Disappointed by the Flames poor playoff run? Worried that the same thing might happen again next year? Don’t worry! You can expect big things to come for the Flames.
During the Ducks sweep of the Flames, all parts of the Calgary machine stopped working. The offense did not score when they needed to, the defense gave the Ducks too much room in the defensive zone, and Brian Elliott failed to stop the puck.
The series was hard to watch, but Flames fans can still be confident in a bright future to come. The Flames AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, is currently making a run in the playoffs for the Calder Cup. There are three standout prospects on the Heat that will most likely take the jump to the NHL and make their presence known.
Andrew Mangiapane – One of the strongest forwards on the Heat and one of the most fun to watch. The left wing is a bit of an underdog due to his size. Standing 5’10’’ and weighing 185 pounds, he is considered small by professional hockey standards. He went undrafted into the OHL and walked onto the Barrie Colts were he quickly made his presence known. Mangiapane had two back- to -back seasons in which he scored over 100 points while on the Colts. He is currently fourth in scoring on the Heat with 44 points on the season and one assist in the playoffs (so far).
Mangiapane has a natural hockey sense. He plays his position extremely well and always knows where the puck is going to be. He loves to rip the puck from the slot and the kid likes to score. The Flames could definitely use him for some secondary scoring in the near future.
Jon Gillies – Gillies is currently the starting goalie for the Heat and got called up to play one game for the Flames in the 2016-2017 season. In his first NHL game, he tallied 27 saves in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. During this game, Gillies played like a pro and seemed more than comfortable in the net, making several impressive saves. Prior to the Heat, Gillies played at Providence College. During his time at Providence, he led his team to an NCAA championship and was awarded the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four that year.
Gillies is confident and plays with a lot of heart. After Elliott and Johnson’s less than impressive seasons, Gillies could be what the Flames need in net. Gillies finished the 2016-17 season with an 18-14-1 record and a 2.95 GAA.
Rasmus Andersson – native to Sweden, Andersson is one the best passing defensemen in the AHL. Like Mangiapane, Andersson spent some time with the Barrie Colts of the OHL. During his two seasons there, he scored 60 points in the 2015-16 season and 24 in the 2014-15 season. His first season in the AHL has been impressive. Playing in 54 games for the Heat, scoring 3 goals and giving 19 assists with a plus/minus of 13. The Swede likes to pass and does not like to get scored on. Andersson has a strong wrist shot, great puck movement, and can hold the line well. He plays tight D and does not give the opposing offense much room.
Andersson is exactly what the Flames need in front of a goaltender to prevent shots against. Andersson played in 1 NHL game and posted a -1 plus/minus in a 3-1 loss in San Jose on April 8 of this year.
Flames fans have a whole new era to witness as these prospects make their way into the NHL.