Photo credit:Brian Liesse/WHL
FlamesNation prospect report: Another trip to the junior leagues
1 year ago
On this edition of the FlamesNation prospect report, we take another trip back to the CHL & the BCHL to discuss a handful of Calgary Flames prospects who (no pun intended) are on fire for their respective junior clubs.
Lucas Ciona – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
Let’s start off with Seattle Thunderbirds forward Lucas Ciona. The Edmonton, Alberta native recently signed his three-year entry-level contract on Oct. 30. He is currently second on a heavily stacked Thunderbirds roster for points, he has 9 goals and 17 assists for 26 points in 19 games. He had 17 points in his first nine games to start the year. The Thunderbirds recently made trades to bolster their roster and acquired Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop from the Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince Albert Raiders defenceman Nolan Allan, whose NHL rights are owned by the Chicago Blackhawks. The Thunderbirds look willing to sacrifice the future for a Memorial Cup run, which only benefits Ciona. During last season’s WHL playoffs, Ciona recorded 14 points in 24 games.
Ciona is a 6-foot-3 201-lb imposing power forward who like Ryan Pike mentioned, could translate his role into more of a physical depth player similar to that of Brett Ritchie. Time will tell and Ciona will continue to play top minutes with the Thunderbirds who are 14-3-1-0 to start the year.
Jack Beck – Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
Jack Beck was off to a terrific start with the 67’s before being sidelined with an upper-body injury. Beck registered 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points in the 10 games. The 5-foot-11 playmaker is on a strong 67’s team that features three NHL prospects Vinzenz Rohrer (Canadiens) Jack Matier (Predators) and Tyler Boucher (Senators) as well as 2023 prospect Luca Pinelli who leads the team. Beck, when healthy, could even see himself as an invite to the World Juniors selection camp for Team Canada. Beck has international experience, he played for Team Canada White U-17 at the Under-17 World Hockey Championships and recorded one goal. His strong start to the season was of course derailed by an injury, but he should have no problem getting back on track.
Parker Bell – Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Parker Bell has been thriving on a struggling Tri-City Americans club so far this season. The sixth-round draft selection currently has 8 goals and 13 assists for 21 points in 21 games, and 8 points in his last 10 games. Bell is wise on the defensive side of the game, he uses a 6-foot-4 frame to work players out in pursuit of the puck.
His motor and hockey IQ is high. He also has playmaking capabilities that allow for him to finesse the inside of a defender and find teammates on the inside lane. Bell is fourth in points on the Americans currently, who are 10-13-0 to start the year. Bell, being 19, will continue to see more ice time but one has to wonder if a contending WHL team will make a trade for the Flames prospect.
Cade Littler – Wenatchee Wild (BCHL)
2022 seventh-round selection Cade Littler is a project player, but a project that has upside, he was named to the BCHL All-Rookie Team last season. The East Wenatchee, Washington product currently plays for the Wenatchee Wild in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) — a top tier Junior. A league in Canada. Through 20 games so far, Little has combined for 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points.
Littler is second on the Wild roster for points, which features Carolina Hurricanes Jaccob Slavin’s younger brother Jeremiah Slavin and former NHLer Milan Hejduk’s son, David Hejduk. Littler, in a pre-draft interview with the BCHL, described his game as “I’m a big centre that plays 200 feet. I’m smart on the ice and can help the team win by playing well defensively and offensively.” Another project, Littler will attend the University of Minnesota (Mankato) next season in the NCAA.
Cole Huckins – Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
We talked about Huckins’s hot start back in October and he hasn’t slowed down. He currently has 9 goals and 10 assists for 19 points in 23 games. The Phoenix, are now 18-5-2 to start the year, one of the favourites to win the league and represent the QMJHL at the 2023 KIA Memorial Cup in Kamloops, B.C. Huckins is shooting at 12.2% and has three power-play goals on a very strong power play unit that features the likes of Montreal Canadiens prospect Joshua Roy. His face-off win peerage is 41.7% on the season (though he’s only taken 36 draws). If Huckins can continue to put up the numbers he is on a stacked team, finding a contract with the Flames should come with ease.
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