What do the Calgary Flames have in their under-25 prospect pipeline?

Photo credit:Natalie Shaver/OHL Images
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
The Calgary Flames have entered a period of fundamental realignment. Whether you want to call it a retool, a reconfiguration or whatever else, the simple fact is they’re aiming to get younger and, after that, better. As they embark upon this period of change, it’s worth taking a look at the prospect cupboard.
So let’s delve into the players who aren’t yet 25 years of age – born in 1999 or later – to see what youth the Flames have in different age groups.

Age groups, at a glance

Birth YearPlayers
1999D Brady Lyle, D Brayden Pachal, F Ben Jones, F Martin Pospisil
2000D Ilya Solovyov, D Nikita Okhotiuk, F Adam Klapka, F Demetrios Koumontzis, F Riley Damiani
2001G Daniil Chechelev, G Dustin Wolf, D Jake Boltmann, F Jakob Pelletier, F Cole Schwindt, F Ilya Nikolaev, F Connor Zary
2002G Arsenii Sergeev, D Yan Kuznetsov, D Joni Jurmo, D Jeremie Poirier, F Rory Kerins, F Matt Coronato
2003D Artem Grushnikov, F Lucas Ciona, F William Strömgren, F Parker Bell
2004D Hunter Brzustewicz, F Cade Littler, F Samuel Honzek, F Jaden Lipinski
2005G Yegor Yegorov, D Axel Hurtig, D Etienne Morin
Note: First-time eligibles for the 2024 NHL Draft are born between Sept. 15, 2005 and Sept. 14, 2006. First-time eligibles for the 2025 NHL Draft are born between Sept. 15, 2006 and Sept. 14, 2007. First-time eligibles for the 2026 NHL Draft are born between Sept. 15, 2007 and Sept. 14, 2008.
In an ideal world, there would be a mix of player types, positions and styles in each age group, as well as some potential impact NHL players. That doesn’t always turn out that way, especially when you consider that the Flames did move some draft picks in recent years to bolster their NHL roster. The recent trades the club has made allowed them to fill in some gaps, as they added 2000-born Nikita Okhotiuk, 2002-born Joni Jurmo, 2003-born Artem Grushnikov and 2004-born Hunter Brzustewicz, which helped add youth and fill out a system that was a bit skewed towards the forward side of the ledger.
From 1999, Brayden Pachal and Martin Pospisil look to have carved out regular NHL roles, while Brady Lyle and Ben Jones are likely to become Group VI unrestricted free agents at the end of this season (and they probably depart the organization given that status).
From 2000, the newly-acquired Nikita Okhotiuk projects as good NHL-level depth, while Ilya Solovyov and Adam Klapka both look to be pushing for NHL duty in the near future. Riley Damiani should be reliable AHL depth, while Demetrios Koumontzis is only technically still Flames property (and he’s playing in ECHL Idaho, outside of their system).
The 2001 class rocks. Dustin Wolf, Jakob Pelletier and Connor Zary have all played NHL games and Zary is already an NHL regular. All three could end up being impact players. Cole Schwindt has played NHL games and should be pushing for NHL duty. Ilya Nikolaev hasn’t found his AHL niche quite yet, while it seems improbable that Daniil Chechelev or Jake Boltmann will factor into the Flames’ plans all that much. (Boltmann’s lack of offensive output in four seasons of college isn’t a great sign, even for somebody envisioned as a shutdown guy.)
Matt Coronato from the 2002 group has already played a bunch of NHL games and seems primed to carve out a full-time gig fairly soon. Jeremie Poirier is well-positioned for future success based on his AHL performances, but he’ll need some time. Behind them, there’s potential, but also players that need time to develop.
The 2003 age group is four guys that project to be depth NHLers. (There’s absolutely nothing wrong with producing depth NHLers, but it would have been nice to find an impact player there.)
Now, the 2004 group has potential impact players in Samuel Honzek and Hunter Brzustewicz, as well as a guy that projects as potential effective depth in Jaden Lipinski. It’s too early to tell with Cade Littler.
Finally, the 2005 group will get some additions in the upcoming draft most likely, but its first three representatives are a potential power play quarterback in Etienne Morin, a toolsy defender in Axel Hurtig, and a promising young goalie in Yegor Yegorov. Disclaimer: these guys are all still super young and none of them are playing regular minutes in pro hockey, so we’re betting on potential much more than results.
The Flames currently control 24 draft selections over the next three drafts, including 13 picks in the first three rounds. They have a tremendous opportunity not only to fill in some gaps in their system, but also to stockpile some potential high-end prospects in the 2005-2008 age group.
What types of players do you think the Flames need to load up on over the next few drafts? (Any particular positions, or a little of everything?) Are there any age groups that look especially lean or promising? Let us know in the comments!
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