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The 20-year-old prospect dilemma: a Calgary Flames prospect update

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Photo credit:Angela Burger/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
The Calgary Flames entered the 2023-24 season with a pair of 20-year-old prospects under big-league contracts and some choices to make regarding what to do with them.
Parker Bell and Lucas Ciona both began the season as 20-year-olds. Ciona turned 20 in January and Bell in September, but for the purposes of their contracts, both were considered to be 20. But Bell was sent back to junior and Ciona stayed with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers.
How come?
Both of them had pretty similar numbers in the 2022-23 regular season. Bell had a 28.82 NHLe, Ciona had a 29.48 NHLe. But the big difference was probably their post-season. Bell made the playoffs for the first time in his WHL career, but Tri-City was dispatched in six games. Ciona went on a long playoff run, his second in as many seasons, and as captain he helped Seattle win the WHL Championship and make a Memorial Cup appearance.
Bell has things left to accomplish in junior. After captaining his team to a title, Ciona doesn’t. And so it makes sense, even if Ciona experiences some challenges adapting during the season, for Ciona to play pro hockey this season because it’s the inevitable, logical next step in his progression.
Let’s dive into this week’s prospect snapshot!

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 date231213252014129426.92
2022-235525396451362818728.82
Bell was held off the scoresheet over the weekend, but he remains a top-six fixture for the Americans and one of their most consistent offensive producers. Yeah, he’s an over-ager and you would hope him to be impressive… but he is, and he’s getting a lot of ice time in a lot of different situations.
Tri-City is off until Dec. 27.

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 date14000000160.00
2022-23 (NCAA)37145353423.69
Notre Dame is off until Dec. 30.

Lucas Ciona – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

20; Calgary’s sixth round pick (173rd overall) in the 2021 NHL Draft; 11th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date21112121233.80
2022-23 (WHL)6328477553543719429.48
The Flames had the choice between putting Ciona in the WHL as an over-ager or keeping him in pro hockey. He’s playing pro, albeit on the fourth line in a checking role, and he’s learning and adjusting to the lifestyle and the grind of the pro game. He was scratched once this weekend and played the other game.

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 date1681220141285449.82
2022-23 (NCAA)3420163631191614124.31
Coronato had a two-point game on Friday and was held off the scoresheet on Saturday. He’s tied for the team lead in points with Ben Jones (and has played fewer games).

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
Season to date53476332034.67
2022-23 (WHL)4323335640362613432.25
Honzek is at Slovakia’s World Junior camp in Sweden. He’s already been formally loaned to the Slovakian national team by the Flames, according to our pals at Cap Friendly.

Axel Hurtig – D, Rögle BK, J20 Nationell/SHL

18; Calgary’s seventh round pick (208th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
J20 season to date112353532516.85
SHL season to date100000000.00
2022-23 (J20)34268373473.82
Rögle’s junior team is off until early January, when the second half of the J20 season begins. Hurtig’s team qualified for the J20’s top 10 division for the second half of the season and have automatically qualified for their playoffs, too.

Ben Jones – C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Free agent signing; 12th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date24812201517125733.21
2022-23 (AHL)7117375441282120230.31
Jones is in his second season in the Flames’ system… and he’s basically the same guy he was last year. He’s very consistent. He’s a really reliable two-way centre. And he plays in every game situation, generates a decent amount of shots and chances per game, and does a good job of consistently accumulating points. He’s tied with his current linemate, Coronato, for the team lead in points.

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 date189716131194635.42
2022-23 (ECHL)3817203731252111722.36
For the first time this season, Kerins played twice and registered zero points. He also had three total shots on goal between the two games. Has Kerins’ scoring dried up? Has he crashed down to Earth? Well, probably not: he was one of several Wranglers players that didn’t do a whole lot offensively in a pair of games against San Jose.
But keep an eye on if he can bounce back this week.

Adam Klapka – RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

23; Free agent signing; 18th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2499181613116129.89
2022-23 (AHL)6013122518161110316.61
Like a few Wranglers scorers, Klapka registered zero points in two games against San Jose. But he remains way, way ahead of his scoring pace from last season. Even with a quiet weekend, he’s registering points at nearly twice the rate he did last season.

Demetrios Koumonztis – D, Idaho Steelheads, ECHL

23; Calgary’s fourth round pick (108th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date10000000140.00
2022-23 (NCAA)3771118121076713.28
Koumontzis is a depth defender on an ECHL team. The Flames hold his rights most likely until August, and it seems unlikely that he’ll get a contract. Just like he didn’t get one last year…

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 date24134343266.64
2022-23 (AHL)63514191119116512.02
With Nick DeSimone and Jordan Oesterle in the NHL (and Solovyov for a spell), Kuznetsov has been leaned on a bit more this last little bit (playing on a pairing with Colton Poolman). He hasn’t generated a ton offensively but, again, that’s not really his bread and butter.

