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The Wranglers, and others, are off to strong starts: a Calgary Flames prospect update

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Photo credit:Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
The Calgary Wranglers began their 2023-24 season over the weekend, capturing three of a possible four points. Dustin Wolf was excellent in one start, and top prospects like Jeremie Poirier, Cole Schwindt and Connor Zary had strong performances.
The season has started in earnest for the vast majority of the Flames’ prospects, and a few of them are off to really good starts.
Here’s our weekly 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 date31455331441.27
2022-235525396451362818728.82
Bell was assigned to Tri-City for his overage year, rather than him (a) being lost in the shuffle with a fairly stacked Wranglers forward group or (b) being dispatched to Rapid City, where he may play a lot but there could be brows furrowed over the quality of competition.
So Bell’s down in the Dub, playing as the Americans’ first line left wing. He had a couple really solid multi-point games in his first weekend back, then a one-sided loss to Portland that we’d all rather not speak of.

Jake Boltmann – D, University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, NCAA/Big 10

21; Calgary’s third round pick (80th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date300000010.00
2022-23 (NCAA)37145353423.69
Boltmann is being leaned on as a shutdown defender on the third pairing for Notre Dame. He doesn’t have any points yet, but his role isn’t really to generate points. (He’s also minus-3 three to start the season.)

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 date200000020.00
2022-23 (WHL)6328477553543719429.48
Ciona hasn’t registered a point as a pro yet, but he’s off to a pretty good start. He’s playing the left side of the Wranglers’ checking/energy line alongside Clark Bishop and Adam Klapka. If nothing else, Ciona has been noticeable for positive reasons, and that’s a great sign for a 20-year-old dipping his toe into the AHL for the first time.

Samuel Honzek – LW/C, Vancouver Giants, WHL

18; Calgary’s first round pick (16th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; 4th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date
2022-23 (WHL)4323335640362613432.25
Here’s what The Province’s Steve Ewen wrote about Honzek’s status last week:
“Neither the Flames nor the Giants are saying what exactly Honzek is battling, though. He has remained in Calgary, under the care of Flames medical staff.”
Honzek is listed on the WHL’s weekly roster report as still with Calgary, for whatever that’s worth.

Axel Hurtig – D, Rögle BK U20, J20 Nationell

18; Calgary’s seventh round pick (208th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date
2022-2334268373473.82
Hurtig remains out as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery.

Ben Jones – C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Free agent signing; 12th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2011011219.93
2022-23 (AHL)7117375441282120230.31
Jones has centred a line between wingers Emilio Pettersen and Mitch McLain so far, combining Pettersen’s speed and finesse, McLain’s physicality, and Jones’ ability to play an effective 200-foot game. So far, so good.

Rory Kerins – C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

20; Calgary’s sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; 14th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date
2022-23 (ECHL)3817203731252111722.36
Kerins was a scratch for the first two Wranglers games.

Adam Klapka – RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Free agent signing; 18th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2112121439.85
2022-23 (AHL)6013122518161110316.61
Klapka played the right side of the Wranglers’ checking/energy line with Lucas Ciona and Clark Bishop. They were pretty effective overall. He also worked on the team’s power play.

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 date200000010.00
2022-23 (AHL)63514191119116512.02
Kuznetsov manned the third defensive pairing for the Wranglers, playing on the left side of newcomer Brady Lyle.

Jaden Lipinski – C, Vancouver Giants, WHL

18; Calgary’s fourth round pick (112th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; 16th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date40333221018.57
2022-23 (WHL)6619325136352315219.14
The Giants have played a very light schedule this season so far. Lipinski played one game this week, working as second line centre.

Cade Littler – C, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, USHL

19; Calgary’s seventh round pick (219th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date76287652226.24
2022-23 (BCHL)512939684736278.75
Littler is playing on Cedar Rapids’ first line as their centre. He’s scoring at just shy of a goal-per-game pace. He’s adapting to the USHL quite well so far.

Brady Lyle – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

24; Free agent signing
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date200000050.00
2022-23 (AHL)51724311613612424.22
Lyle is playing on the third pairing, on the right side of Yan Kuznetsov. He’s quiet so far, but has been getting ample power play time (and registering plenty of shots).

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 date64155332419.41
2022-23 (QMJHL)6721517247342121325.03
Morin had a strong offensive week, scoring three goals over three games. Moncton’s giving up a ton of goals early in their season, though. Morin is serving as their first pairing defender on the left side.

Ilya Nikolaev – C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s third round pick (88th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date-222
2022-23 (ECHL)401320332122159718.94
Nikolaev was a scratch for the first two Wranglers games.

