Welcome to the TWC Flames prospect update. Each week, we’ll take a dive into how the Flames’ prospects have done in their respective leagues. We have defined a prospect as a skater who has played fewer than 65 NHL games, and is younger than 25 years of age. All data is from QuantHockey and EliteProspects. We also use an NHLe calculator built by Christian Roatis (@Croatis) which is used to estimate a player’s equivalent point total in the NHL based on how they are performing in their respective league. The calculator uses the difficulty of the given league combined with the ease at which a player puts up points to determine the NHLe.
Adam Ruzicka- Stockton HEat
Raise your hand if you had Adam Ruzicka sitting eighth in points per game in the AHL so far this season? The Slovak forward has taken an enormous step forward this season, recording six points in two games this week. He started it off with a goal from the slot after Friend of the Blog Matthew Phillips made a nice move to get to the middle of the ice from the wall. Phillips found him yet again, picking up a streaking Ruzicka from his own blue line who put the puck high over the Marlies goalkeeper. He also had eight shots on net and looked dangerous every time he was on the ice
In the second game, Ruzicka was set up yet again by, you guessed it, Phillips for goal number three of the season. Ruzicka then got one at 4v4, which sadly was not assisted by Phillips. Don’t feel too bad, Ruzicka gave one back, setting up an incredible play by Phillips, with the clip below. Ruzicka later fought Colt Conrad for going knee first through, again, Phillips, and recorded his first Gordie Howe Hattrick. Not bad for the Flames’ fourth round pick.
The Heat have been a fun team to watch, and Ruzicka has been a ball of energy all over the ice. He has quickly become a fan favorite around the Heat, and has been playing well enough to put his name in the call-up conversation this season. If he can keep this level of play up, expect those calls to only grow louder.
When last we wrote, the Heat had gotten off to a horrendous start to the season losing their first two games by a combined 11-2 score to the Toronto Marlies. Thankfully, like a nice bottle of wine, they have gotten better with time. The Heat won their first of the season 4-2 then absolutely blew the barn doors off the Marlies 8-1 at home.
The scoring in the two wins was reasonably diverse, with most prospects having at least one point. The big standout performers this week outside of Ruzicka were Friend of the Blog Matthew Phillips and Mathias Emilio Pettersen. After missing a good chunk of last season to injury, Phillips has not missed a stride. He had a beautiful goal and an absolutely mind-boggling assist below.
Rookie Pettersen has been an absolute phenom for the Heat as well. It often takes time for young prospects from the NCAA to adapt to playing professional hockey, but Pettersen has adapted very well thus far.
Speaking of young guns, last year’s first round pick Connor Zary has been exceptional for the Heat. He put up two powerplay goals, and was not afraid to get into a physical confrontation at the end of the game against the Marlies. While he is eventually going to be heading back to Kamloops when the WHL’s BC teams go back to playing later this month, he has been one of the standouts for the Heat this season.
The Heat have played exclusively at home, but now will be on the road for 19 of their next 26 games this season. This is going to be a big test for the team, and will show the real strength of this team. This week, they play Belleville, then Toronto twice again, then end against Manitoba on Monday and Wednesday next week. Stay tuned to see how they do.
This and that
- Sticking with the Heat, Friend of the Blog Dustin Wolf picked up his first two professional wins this week. He has since headed back to Everett for the start of their season. As good as he has been in Stockton, the Flames are bound to let him play in the WHL this season. He will be looking to break the all-time shutout record in the WHL, currently he has 20 and needs just 7 more to hold the record himself.
- The Flames sent Connor Mackey back down to Stockton, and so far he has two assists. Expect he may be back and forth from Calgary through the course of the season.
- The Flames have also sent Glenn Gawdin back down to Stockton, but he has yet to feature in a game. Having him on the Heat roster is a huge asset.
- Moving beyond the Heat, the big story this week (and this season largely) has been Jakob Pelletier. He has been magnificent. This week alone in three games he had a goal and five assists. The goal and three of those assists came on the powerplay. The captain of the league leading Val d’Or Foreurs, Pelletier has been one of the most impressive players in the entire league. The Flames seem to have a winner in Pelletier.
