Cole Schwindt had an uneven first season in the Calgary Flames organization
Photo credit:Mike Zitek/Coachella Valley Firebirds
By Ryan Pike3 months ago
Last July, the Calgary Flames sent Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers in one of the biggest trades in franchise history. Coming the other way were established NHL stars Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar, a conditional first-round pick, and prospect Cole Schwindt.
11 months after that trade, Schwindt still seems to be figuring out his place in the Flames organization.
Like a lot of players in Calgary’s system, Schwindt had a year full of ups and downs.
During an October where most of the Wranglers’ AHL team was trying to find its footing, Schwindt had zero goals and four assists over six games. He averaged 1.5 shots per game and shot 0%.
Like the team, he had a strong November-through-January run. He played 34 games, scored 10 goals and added 9 assists. He averaged 2.26 shots per game and shot 13%.
The next three months for Schwindt were much less good. From February to April, he played 30 games. He had four goals and five assists in that span. His shots per game dropped to 1.07, but his shooting percentage remained fairly steady at 12.5%. (He shot 7.7% in February and 16.7% in March, which evened out.)
After being a scratch for the first game of the Calder Cup playoffs, Schwindt had a pretty strong post-season. He had three goals and an assist over eight games. He had 2.5 shots per game and shot 15%.
On paper, Schwindt has all the tools. He’s a right shot forward that can play centre or the wing, and he’s listed at 6’2″ and 185 pounds. He plays with pace and doesn’t lack skill, and he came to the Flames organization after a season where he had 40 points in 72 AHL games. That said, Schwindt’s role within the Wranglers wasn’t clear. That’s nobody’s fault, as Mitch Love and his staff had to figure out how to utilize a lot of new faces, and deal with several key players moving up and down from the NHL
But with a year with Schwindt under their belts, and visa versa, it’ll be interesting to see how he’s used with the Wranglers in 2023-24. Walker Duehr, another right shot forward, is likely NHL-bound due to waiver considerations, and that potentially opens up a consistent top-six role for Schwindt to grab onto.
Schwindt’s not a bad player, he’s a player who struggled at times over the past season. When he’s physically engaged, mucking around the net-front area and generating shots, he’s really effective – you may notice that his shooting percentage jumped when his shot volume did. It’s just a matter of him finding the consistency he had in 2021-22 in the Florida system. Even with a few rough months, he finished just eight points behind last season’s scoring pace.
Considering Schwindt’s only 22 years old, there’s still plenty of runway for him to round himself out as a player.
Letter Grade: C+
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