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 date32111829211078722.44
2022-23 (WHL)6619325136352315219.14
Part of me was worried about Lipinski’s offensive output slowing due to Samuel Honzek’s departure to the World Juniors. So far it hasn’t happened. He had three points in three games this week.
Vancouver is off until Dec. 27.

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 date93696536.56
2022-23 (BCHL)512939684736278.75
Littler’s seemingly been adjusting to being back in the BCHL over the past few weeks. He had three points in two games this weekend, including a game-tying goal on Friday that preceded the Vees winning in overtime.
Penticton is off until Dec. 30.

Brady Lyle – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Free agent signing
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2456115625518.27
2022-23 (AHL)51724311613612424.22
Lyle had a power play goal this week. He’s a solid if unspectacular AHL defender, albeit occasionally one that’s quite good at generating shots and chaos on the power play.

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 date2651722121058919.71
2022-23 (QMJHL)6721517247342121325.03
The 2023-24 Etienne Morin experience: 10 shots on goal over two weekend games, but only two assists registered. He’s got awful puck luck, but he generates a lot.
Moncton is off until Dec. 28.

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 date122244441413.28
2022-23 (ECHL)401320332122159718.94
Nikolaev played once, on the Wranglers’ third line, and was scratched once. He got into the lineup for the first time about when Rory Kerins did, but he hasn’t had the same amount of success staying in the lineup.

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 date2451217131393528.23
2022-23 (AHL)6119254435352911828.75
Pettersen remains a fascinating prospect. He can skate. He can pass. He can generate points quite consistently, due to his speed, vision and overall creativity. But look at his shots totals: he’s actually generating fewer shots this season per game than last season, yet his production is about the same.
Weird.

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 out indefinitely after suffering an arm laceration that required surgery. We wouldn’t expect to see him until a fair ways into the New Year.

Martin Pospisil – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Calgary’s fourth round pick (105th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date63366221139.85
2022-23 (AHL)2046108554819.93
Pospisil is in the NHL.

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)16112111134.63
Season to date (U20)5347544622.96
Season to date (CHL)60110011n/a
2022-23 (Liiga)22235353148.42
Rönni played a couple games with Tappara’s Liiga team as their fourth line centre, and one with their junior team as their second line centre.

Cole Schwindt – C/RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Acquired in a trade with Florida; 9th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date24491391063121.59
2022-23 (AHL)7014183220161011818.22
Schwindt is scoring at a higher rate than last year and is getting regular top six reps for the Wranglers. He’s playing a mix of centre and right wing, and is being leaned on for his two-way play more than his offence. He registered one shot over two games last weekend.

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 date162353533012.45
2022-23 (AHL)684141891688210.55
Solovyov was returned to the Wranglers by the Flames on Sunday.

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 date21022211163.80
2022-23 (SHL)45358665318.69
Strömgren played once and was scratched once. Like Ciona, he’s in a bottom-six winger role as he gets used to the grind of North American pro hockey. He wasn’t a huge offensive contributor in Sweden, either, so his lack of big scoring numbers isn’t really that big of a departure from his previous roles and performances.

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 date15751211664225.78
2022-23 (BCHL)5045459073474011.81
UMass is off until Dec. 29.

Connor Zary – LW/C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Calgary’s first round pick (24th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; tied for 5th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date619107641566.42
2022-23 (AHL)7221375836312118332.10
Zary is currently in the NHL.

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

22; Calgary’s fourth round pick (96th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft
GPTOISV%
Season to date
2022-23 (ECHL)392135.892
Chechelev is back with Vityaz in the KHL after being with Ryazan for a couple weeks. He has yet to dress in the KHL. He is currently an extra goalie for a KHL team.

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 date6340.897
2022-23 (NCAA)191104.912
UConn is off until New Year’s Eve.

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 date13744.920
2022-23 (AHL)553239.932
Wolf was returned to the Wranglers by the Flames on Sunday.

Yegor Yegorov – G, MHK Dynamo Moskva, MHL

18; Calgary’s sixth round pick (176th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft
GPTOISV%
Season to date15811.929
2022-23 (MHL)15786.915
Yegorov hit a milestone this week, matching last season’s appearance total. He hit 15 appearances way earlier than he did last year, and his numbers are way, way better. He’s quietly one of the better goaltenders in Russian junior hockey.

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