It's been a positive few weeks for the Flames with regards to their prospect development. Most notably, the team sent three prospects to the World Juniors tournament, but there was also solid growth down in the lower leagues. Make sure you read our October and November's check-ins.
World Junior's summary:
As mentioned, the Flames did send three players to the prestigious tournament, with Brandon Hickey and Mason McDonald going for Canada, and Adam Ollas Mattsson appearing for Sweden. Of course, we all know it was a disappointing tournament for Canada, only beating lowly Denmark and Switzerland (in a shootout), and sputtering out in the quarterfinals to Finland. Sweden made it slightly farther, also being eliminated from the gold medal game by the Finns.
Hickey was certainly overshadowed by Joe Hicketts and Thomas Chabot, and not as visible as other Team Canada defenders, but was still contributing. He racked up six shots on goal without any points, and was solid defensively throughout the tournament. Maybe not so much against the Americans, but he was often matched up against Auston Matthews, which is a tough ask for any young defender. Hickey didn't always look as good as his peers, but he's certainly made his case for cracking the top pairing on next year's roster.
The Charlottetown keeper started Canada's first two games, looking shaky in each. The game against the USA certainly fell apart at the end, but McDonald wasn't looking great all game. Four goals on 26 shots is concerning. I'm less concerned about his game against the Swiss where he allowed one goal on ten shots, considering that happens to Canada at least once per major tournament (all hail Kristers Gudlevskis, Latvian God).
The Swedish sixth rounder surprised many just by being selected, but his performances were impressive until his injury late in the tournament. The big bodied defender was the only Flames prospect to put up points, with a goal and an assist. As advertised, Ollas-Mattsson is mostly defensive minded, shutting down offence rather than providing it. I don't believe that he'll be a feature in the NHL someday, but his physical play will surely impress some.
Now, onto the stats!
The Heat had an interesting December. They played in the AHL's first outdoor game (which was rained out on its first go), and made steady improvements, but are still dead last in the Pacific. You can read all of Ed's Stockton coverage here.
|Bryce Van Brabant||24||7||3||10||16.4||9.39|
- Derek Grant is looking like another solid pickup from the previous summer. Not only is he scoring at ridiculous rates, he has also put up 103 shots in his 20 games. That's the type of depth you want.
- Oliver Kylington is a 19 year old defenceman scoring goals in a North American professional league. He was selected with the second last pick of the second round. I love him.
- Van Brabant is starting to find his scoring touch. He was fourth line fodder when he joined the team, so it's nice to see that he may be a depth scorer rather than a Bollig replacement.
- Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk are starting to find twine!
- Though they're first round picks acquired for Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester. More is not enough.
- Hunter Smith really should be returned to junior. He's still eligible to do so, and he's likely to be better off for it. There's no real use for him in Stockton other than to occupy a roster spot.
- Tyler Wotherspoon seems to have fallen fast on the prospect depth chart, and this is probably his last chance to ever crack the Flames' roster. He's dropped off in scoring, and with Kulak and Nakladal ahead of him, he's probably gone by the end of the year. Pity.
OHL translation factor is 0.33, while QMJHL and WHL is 0.27
- Andrew Mangiapane served an eight game suspension. Bad! Then he came back and scored six points (1G, 5A) in Barrie's 12-2 demolition of the North Bay Battalion. Good!
- Speaking of North Bay, Riley Bruce has already doubled his points total from last year. He was a seventh round pick (don't worry, he was scratched for the 12-2 game).
- Keegan Kanzig nearly scored a hat trick in one game.
- Conversely, Keegan Kanzig was a third round pick. Anthony Duclair, selected 13 spots later in the 2013 draft, is an NHL player with more points than all but five Flames players. Drafting for size is idiotic and you should never do it.
NCAA translation factors are here. DeBlouw plays in the Big Ten, Harrison in the ECAC, and Jankowski, Gilmour, and Hickey in the Hockey East
- Brandon Hickey I guess? No one really looks that good here.
- Okay, now the Jankowski ten year project is definitively dead. He did have a stellar start to the year, but now he's slowing down back to where he started. If he continued to at least be above a point-per-game, there would be a reason for the Flames to entertain the idea of signing him. Not anymore. He's regressed to the point where his value isn't much better than what the Flames have with existing prospects (see above). Let him sign elsewhere, and move on.
SHL translation factor is .53, KHL is .83.
|Adam Ollas Mattson||SHL||22||1||3||4||8.5||0.3|
- I guess scoring is scoring. Good job for scoring!
- All goalies have improved from last month's report, so that's nice.
- Nick Schneider took home Goalie of the Week for a stretch in December that saw him save 69 out of 74 shots. I'm still skeptical about his NHL future, but who am I to complain about good form?
- So are we still sure that Joni Ortio is the saviour in net?
Prospect of the month
Let's give it to Derek Grant, who is certainly playing beyond expectation, and above the AHL level. While there really isn't any room for him up in Calgary, I expect to see him stick with the team in the future.
Thanks for tuning in again!