Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis provides scouting reports on two new Flames AHL prospects

Photo credit:Terence Leung/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
The Calgary Flames have added a lot of new faces to their organization since the beginning of the 2023-24 season. Most recently, they added two American Hockey League level prospects via a pair of trades, as the club acquired Riley Damiani and Artem Grushnikov in a pair of trades with the Dallas Stars.
Over at Daily Faceoff, associate editor and prospect analyst Steven Ellis published scouting reports on the two newcomers (as well as other prospects that were moved at the deadline) on Monday.
Here’s Ellis on Grushnikov:
If there’s one thing Grushnikov does well, it’s doing what he’s paid to do – playing defense. He has almost no real offensive potential, rarely registering more than a shot or two a game. But in his own zone, Grushnikov – acquired as part of the Tanev deal – can get it done. He’s positionally sound, uses the body, and moves with solid pace. But if you’re looking for an all-around guy, Grushnikov doesn’t get it done. At best, he looks like a bottom-pairing defenseman, but the Flames liked him enough.
Acquired by the Flames in the Chris Tanev trade, the 20-year-old Grushnikov is a left shot defenceman who was a second-round selection by the Stars in 2021. A Moscow product who came up through the CSKA Moskva system, Grushnikov played two seasons in the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, winning the league’s championship in 2022 and advancing to the Memorial Cup. (That tournament was ultimately won by Flames prospects Yan Kuznetsov and Jeremie Poirier and the Saint John Sea Dogs.)
In short: Grushnikov sounds like a pretty decent compliment defensively to the more offensively-oriented blueliners the Flames have within their system like Hunter Brzustewicz, Jeremie Poirier and Etienne Morin. But he probably won’t move the needle a ton offensively himself.
Here’s Ellis on Damiani:
Damiani started off so strong in his debut AHL season, registering a point-per-game during the 2020-21 season. But he hasn’t managed to beat that number since, and he’s actually on pace for the worst output of his pro career this season despite looking like he’ll crack the 60-game mark for the first time in his career. I don’t see an NHL future for him, as much as I used to really like his game.
Acquired by the Flames in a one-for-one swap for AHLer Emilio Pettersen, the 23-year-old Damiani is a right shot centre who was a fifth-round pick by the Stars in 2018. An Ontario product that spent four seasons with the Kitchener Rangers (including captaining the team in 2019-20), Damiani had 36 points in 36 games in 2020-21 and was named the AHL’s top rookie… but just hasn’t been able to replicate that production in the three seasons since. But hey, you never know, sometimes a change of scenery can help a player find another level, especially with the Flames organization being so lean on natural centres.
Head over to Daily Faceoff to see the rest of Ellis’ scouting reports, including his lengthy, extensive, top 64 rundown of the 2024 NHL Draft class.
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