Who is the Calgary Flames’ top prospect?
Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
Friends, we’re into the lean weeks of the National Hockey League off-season, as most teams have completed the majority of their big moves. As we wait patiently for training camp to approach and try to wring the most we can out of the remaining weeks of the summer, sometimes our thoughts drift to the Calgary Flames (as they will).
As we stand today, we pose a question: who’s currently the Calgary Flames’ top prospect?
In our minds, there are five players with a claim to the title, which we’ll present in alphabetical order.
The Flames’ first-round selection in 2021, Coronato was a goal-scoring machine as he worked his way up through hockey. He played two seasons with the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel, scoring 48 goals in 51 games during his draft year. He then headed to Harvard, where he spent two seasons and emerged as a really savvy, useful offensive player (who wasn’t a slouch defensively, either). His 2022-23 season was split between Harvard, a few weeks with the Flames after he signed his NHL deal, and the World Championships, where he didn’t look at all out of place playing alongside established NHL players.
Coronato can flat-out score goals, and that might make him the Flames’ top prospect.
The Flames’ first-round selection in 2023, Honzek has adapted to the North American game extremely quickly. In 2022-23, his first season in the Western Hockey League as an import, he had 56 points in 43 games. Blessed with size, skill and maturity, Honzek was arguably the Vancouver Giants’ top player in the second half of the season. Expected to return to junior and captain the Giants in 2023-34, Honzek may be a year or two away from pushing for an NHL job, but he seems like the type of player that (much like Sean Monahan did in 2013) could slide right into the NHL roster with ease.
Honzek is the shiny new toy, so to speak, but he’s got all the attributes that can make scouts and fans alike project their hopes and dreams onto him.
The Flames’ first-round selection in 2019, Pelletier was a smart, toolsy and mature – albeit smallish – all-situations forward in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He’s been able to excel at every level of hockey he’s played in due to working hard and working smart. He’s played two seasons of pro after an extremely productive junior career, and in both seasons he emerged as one of the Flames’ American Hockey League team’s best players. He played 24 NHL games in 2022-23 and had a few flashes of brilliance during his stint – and if we’re being honest, he never looked out of place despite being a fresh-faced 21-year-old.
Pelletier’s 200-foot game projects extremely well at the NHL level and he’s already showed a lot of promise at that level.
The Flames’ seventh-round selection in 2019, Wolf is a very, very good goaltender. In a game where stopping the puck is pretty dang important, he’s been named the top goaltender in his league for each of the past four seasons – twice in the WHL and twice in the AHL – and was the AHL’s most valuable player in 2022-23. Quite simply, Wolf has done extremely well outside of the NHL, to the point where some have given him the crown of best goaltender outside of the NHL. (If it’s not him, who is it?)
The Flames’ first-round selection in 2020, Zary flew under the radar a bit this past year in his second season of pro hockey. His first year (2021-22) was punctuated by injuries that really derailed his start and he wasn’t really playing his game until January or February. In 2022-23, he stayed healthy and played in every single Calgary Wranglers game. A versatile, smart offensive player, Zary can play centre or the wing, and he was able to play a lot of different game situations and consistently contribute offensively.
Because of the lost time in his first pro season Zary’s arguably a little behind the other four players listed here in his progression. But he’s good, young, and appears to be improving rapidly (and catching up to his contemporaries).
Which player do you think is the Flames’ current top prospect? Let us know in the comments!
Recent articles from Ryan Pike