2011 Flames draftee Tyler Wotherspoon is coming off of an appearance for Team WHL in the Subway Super Series against Team Russia - Nick Laham
Several of the Flames' major junior prospects are standing out so far this season, an encouraging sign for a club with an toward the future.
On Thursday the Canadian Hockey League wrapped up its annual six-game Subway Series that pits Russian Prospects against teams from the QMJHL, OHL and WHL. The series ended in a tie, with each side winning three games, but the Russians took the official 'W,' winning more points in the series thanks to a shootout loss to Laurent Brossoit and Team WHL in game five.
Broissoit shut out the Russians in a 1-0 shootout win in game five of the series, but he and his team fell by a score of 5-2 in the final game in Victoria Thursday night. Brossoit has nine wins in 14 games played for the Edmonton Oil Kings so far this season, and has managed to keep his SV% just over .900. The Oil Kings are currently ranked third n the WHL's Eastern Conference, behind the Prince Albert Raiders and the Calgary Hitmen. Brossoit is thought to be a serious candidate for Canada's 2013 World Junior Championships team, as the nation's best U-20 players look to improve upon a bronze-medal showing at the 2012 tourney.
Flames defence prospect Tyler Wotherspoon of the Sven Baertschi's former team the Portland Winterhawks also scored an assist in the final game. Wotherspoon has two goals and 17 points in 19 games so far this season, and is a team-leading +24.
Another young Flames defence draftee has been in the spotlight this season. Alberta native Brett Kulak's Vancouver Giants may be last in the WHL's Western Conference, but the 6"1 rearguard has three goals and 11 points in 20 games so far, and seems to be on pace to better his 2012 totals of nine goals and 24 points.
Coming off of an appearance for Team QMJHL in the Subway Super Series, Ryan Culkin is another Flames 'D' prospect who is putting up the points. Although he was held pointless in the two games against the Russians, Culkin has three goals and 19 points in 20 games with the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts so far this season. Here's what Patrick Roy had to say about the young defender (via the Calgary Sun):
"Ryan is a good offensive defenceman. He plays well defensively, also...He plays first-string on the powerplay and also first-string on the penalty-killing. He reads the play well and transitions well."
"He logs major minutes, too, because his cardio is above-average. He will continue to work on the strength of his shot and upper-body strength in order to accomplish his dream of playing in the NHL."
Culkin was selected in the 5th round, 124th overall by the Flames in this summer's draft, and his Remparts are currently ranked third overall in the QMJHL with 32 points and a record of 7-3-0 in their past ten games.
Cochrane, Alta. native Coda Gordon is also having a swell start to this season, scoring at almost a point-per-game pace with six goals and 22 points in 23 games with the Swift Current Broncos. Gordon was chosen in the sixth round, 165th overall by the Flames this summer, and seems to be approaching 'under the radar' status.
Here's what Central Scouting's Peter Sullivan had to say about Gordon back in May (via NHL.com):
"[Gordon] is very effective from the blue line to the net..He has very good hockey sense and good puck protection. He doesn't have breakaway speed, but he finds open ice to be effective."
The Broncos are holding down sixth place in the WHL's Eastern Conference with a .500 winning percentage.
Last but not least is the Windsor Spitfires' Patrick Sieloff, chosen by the Flames 42nd overall in the second round of this summer's draft. Sieloff has accumulated three goals and eight points in his first 21 games with the Windsor Spitfires, but so far in his young junior career, he is most famous for this:
Sieloff has garnered a reputation as a big, physical, hard-hitting defenceman, but some worry that the OHL's strict penalties for hits like this, which saw Sieloff awarded a game misconduct, could force him to limit that aspect of his game. Things happen all the time that force players to adapt and alter their style of play, and while that may not necessarily be a bad thing for a young defenceman like Sieloff, you certainly don't want to see something like that physical element which has made him effective thus far eliminated from his game altogether. The Windsor Spitfires sit in seventh place in the OHL's Western Conference with 22 points in 21 games.
That's all for now, I'll be back later on with a preview of tomorrow afternoon's Heat vs. Marlies contest!