Prospect: Morgan Klimchuk
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
Acquired: Drafted 28th Overall in 2013 (1st Round)
Team: Stockton Heat
2016-17 Stats: 4 GP, 4 G, 4 A, 8 PTS, 2 PIM, +9
With every league’s season now in full swing, we will be checking in weekly on one of the numerous prospects within the Calgary Flames organization, looking at players in the AHL, various CHL leagues, NCAA Hockey, as well as overseas. This gives an opportunity to get better acquainted with the progress of potential future Calgary Flames. We start this segment off with a look at Stockton Heat forward, Morgan Klimchuk
Morgan Klimchuk was drafted 28th overall in the first round of the 2013 draft, along with 6th overall pick Sean Monahan and 22nd overall pick Emile Poirier. While Monahan has become an established NHL star and Emile Poirier has produced at the AHL level with a handful of games in the NHL, Klimchuk has been on a bit of a slower development curve. After a solid junior career which included seasons of 74 points in 57 games and 80 points in 60 games, Klimchuk made the jump to professional hockey last season. It did not go as well as expected. Klimchuk was always a scorer in the WHL, he was expected to be one in the AHL. He finished the season with 3 goals and 6 assists, for just 9 points in 55 games. Some players struggle to score in the transition from junior to the pros, but that was an extremely disappointing result, for the Flames, the fans and particularly Klimchuk. While he definitely proved he was a defensively responsible player, it was pretty evident he was going to need to start putting up numbers if there was a hope of him jumping to the NHL one day.
Klimchuk’s start to training camp was a rough one. After being scheduled to play on the top line with fellow first round picks and top prospects Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Jankowski at the Penticton Young Stars Tournament, Klimchuk suffered an injury before the opening game and missed the entire tournament. Not a good way to start the year. After going scoreless in 2 preseason games, he was sent down to Stockton to start year two of his professional career.
After missing the opening game, he got in the line up and immediately started producing. His first game of the season, he put up a goal and an assist. Not a bad start. After going pointless in his second game of the season, he broke out huge on Wednesday, posting a 4 point game (2 goals, 2 assists) against the San Diego Gulls. Last evening he added another goal and an assist against Tucson. So now Klimchuk already has more goals than he had last year in 55 games, through 4 games. Granted the bar was not very high to clear, but that is an extremely promising start. On a line with Czech free-agent signing Daniel Pribyl and Emile Poirier, Klimchuk has been placed in an offensive roll and his results have come immediately. While he will not continue to score at the same rate as he is right now, those are some very promising numbers.
Klimchuk is currently the leading scorer of the Stockton Heat through 5 games (he has only played 4). He also currently leads the AHL in +/- with a +9. After a really tough season last year, things are looking up to start this season and he has to be feeling confident. It is worth following his progress throughout the season. If he can have a big season this year, he could be an important part of the future in Calgary.