With the Calgary Flames now passing the midpoint of the season and gearing up for a big playoff run, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at last offseason’s Top 25 Under 25 list and what has changed since then. This isn’t so much a re-ranking, but instead just looking at general trends for players who have either overperformed or underperformed their ranking so far in 2021-22. You can click here to see the full list and all of the articles we wrote during the offseason.
Riser: #43 - LW Jack Beck, Ottawa 67’s (OHL)
As a late round pick from 2021 and having not played the year prior, it wasn’t a surprise to see Beck ranked so low in this list but after a strong to the year he will move way up in the 2022 list. Beck got off to a hot start to the year with 17 points in 13 games, which is an impressive bump after he had just 19 points in 56 games as a 16 year old in 2019-20. The only concern is that he has been out with injury for some time but just returned this week so we will see if he can get things going again.
Riser: #42 - RW Walker Duehr, Stockton Heat (AHL)
Much like Beck, there was a lot unknown when it came to Duehr. After signing with the Flames in the spring and going pointless in five AHL games, there wasn’t much hype around him. He countered with an impressive training camp and strong start in Stockton, eventually earning himself a game with the Flames. We will see if he makes his way back up at some point this year. He’s more-so a riser because he was ranked so low but should make his way into the Top 25 this summer.
Riser: #41 - G Arsenii Sergeev, Tri-City Storm (USHL)
With an already steady stable of goaltenders established in Calgary and Stockton, the Flames may have found another diamond in the rough in Sergeev. He was a 7th round pick in this past draft and has been absolutely crushing competition in the USHL this year. He leads all major goaltending metrics by a wide margin including wins, shutouts, and SV%. While dominating the USHL in your D+1 year isn’t a guarantee of success beyond, it is certainly is better than not dominating the USHL.
Riser: #34 - RW Rory Kerins, Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
Kerins will be shooting way up our list after a very impressive start to the 21-22 OHL season. After missing the 2020-21 season with the OHL shut down, he has responded with 75 points in 44 games which is third in the entire OHL. Originally a 6th round pick in 2020, Kerins could be another diamond in the rough for the Flames.
Faller: #24 - G Tyler Parsons, N/A
Parsons had already taken a big dive on the list last offseason after basically not playing in all of 2020-21. It’s safe to say that he won’t be in the Top 25 next season as he has still yet to play this year again. It was somewhat surprising to see the Flames even bring him back this year, it’s even tougher to see how they do it again. It’s really too bad that pro hockey hasn’t worked out for him but it’s a good example of how goalies are voodoo.
Faller: #20 - RW Dmitri Zavgorodny, Sochi HC (KHL)
Zavgorodny was a player that intrigued a lot of Flames fans after a few strong seasons with Rimouski of the QMJHL and then he had a couple of strong training camp and preseason games with the Flames. Since then he has 4 points in 35 AHL games and this marks the second year that Zavgorodny has returned to Russia to finish out the season. It wouldn’t shock me if the Flames just let him stay. He was a 7th round pick so not a huge loss, but some of the flashes he showed were so tantalizing.
Riser: #15 - D Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames (NHL)
It’s safe to say that when these rankings were done, we had no idea what was coming for Kylington this year along with the entire fanbase and probably the Flames too. He has not only made it as a full-time NHLer but has become a no-questions-asked Top 4 defender with 24 points in 44 games. He has formed a dynamic pairing alongside the fantastic Chris Tanev. Unfortunately Kylington will age out before we do the 2022 list, so he’ll end at #15, but wow what a breakout for him.
Riser: #11 - C Adam Ruzicka, Calgary Flames (NHL)
Ruzicka had already made a big jump last offseason, going from #16 to #11 but he’s poised for another jump this offseason as he has made his way into the NHL and settled into a regular role. He has earned praise from teammates, coaches, and fans and has been rewarded with some strong play as of late. He has 6 points in 14 games in the NHL and had 16 points in 13 games with Stockton. He is another testament to the great work done by the Flames development staff in Stockton.
Riser: #8 - LW Jakob Pelletier, Stockton Heat (AHL)
While he’s already very high on our list at #8, I think it’s important to talk about the impressive rookie season that Pelletier has had with the Heat. He currently has 37 points in 38 games and is suddenly knocking on the door for a callup to Calgary. In the past we’ve seen other prospects struggle to make the jump from junior to pro, but it has fairly seamless for Pelletier. Calgary also managed to not trade him in the Tyler Toffoli deal so that’s a huge win. In my opinion you let him make a run with Stockton this year (they are tied for 1st in the entire AHL) and then he comes to Calgary in the fall and gets a shot at an NHL job.
Faller: #7 - C Connor Zary, Stockton Heat (AHL)
This isn’t a huge indictment on Zary, but instead we’re seeing the situation opposite of Pelletier where a player coming from junior has struggles adjusting to pro hockey. So far this year he has 10 points in 27 games and hasn’t taken the step we were hoping for as of yet. The Heat are a good team so he will some opportunities this year, but his slow year coupled with the development of other prospects may see him fall down the list a bit.
Riser: #6 - G Dustin Wolf, Stockton Heat (AHL)
Much like Pelletier, there isn’t a ton of room for Wolf to move up the rankings but we need to acknowledge how well his first professional season has gone with the Heat. Facing a similar situation as Pelletier in terms of jumping from junior (where he dominated) to the AHL, he has done just as well if not better. Wolf has a 20-3-3 record so far this year and carries a .928 SV% and 2.22 GAA. We’ve seen many goalies slip during the transition to pro hockey, but so far Wolf has dominated the A. He has struggled a bit of late, allowing 4+ goals in 5/8 games, but he’s also allowed two goals or less in 19/26 games this year. The original plan was to let him play in Stockton for a few years, he might be changing that very quickly.
Faller: #5 - D Juuso Valimaki, Stockton Heat (AHL)
Valimaki saw himself get pushed out of an NHL job in Calgary with very strong play from Kylington along with Nikita Zadorov being a more stable option. It seems like things have hit a wall for the 2017 1st round pick and that just continued with Valimkaki being suspended for three games for making contact with a linesman. Things just haven’t been the same since he missed the 2019-20 season with a Torn ACL. Hopefully he can pull together a better finish to the season because his first half has been pretty inconsistent.
Faller: #4 - RW Dillon Dube, Calgary Flames (NHL)
To be fair to Dube, I think he is having a big string of bad luck coupled with everything else this season. He has had a number of great chances and just couldn’t convert, but he does have the potential to be an X factor for the Flames down the stretch and into the playoffs. He has just 11 points in 45 games this year after 22 points in 52 games last year. At #4 it’s a lot easier to fall down the list than it is to rise, so that’s part of the reason I have him in the fallers category, but a good finish could really help his cause.
Who has been the most impressive riser this season?
This poll is closed