Should the Calgary Flames sign Cole Huckins?
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
The Calgary Flames have until June 1 to make some decisions on a handful of previously-selected draft choices. With those decisions still looming, we thought it was time to review the players the club still needs to commit entry-level contracts to… or let them walk away.
Next up on our rundowns of pending prospect decisions: forward Cole Huckins.
A product of New Brunswick, Huckins is a 6’4″, 195 pound left-shot centre. (You can kinda see why NHL teams would like him based on his lanky frame alone.) He spent two seasons at Stanstead College – the same prep school that produced 2012 standout Mark Jankowski – and headed to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as a 16-year-old.
Since arriving in the Q, though, Huckins’ game has seen a mixture of steps forward and steps backward. As a 16-year-old with Acadie-Bathurst he had a fairly decent rookie season and then took a big step as a 17-year-old (his draft year) where he scored at just shy of a point-per-game pace. He was a third-round pick by the Flames in the 2021 draft, going 77th overall.
Unfortunately, Huckins had a very uneven Draft+1 season, with his production taking a big, big dip and his season featuring a fairly big gap during which he left the club for undisclosed reasons at mid-season. (He returned for the stretch drive, though.) He was traded to Sherbrooke in the off-season, and his production has rebounded, where he scored at just shy of a point-per-game pace during the 2022-23 season.
Huckins is a really solid offensive junior player, but he’s been primarily a secondary scorer rather than his team’s go-to guy.
On one hand, Huckins has never been a completely unproductive player. Even his 16-year-old season was quite solid. But on the other hand, you really would have hoped to see more of a stepwise, quasi-linear progression in his production over time.
Instead, it’s been up and down. (And then up again.) That makes it a bit tough to try to model his potential statistical progression.
This one feels like a bit of a toss-up.
Huckins has a ton of potential, especially given that he’s got good size and has shown the ability to produce offensively. But his consistency seems to be all over the place, at least production-wise, and since it’s challenging to really peg what he is right now it’s equally tough to project what he could become.
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