241291.919
2022-23 (MHL)15786.915
Yegorov played three games, including one relief appearance. But all were pretty one-sided losses for Dynamo. Womp womp.

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