The hulking 6'2, 210 lb. Brown University winger has drawn comparisons to the likes of Lance Bouma for his blood-and-guts approach to his play, which may excite fans, and prove useful on the ice. With the recent, though questionably sustainable success of Bouma, it's worth considering taking chances on guys like Garnet Hathaway.
Brad Treliving's desire to utilize and cultivate talent wherever he can is an incredibly valuable asset to the Flames. Scouting for undrafted players that may have slipped through the cracks can turn out incredibly well for NHL teams. It's already paid off in Calgary, notably with a young man named Josh Jooris - albeit, a Jay Feaster find, not a Treliving one.
Though it's worth curbing expectations and assessing players on an individual basis, there is still a wealth of untapped players out there, and that includes in the college ranks: a place the Flames have historically sought out talent, and found it.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Draft||2014-15 team||Vote total|
||Adirondack Flames (AHL)
Hathaway's future in hockey really began with the Phillips Andover prep school in Andover, Massachusetts. Playing alongside Rangers forward Chris Kreider as a junior, he registered 16 goals and 13 assists in 26 games. Electing to commit to Brown University for 2010-11, he improved upon his previous totals, potting 17 goals and 20 assists.
His collegiate career numbers were not overly impressive through his tenure. His first year with Brown saw him score a meager five goals and nine assists. His second year, despite missing six games due to illness, saw his totals drop to three goals and five assists.
In his third year with the BU Bears, Hathaway elevated his play to be the third-highest scorer on the team that season with 21 points in 33 games. Even though the Bears finished seventh in the ECAC season, they managed to make it to the championship game, falling to Union College 3-1.
Closing out his final year in collegiate hockey, Hathaway suited up with Brown before joining the Abbotsford Heat for nine games. Though he remained scoreless in the eight regular season games, he managed to score his first AHL goal in a first-round playoff game against Grand Rapids.
Invited the to Flames training camp in the offseason, he was cut and subsequently signed by Adirondack for the 2014-15 season. In his rookie season as a pro, Hathaway scored a remarkable 19 goals and 17 assists in 72 games. With that, the Flames graciously signed him to a two-year entry level contract.
Strengths and weaknesses
Hathaway was described by Brad Treliving as "an absolute fearless competitor", and "an unbelievable team person with high, high character". Hockey's Future indicated that Hathaway does possess a strong defensive game, which is a positive if it can translate to the pros. With his 19 goals in Adirondack last year, there is piqued interest in if he can replicate next season in Stockton.
Beyond that, if his offensive game regresses next year in the AHL, and if his defensive game isn't found, then it's likely that he becomes a depth option long-term. There should be optimism that his defensive game revolves around skills above simply blocking shots, which could be of value for the organization.
Future with the Flames
With more skilled, offensively gifted forwards (who also possess defensive attributes), it's likely he'll remain a depth option over the immediate future. An overlooked area of assessment management is ensuring your AHL roster is built correctly. If Hathaway never makes the NHL, but can perform at respectable levels in the AHL, then his value relative to where he plays is a bit different.
He could become a focal point of a Stockton squad that is growing and developing, which can hopefully further develop Calgary's talent. If he has a big year with Stockton and if injuries pile up in Calgary next season, we could very well see his debut.
In similar ways, you have to hope that the likes of Hunter Smith can replicate success in his upcoming rookie year, just as Hathaway did.
Expectations for 2015-16
Right now, the best thing is to continue trying to improve in Stockton. There is a likely chance that a number of players who might not make the Flames initially may have big years in the AHL. With the likes of Bill Arnold, Emile Poirier, and Morgan Klimchuk certain to be there, the team is chock full of potential.
He has the potential, if he can seize it, to fight for a top six role. Especially with the level of talent in the system, it will be fantastic in developing and polishing his skill set. It might seem unlikely, but given the relative depth issues on the RW for the organization, it could happen. That's not to say it will, but we know all too well what kind of work ethic exists in the youth movement in Calgary and Stockton.