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 date200000020.00
2022-23 (AHL)6119254435352911828.75
Pettersen is playing on the Wranglers’ de facto second line, playing on the left side of Ben Jones and Mitch McLain. He was pretty quiet in the opening weekend.

Jeremie Poirier – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

20; Calgary’s third round pick (72nd overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; tied for 5th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2145232699.63
2022-23 (AHL)699324120211317223.68
Poirier has been paired with 200-foot stalwart Colton Poolman and he’s been relied upon to run the Wranglers’ power play. It’s hard to argue against the results so far: Poirier has been simply excellent offensively.

Martin Pospisil – LW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

23; Calgary’s fourth round pick (105th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2112200439.85
2022-23 (AHL)2046108554819.93
Pospisil is definitely the third banana on his line with Connor Zary and Cole Schwindt. That’s not meant as an insult, but merely that he doesn’t take draws and isn’t as highly-touted as those two guys. But Pospisil is being trusted to play with really good players and is holding up his end of the bargain. Man, if Pospisil can utilize his physicality consistently with two smart offensive players like Zary and Schwindt, the sky may be the limit. (For all three guys.)

Topi Rönni – C, Tappara Tampere, Liiga/CHL

18; Calgary’s second round pick (59th overall) in the 2022 NHL Draft; 10th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date (Liiga)12112111136.18
Season to date (CHL)60110011n/a
2022-23 (Liiga)22235353148.42
Rönni remains the fourth line centre for Tappara. He plays a solid, quiet 200-foot game.

Cole Schwindt – C/RW, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Acquired in a trade with Florida; 9th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2202211239.85
2022-23 (AHL)7014183220161011818.22
Schwindt is centreing the top line for the Wranglers, slotting between Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil. He’s scored a couple goals and been noticeable early on.

Ilya Solovyov – D, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

22; Calgary’s seventh round pick (205th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; 8th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date200000050.00
2022-23 (AHL)684141891688210.55
Solovyov has returned to his familiar spot: the left side of the shutdown pairing alongside Nick DeSimone. He’s also a huge part of the Wranglers’ penalty kill and blocked a lot of shots against Manitoba during Sunday’s overtime period.

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 date2011111119.93
2022-23 (SHL)45358665318.69
Strömgren has started his AHL season on the fourth line for the Wranglers, playing the left side with Brett Sutter and Alex Gallant. If nothing else, they’re giving him some experienced AHLers to learn from – and he managed to get his first AHL point on opening night, so he’s contributing where he can.

Aydar Suniev – LW/C, University of Massachusetts Minutemen, NCAA/Hockey East

18; Calgary’s third round pick (80th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft; 13th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2011100316.11
2022-23 (BCHL)5045459073474011.81
After missing the NCAA’s opening weekend with a minor injury, Suniev debuted on the third line for UMass this past week. He had a power play assist and generally got positive reviews, albeit in a fairly sheltered role.

Connor Zary – LW/C, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s first round pick (24th overall) in the 2020 NHL Draft; tied for 5th-ranked prospect
GPGAPP15v5
P
5v5 P1SHNHLe
Season to date2033221459.78
2022-23 (AHL)7221375836312118332.10
Zary’s had a really nice week back in the AHL. Playing on the left side of Cole Schwindt and Martin Pospisil, he has three assists. He can play either centre or left wing, and comments from head coach Ryan Huska during camp indicated some skepticism that he can be a fourth-line centre. The path to the NHL for him on the wing may be easier: hence, the likely reason for his shift to the wing.

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 date2118.932
2022-23 (NCAA)191104.912
Sergeev made one start and picked up the loss, but that’s primarily due to a lack of run support from UConn early on. His numbers are really strong early on, though.

Dustin Wolf – G, Calgary Wranglers, AHL

21; Calgary’s seventh round pick (214th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft; 1st-ranked prospect
GPTOISV%
Season to date160.933
2022-23 (AHL)553239.932
Wolf started one game and won it. The Wranglers got shelled early in their first game against Manitoba, but Wolf held them in the game and allowed them to regroup and rebound.

Yegor Yegorov – G, MHK Dynamo Moskva, MHL

18; Calgary’s sixth round pick (176th overall) in the 2023 NHL Draft
GPTOISV%
Season to date6335.915
2022-23 (MHL)15786.915
Yegorov has dressed once as backup in the MHL since Oct. 5, but that’s primarily because he spent about a week travelling and practising with the KHL’s Dynamo Moskva, MHK’s parent club, as their third goalie. That move allowed MHK to rotate their goalies a bit and get Yegorov some exposure to pro shooters.

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