This blog has grown a lot over the past year, and we love you all and want to thank you for your support. Whether you love or hate us, or advanced stats, or whatever else, you keep coming back, and we appreciate it. After all: we're all Calgary Flames fans, and we just want to talk Flames, no matter what.
That's why we're taking a page out of several of our fellow SB Nation hockey sites, and kicking off our Top 25 Under 25 series.
How it works
It's right in the name: we've ranked the top 25 players in the Flames' system who are under 25 years of age for the start of the 2015-16 season. This includes roster players, AHLers, and prospects in junior and European leagues. As long as the Flames hold their rights, they're a part of this.
And the Flames are a very, very young team. Two of their top three scorers in 2014-15 were Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau: ages 20 and 21, respectively. They've added more potential to that youthful group by trading for Dougie Hamilton, and drafting players such as Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington.
There are a lot of young Flames to choose from. Some - such as TJ Brodie, Lance Bouma, and Josh Jooris - didn't make the cut, simply because they're already 25, but that doesn't necessarily diminish the list.
The seven main Flames writers for this blog - myself, Mike FAIL, HockeyGoalieEh, saltysyd, ctibs, LiamPMcCausland, and cofstats - each submitted a list of their top 25 Flames under 25, and they were compiled together into one master list. The maximum number of points a player could garner is 175: 25 available top points to be given out by seven writers each.
So throughout August and early September, we'll be counting up. Every weekday, we'll be posting one player's profile. We'll be taking a look at their histories, stats, strengths, weaknesses, hopes for their futures with the Flames, and what's expected of them over the 2015-16 season.
The 25th player goes on Monday, Aug. 3. The 24th on Tuesday, the 23rd on Wednesday, and so on, every Monday-Friday until we reach our top ranked player on Friday, Sept. 4. It'll be fun - feel free to agree, disagree, and speculate with what we chose!
The Flames have 37 players within the system all eligible for this ranking, ranging from current NHLers to recent draft picks. The players, along with their basic details, are listed below, from oldest to youngest. Ages listed are as of Oct. 1, 2015.
|Player||Position||Age||2014-15 Team||Contractual Status||Waiver Exempt?|
|Drew Shore||C||24||Calgary Flames/Adirondack Flames/San Antonio Rampage||RFA in 2016||No|
|Joni Ortio||G||24||Calgary Flames/Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||No|
|Bryce Van Brabant||LW||23||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||Yes|
|Garnet Hathaway||RW||23||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Kenney Morrison||D||23||Adirondack Flames/Western Michigan University||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Micheal Ferland||LW||23||Calgary Flames/Adirondack Flames||RFA||No|
|Kenny Agostino||LW||23||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||Yes|
|Bill Arnold||C||23||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||Yes|
|Turner Elson||LW||23||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||No|
|Tyler Wotherspoon||D||22||Calgary Flames/Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||Yes|
|Markus Granlund||C||22||Calgary Flames/Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2016||Yes|
|John Gilmour||D||22||Providence College||unsigned||n/a|
|Dougie Hamilton||D||22||Boston Bruins||UFA in 2021||No|
|Johnny Gaudreau||LW||22||Calgary Flames||RFA in 2016||No|
|Ryan Culkin||D||21||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Brett Kulak||D||21||Adirondack Flames/Colorado Eagles||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Tim Harrison||RW||21||Colgate University||unsigned||n/a|
|Jon Gillies||G||21||Providence College||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Austin Carroll||RW||21||Victoria Royals||RFA in 2018||Yes|
|Patrick Sieloff||D||21||Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Mark Jankowski||C||21||Providence College||unsigned||n/a|
|Matt DeBlouw||C||21||Michigan State University||unsigned||n/a|
|Sean Monahan||C||20||Calgary Flames||RFA in 2016||No|
|Emile Poirier||RW||20||Calgary Flames/Adirondack Flames||RFA in 2018||Yes|
|Keegan Kanzig||D||20||Calgary Hitmen/Victoria Royals||RFA in 2018 *||Yes|
|Morgan Klimchuk||LW||20||Brandon Wheat Kings/Regina Pats||RFA in 2018 *||Yes|
|Rushan Rafikov||D||20||HK Ryazan/Loko Yaroslavl||unsigned||n/a|
|Hunter Smith||RW||20||Oshawa Generals||RFA in 2018 *||Yes|
|Andrew Mangiapane||LW||19||Barrie Colts||unsigned||n/a|
|Brandon Hickey||D||19||Boston University||unsigned||n/a|
|Mason McDonald||G||19||Charlottetown Islanders||RFA in 2018 *||Yes|
|Sam Bennett||C||19||Calgary Flames/Kingston Frontenacs||RFA in 2017||Yes|
|Adam Ollas Mattsson||D||19||Djurgardens IF||unsigned||n/a|
|Rasmus Andersson||D||18||Barrie Colts||unsigned||n/a|
|Pavel Karnaukhov||LW||18||Calgary Hitmen||unsigned||n/a|
|Oliver Kylington||D||18||Farjestads BK Karlstad/AIK||RFA in 2018 *||Yes|
|Riley Bruce||D||18||North Bay Battalion||unsigned||n/a|
* Contractual status can slide a year if the player does not enter professional North American hockey this upcoming season.
Because there are 37 players fighting for 25 spots to be included on this list, that means 12 simply didn't make the cut.
Riley Bruce, Matt DeBlouw, Tim Harrison, Brett Kulak, Rushan Rafikov, and Byrce Van Brabant received zero points. This makes sense: Bruce is a seventh round pick from just this year's draft, DeBlouw and Harrison are unheralded college players, Kulak spent extensive time in the ECHL, Rafikov has only played in Russian junior leagues, and Van Brabant appears to be more an AHL scrapper than NHL player.
Patrick Sieloff received two points. The defenceman-slash-forward-slash-wait-what-are-you-playing-now's stock has fallen since he was drafted. Not being a high scorer to begin with, and then missing an entire season due to a staph infection certainly didn't help matters.
John Gilmour, another unheralded college player, received three points, while Adam Ollas Mattsson, obscurely playing in Europe like Rafikov - albeit Sweden instead of Russia - received four.
Coke machine and low scorer Keegan Kanzig can make the jump to the pros this season, but he only received five points. Austin Carroll, who will certainly be turning pro, received seven.
That leaves us with #26 on the list: Turner Elson, a bottom sixer who went from winning the Kelly Cup in the ECHL to finding a regular spot in the AHL. He received 11 points from us.
Who's #25? Join us on Monday when we kick things off!