The month of February was certainly interesting for both the big Flames and the prospects. The Flames kept on rolling to an extent, and the prospects, well, it's a mix of good news and bad news for them
Ryan Howse has kept rolling, as has Max Reinhart, and a few surprising players have taken a step back. Follow the jump to find out.A couple notes about the updated table. I've added a couple columns as you can see- "Prior NHLE Season", which is the pro-rated NHLE points from a month ago and "Difference", which is the difference between the current NHLE Season and the Prior NHLE Season.
I took John Ramage out because he really isn't someone who NHLE applies too. As more of a stay at home physical defenseman, points are not something you'll see a whole lot of out of him.
I also removed Bryan Cameron as he was sent down to the ECHL recently and wasn't doing much in the AHL either. He does have 2 goals in 2 games in the ECHL though.
Finally, Mitch Wahl (winner of the Chucko Award for best prospect last year) is still injured. This has been a rough season for the guy.
(As a quick note, the equivalencies I used are as follows: SEL 0.78, WHL 0.30, AHL- 0.65*, WCHA and H-East 0.41)
|Name||Team||Lge||GP||G||A||Pts||PIM||NHLE Goals||NHLE A||NHLE PTS||NHLE SEASON||Prior NHLE/Season||Difference|
|Ferland||Brandon Wheat Kings||WHL||48||20||29||49||102||6||8.7||14.7||25.1||23.3||1.8|
Two players have really improved over the last month in these rankings- Erixon and Howse
Granted, Ryan Howse was already near the top, but he's increased his point production enought that in the NHL, pro-rated for a full season, it would amount to about two points. Not significant in and of itself, no. But when you consider that what you're really seeing change is his production pace, as opposed to just his point values, it matters a bit more.
Erixon is much the same, though his increased point production is a bit more significant as he's a defenseman. He's playing 19:42 a night for Skelleftea AIK (on a side note, I'd love a Skelleftea AIK jersey alsmost as much as a Dinamo Riga hat with horns) and putting up pretty decent points, given that he's playing against adults in a quality league. IGM Jay Feaster mentioned this at his trade deadline press conference yesterday, but I'd fully expect to see Tim Erixon challenge for a roster spot on the Flames at training camp this summer.
The real story here is T.J. Brodie however. Once playing dominantly in the AHL, his production has rapidly fallen off this last month. Before February he had 3 goals and 17 assists. In February he had 3 assists total. The last of those was scored on February 9th. It's hard to say what the root cause is, as the team's play as a whole has fallen off lately, but the fact is TJ Brodie is simply not producing like we had come to expect.
Below I've added top five rankings for the prospects listed. The rankings take into account expected NHL production in the near future and far future, current capability, and where the organization likely sees them.
1. Ryan Howse: Expected to be a top six player in the NHL eventually, given his goal scoring capabilities.
2. Tim Erixon: I'd look for him to slot in around a #3 or #4 defenseman in his NHL career. Giordano-lite, if you will.
3. T.J. Brodie: Despite current struggles, the Flames see him as a future offensive defenseman.
T-4. Greg Nemisz: I was never high on Nemisz- he played on stacked teams and put up cushy numbers because of that. The organization still likes him long term though. Projects to be a defensive forward.
T-4. Max Reinhart: I absolutely love this kid long term. He's second on the Kootenay Ice in points and is second in +/- as well, and just off of the lead for both. Just as important, he does this without a lot of help in recognized "skill" players. The guy who leads in points? Two years older and undrafted. Basically he thrives on just more experience and bulk. The player who leads in +/- is a year older as well. Reinhart projects as a two-way center- one who can handle the toughs but can turn around and score as well. Right now he just needs to bulk up.