- Across the pond, Ilya Nikolayev and Johannes Kinnvall are both on the IR. Hoping for a speedy return for the both of them.
- Ilya Solovyov had himself a good week in Russia, putting up a goal and an assist. His team, Dynamo Minsk has made the KHL playoffs.
- Slow week for Daniil Chechelev. Not only did his team not make the playoffs, but he did not feature again this week. Not good.
- Back in North America, a slow week for the Flames’ NCAA prospects. No points for Josh Nodler or Jake Boltmann in the Big-10 Division. Mitchell Mattson remains a healthy scratch.
- One assist for Friend of the Blog Yan Kuznetsov. He has been very good for UConn.
- Zero to 100 for Jeremie Poirier, Ryan Francis and the Saint John Sea Dogs. After spending months unable to play, the Seadogs and the rest of the New Brunswick teams are back in action next week and are allowing fans in the stands.
- Finally, we would be remiss if not to congratulate Artyom Zagidulin on his first NHL game. Coming in in relief for David Rittich, Zagidulin was hung out to dry by the Flames in their 6-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. Hopefully he can turn things around in Stockton this season.
Overall totals for all Flames prospects
|Francis, Ryan||C||15||6||15||21||3||1||32.6||Saint John Seadogs||QMJHL|
|Gawdin, Glenn||C/RW||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|1||0||0||0||0||0||0||EHC Visp||National League|
|Kerins, Rory||C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Soo Greyhounds||OHL|
|Kirkland, Justin||LW/RW||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Koumontzis, Demetrios||LW||20||4||6||10||0||0||13.7||Arizona State Sun Devils||NCAA|
|Mattson, Mitchell||C||18||2||2||4||0||0||6.1||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Nikolayev, Ilya||C||21||8||10||18||1||0||12.7||Loko Yaroslavl||MHL|
|Nodler, Josh||C||24||3||8||11||0||0||12.5||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Pelletier, Jakob||C/LW||18||7||23||30||2||0||38.8||Val-d’Or Foreurs||QMJHL|
|Pettersen, Mathias Emilio||C||4||1||2||3||1||0||29.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Phillips, Matthew||C||4||1||3||4||1||0||39.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Philp, Luke||C||4||2||0||2||2||0||19.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Pospisil, Martin||C/LW||4||1||3||4||0||0||39.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Ruzicka, Adam||C/RW||4||4||2||6||1||0||59.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Sveningsson, Filip||LW||42||4||7||11||0||0||7.0||MODO Hockey||Allsvenskan|
|Tuulola, Eetu||RW||11||2||2||4||0||0||10.7||Västerviks IK||Allsvenskan|
|Zary, Connor||C||2||0||2||2||0||0||0||Kamloops Blazers||WHL|
|Zavgorodny, Dmitri||C/RW||6||0||3||3||0||0||33.0||SKA St Petersburg||KHL|
|Boltmann, Jake||RHD||6||0||0||0||0||0||0||Lincoln Stars||USHL|
|Kuznetsov, Yan||LHD||12||1||5||6||0||0||16.1||UConn Huskies||NCAA|
|Lerby, Carl-Johan||LHD||4||0||2||2||0||0||19.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Mackey, Connor||LHD||4||0||2||2||0||0||19.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Poirier, Jeremie||LHD||15||5||11||16||3||0||24.8||St. John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Poolman, Colton||LHD||4||0||1||1||0||0||10.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Solovoyov, Ilya||LHD||41||2||7||9||0||0||14.5||Dynamo Minsk||KHL|
|Yelesin, Alexander||RHD||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Chechelev, Daniil||G||21||2.58||0.912||8||7||3||HK Ryazan||VHL|
|19||2.49||0.924||11||7||0||Russkie Vityazi Chekhov||MHL|
|Parsons, Tyler||G||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Wolf, Dustin||G||0||0||0||0||0||0||Everett Silvertips||WHL|
|Zagidulin, Artyom||G||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
Which prospects are you most excited about? Let us know below in the comments or on social media.
Photo credits: EliteProspects