#18 - Ryan Francis
Position: Centre/Right Wing
Team: Cape Breton Eagles, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Stats: 16G, 34A, 50 points in 32 games
Drafted in 2020, Round 5, Pick 143
2020 Ranking: #36 (+18)
Following an impressive draft season where he had 72 points in 61 games, Ryan Francis continued to impress and set new career marks during the 2020-21 QMJHL season. The season was already quite uncertain given the pandemic, but Francis’ season was even more unique as he was traded for the first time in his junior career. After starting the year with teh Cape Breton Eagles, he was traded for the final half of the season to the Saint John Sea Dogs. Between the two clubs he combined for 16 goals and 50 total points over 32 regular season games and added 10 points in six playoff games as well.
While his size will once again be the biggest knock on him at 5’9’’, the Flames have shown in recent years that drafting talent over size pays far bigger dividends. It is very easy to draw the comparisons between Francis and Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane, both being late round picks due to their size, but excelled at junior.
Among the highlights of the season for Francis was a four goal game in his debut with the Sea Dogs despite not having played in nearly four months after the QMJHL shut down mid-season for Covid reasons. He also had a six point night (three goals and three assists) in the second last game of the regular season as well.
As mentioned, Francis really seems to fit the mold of other highly skilled late round picks that the Flames have made over the past few seasons, but except him to really gain notoriety over this season if he can continue to score at rates similar to last season or even surpass them. While he is still a number of years away from the Flames, there is very good reason to believe he will quickly become one of the Flames more talked about prospects this season.
What do you think of Francis’ ranking?
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