The seasons are basically over for all of the Calgary Flames’ prospects – Jakob Pelletier is still going strong in the QMJHL playoffs, but everybody else is essentially done. With the season kaput, it’s time to look back not just at this year’s performances, but also at the progression made by various Flames prospects.
So let’s dig into the NHLe progression of Calgary’s youngsters, starting with the youngest: those born in the 2000s.
NHLe (NHL equivalent) is a offensive shorthand developed by the analytics community so they could have the ability to compare offensive production by players in different leagues. It’s essentially a tidy way of making the argument that “If Player X scored this much in League A, they would score about this much in the NHL,” and it’s based on past NHL production from players that made the jump from those leagues into the NHL.
It’s not perfect, but it’s only meant to be an approximation.
F Rory Kerins
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 10.69 (23 points in 57 OHL games)
- Draft (2019-20): 24.42 (59 points in 64 OHL games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 0.00 (0 points in 4 AHL games)
Kerins had the weirdest season of any Flames prospect, playing zero games in his home league as the OHL never got started. He played four games for Stockton, but was largely just around practicing and absorbing the pro game like a sponge. He turned 19 in April and hopefully this odd season sets the table for a big breakthrough in 2021-22.
D Yan Kuznetsov
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 2.70 (4 points in 34 USHL games)
- Draft (2019-20): 10.43 (11 points in 34 NCAA games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 12.08 (6 points in 16 NCAA games) & 0.00 (0 points in 6 AHL games)
Kuznetsov’s calling card isn’t impressive offensive production, as you can see, but he’s had a slow and steady uptick in his offense over the past few seasons. He turned 19 in March and will be a full-time pro next season before his 20th birthday.
D Jeremie Poirier
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 8.02 (21 points in 61 QMJHL games)
- Draft (2019-20): 19.29 (53 points in 64 QMJHL games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 26.11 (37 points in 33 QMJHL games)
The opposite of Kuznetsov, Poirier’s calling card has been his scoring and he’s made steady progression in each of the past three seasons. He’ll return to the QMJHL for his 19-year-old (Draft+2) season in 2021-22, and he’ll be expected to be one of the top offensive blueliners in that circuit once again.
D Jake Boltmann
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 2.87 (1 point in 8 USHL games) & n/a (19 points in 44 high school games)
- Draft (2019-20): 12.16 (9 points in 17 USHL games) & n/a (13 points in 25 high school games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 0.00 (0 points in 19 NCAA games) & 0.00 (0 points in 6 USHL games)
Boltmann projects as a shutdown, stay-at-home guy, but you’d hope he can get on the scoresheet next season. He didn’t muster so much as a secondary, throwaway assist as a college freshman.
G Daniil Chechelev
- Draft-1 (2017-18): 1.000 in 3 MHL games
- Draft (2018-19): .915 in 32 MHL games [Not drafted]
- Draft+1 (2019-20): .922 in 49 MHL games [Drafted as an overager]
- Draft+2 (2020-21): .912 in 21 VHL games and .924 in 19 MHL games
Here’s what we know about Chechelev as a 20-year-old: he’s an excellent Russian junior league goalie and decent enough as a first-year pro. The hope is he can get a regular home and not be bounced up and down within a team’s system.
F Lucas Feuk
- Draft (2018-19): 0.00 (0 point in 5 HockeyAllsvenskan games) & 15.83 (43 points in 43 J20 Superelit games)
- Draft+1 (2019-20): 2.25 (2 points in 29 HockeyAllsvenskan games) & 18.58 (27 points in 23 J20 Superelit games)
- Draft+2 (2020-21): n/a (18 points in 18 HockeyEttan games), 2.33 (1 point in 14 HockeyAllsvenskan games) & 19.78 (10 points in 8 J20 Nationell games)
Speaking of bouncing around, Feuk was victimized a bit by the Swedish junior league getting shut down mid-season. He showed some nice offensive progression before the J20 Nationell was closed due to COVID concerns, and didn’t really have a role in the Allsvenskan. He was excellent in Sweden’s third league, HockeyEttan, but it’s unclear whether that means much in the grand scheme of things.
F Ryan Francis
- Draft-2 (2017-18): 13.65 (34 points in 58 QMJHL games)
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 11.64 (32 points in 64 QMJHL games)
- Draft (2019-20): 27.49 (72 points in 61 QMJHL games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 36.39 (50 points in 32 QMJHL games)
This is what you like to see from offensive-minded players. After two flat years, Francis has shown steady progression over the past two seasons. He made a big push this season and emerged quietly as one of the top offensive players in the Q.
F Emil Heineman
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 2.93 (5 points in 27 J20 Superelit games)
- Draft (2019-20): 8.89 (2 points in 11 SHL games) & 22.37 (41 points in 29 J20 Superelit games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 14.78 (13 points in 43 SHL games) & 0.00 (0 points in 1 J20 Nationell game)
Heineman’s trajectory is fairly consistent with what we’ve seen from a lot of higher-end Swedish prospects. He effectively became a full-time SHL player this season and spent much of the year in a secondary role, but he produced fairly consistently. He has a year left on his SHL contract and will likely be a bigger piece for Leksands’ attack next season.
F Ilya Nikolayev
- Draft-1 (2017-18): n/a (13 points in 20 NMHL games) & 7.11 (1 point in 3 MHL games)
- Draft (2018-19): n/a (2 points in 3 NMHL games) & 13.00 (25 points in 41 MHL games)
- Draft+1 (2019-20): n/a (1 point in 2 NMHL games) & 12.87 (32 points in 53 MHL games)
- Draft+2 (2020-21): 18.27 (18 points in 21 MHL games) & 11.27 (13 points in 37 VHL games)
Nikolayev was projected as more of a two-way guy when he was drafted, but his offensive progression is all over the place. His offensive numbers in junior never jumped beyond being merely solid, and he settled into a checking role during his 37 pro games.
F Josh Nodler
- Draft-1 (2017-18): 0.00 (0 points in 6 USHL games) & n/a (22 points in 18 high school games)
- Draft (2018-19): 17.86 (42 points in 54 USHL games)
- Draft+1 (2019-20): 6.07 (8 points in 36 NCAA games)
- Draft+2 (2020-21): 11.12 (11 points in 27 NCAA games)
Nodler was a reliable offensive player on a low-scoring NCAA team in a low-scoring NCAA conference. He’s shown the ability to score in the USHL and he’s shown the ability to be a reliable defensive player in college, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can put it all together as he gets older in college.
F Jakob Pelletier
- Draft-1 (2017-18): 23.68 (61 points in 60 QMJHL games)
- Draft (2018-19): 31.89 (89 points in 65 QMJHL games)
- Draft+1 (2019-20): 33.50 (82 points in 57 QMJHL games)
- Draft+2 (2020-21): 35.76 (43 points in 28 QMJHL games)
Pelletier is a first round draft pick and produces really consistently. This is an offensive pattern that you would hope to see from a player drafted where he was drafted.
G Dustin Wolf
- Draft-1 (2017-18): .928 in 20 WHL games
- Draft (2018-19): .936 in 61 WHL games
- Draft+1 (2019-20): .935 in 46 WHL games
- Draft+2 (2020-21): .895 in 3 AHL games & .940 in 22 WHL games
Wolf has been a really good WHL goaltender since before he was drafted. His numbers are, quite simply, gaudy and impressive.
F Connor Zary
- Draft-2 (2017-18): 10.56 (29 points in 68 WHL games)
- Draft-1 (2018-19): 26.34 (67 points in 63 WHL games)
- Draft (2019-20): 37.36 (86 points in 57 WHL games)
- Draft+1 (2020-21): 31.00 (7 points in 9 AHL games) & 39.62 (24 points in 15 WHL games)
Like with Pelletier, Zary’s progression is both (a) good and (b) fairly typical of offensive-minded first round picks. His AHL performance is in line with his usual WHL production, when adjusted, and that in itself is quite impressive.
F Demetrios Koumontzis
- Draft-1 (2016-17): n/a (9 points in 11 high school games)
- Draft (2017-18): n/a (90 points in 45 high school games) and 0.00 (0 points in 1 USHL game)
- Draft+1 (2018-19): 15.60 (20 points in 35 NCAA games)
- Draft+2 (2019-20): 8.74 (8 points in 25 NCAA games)
- Draft+3 (2020-21): 12.41 (10 points in 22 NCAA games)
Koumontzis hasn’t really progressed a ton offensively since his draft year.
F Emilio Pettersen
- Draft-1 (2016-17): 10.88 (27 points in 57 USHL games)
- Draft (2017-18): 17.60 (46 points in 60 USHL games)
- Draft+1 (2018-19): 27.00 (30 points in 40 NCAA games)
- Draft+2 (2019-20): 35.00 (35 points in 36 NCAA games)
- Draft+3 (2020-21): 19.24 (14 points in 29 AHL games)
Pettersen’s offensive dip in his first pro year is fairly typical of what you see from players moving into the AHL from another league. But he was steady and his track record provides hope that he can take an offensive step in 2021-22.
D Ilya Solovyov
- Draft-1 (2016-17): n/a (19 points in 29 U17 games; 8 points in 16 U18 games, 0 points in 1 U20 game)
- Draft (2017-18): n/a (29 points in 47 U18 games) [Not drafted]
- Draft+1 (2018-19): n/a (8 points in 53 U20 games)
- Draft+2 (2019-20): 19.99 (40 points in 53 OHL games) [Drafted as overager]
- Draft+3 (2020-21): 14.44 (9 points in 41 KHL games) & n/a (1 point in 2 Belarus games)
Solovyov is a unique case, in that he didn’t play in a league that really produces a lot of North American pros until his second overage season. His performance in the KHL suggests that he’ll at least be a useful AHL defender.
F Dmitry Zavgorodniy
- Draft-1 (2016-17): n/a (46 points in 21 U17 games) & 17.06 (12 points in 15 MHL games)
- Draft (2017-18): 18.77 (47 points in 62 QMJHL games)
- Draft+1 (2018-19): 23.66 (64 points in 67 QMJHL games)
- Draft+2 (2019-20): 41.48 (67 points in 40 QMJHL games)
- Draft+3 (2020-21): 32.88 (3 points in 6 KHL games) & 5.50 (4 points in 29 AHL games)
Like Pettersen, Zavgorodniy had a pronounced offensive dip as he moved into the pros. He also had just absolutely horrible offensive luck in the AHL, as he produced chances but just found ways not to score. If he generates chances in 2021-22 as often as he did this season for Stockton, his production is sure to rebound.