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.
Matthew Phillips- Stockton HEat
As if Friend of the Blog Matthew Phillips couldn’t look better, the diminutive forward put up seven points this week to add to pull him into the top 20 of the AHL’s scoring. Playing on a line with Adam Ruzicka and Connor Zary, the three have combined for 31 points through eight games this season. Wild!
I think the key for Phillips is just how incredible he has been in the little moments for this Heat team. Watch 11 in this clip from the last game the Heat had against the Marlies.
Phillips is all over the ice. Not only does he backcheck really well to get the puck back, his off-puck movement is excellent, making himself open all the way through the sequence. He is 5′-7″ but has no issue getting to the front of the net and leaning into guys who are much much bigger than him. Nothing seems to phase him, and the more you watch this Heat team, the more it feels like Phillips is slowly outgrowing the AHL. His numbers are obviously incredible, but the way that he plays in game has made it clear that he is ready for a call-up to Calgary.
Bonus: check out this absolutely filthy assist Phillips makes to set up Ruzicka:
Don’t look now but the Heat may actually be good!
The boys from Stockton put up their sixth straight win in an overtime victory over the Manitoba Moose, and have been firing on all cylinders. Much of the scoring has come from their top line, as mentioned above, which has been absolutely world-class. However, they have gotten a lot of scoring from across the lineup, with Captain Alex Petrovic, CJ Lerby and more putting points on the board.
One of the key differences with this Stockton team has been their relentless fight up and down the ice. They do not let teams break out easily, and employ a very high press in their offensive team. This forces teams to either have to make longer riskier passes from deep in their own defensive zone to the neutral zone or move through the middle of the ice. Teams have really struggled to contain this play.
On top of that, the Heat’s special teams have been dynamite. Their powerplay currently sits at a league leading 42.9% and their penalty kill is currently at a division leading 84.6%. Both have been a huge reason why the Heat have been so good this season.
One thing to keep an eye on is the schedule. The Heat spend most of the rest of the season on the road, and the fatigue may begin to set it. This is going to be a weird season to evaluate, but if the Heat can continue to put points on the board, they could be looking at a long run in the playoffs, however that may look.
This and that
- It has been a huge week for many Flames’ prospects, and especially for the Stockton Heat gentlemen. Last week’s standout performer Ruzicka continued his run of form, putting up three more goals and four more assists in four games. He is currently tied for third in AHL scoring, and two of the three players ahead of him have played significantly more games.
- Sticking with Stockton, Glenn Gawdin was sent back down last week and already has a goal and two assists in his first four games. He scored a decisive overtime goal over the Manitoba Moose earlier in the week.
- The Heat’s top group of Ruzicka, Phillips, and Zary has been on fire. Zary had three goals and two assists this week. It’s a shame that the Flames have to send him back to Kamloops as he has been a standout performer for the Heat this season.
- When the Heat have to send Zary back to Kamloops, one guy gunning for the spot on that line is Mathias Emilio Pettersen. He has been making a case for himself this week, putting up two goals and two assists in his four games.
- The Heat exploded this week, with a number of prospects having a multi-point week including (deep breath): Justin Kirkland, Luke Philp, Martin Pospisil, Eetu Tuulola, Carl-Johan Lerby, Connor Mackey, and Colton Poolman. Kirkland hit 100 AHL points this week as well.
- It wasn’t pretty but Artyom Zagidulin picked up his first win of the season for Stockton. He is currently 1-0, and will be looking to steal the starting job from Garrett Sparks going forward.
- One note for Flames fans watching Stockton: Rory Kerins has still not featured for the Heat as of yet. Keep an eye to see if he finds his way into the roster.
- Moving east, the Flames’ two prospects in Saint John played last night in their first game in months. In front of over 1400 fans, Ryan Francis scored four goals, his first ever hat trick. He is fifth in the Q in points per game, having only featured in 16 this season, but has looked incredibly good so far. He is a name to remember.
- A quiet week for Jakob Pelletier. Only one goal this week.
- Over in Europe, it was a very big week for Filip Svenningson, who had three goals for MODO in the Allsvenskan. Sadly, defenceman Johannes Kinnvall is still injured.
- South of the border, there was little to write home about from the NCAA. Mitchell Mattson drew back into the lineup for Minnesota State but had no points. Josh Nodler was moved from centre to the wing but also had no points.
- Friend of the Blog Demetrios Koumontzis and Arizona State ended their season at the end of the weekend. They were playing in the Big-10 this season, and travelled over 15,000 miles (24,000 kms) through the course of their season. It is hard to assess this season for Koumontzis without having played any sort of a balanced schedule, but his numbers did not jump off the page the way they should have.
- Finally, a happy belated birthday to Friend of the Blog Yan Kuznetsov. Hopefully he celebrates with cake and a couple points as the Ice Bus faces Providence in the first round of the playoffs.
Overall totals for all Flames prospects
|Francis, Ryan||C||15||10||15||25||3||1||32.6||Saint John Seadogs||QMJHL|
|Gawdin, Glenn||C/RW||4||1||2||3||0||0||29.9||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||8||1||2||3||0||0||14.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Koumontzis, Demetrios||LW||22||4||6||10||0||0||12.4||Arizona State Sun Devils||NCAA|
|Mattson, Mitchell||C||20||2||2||4||0||0||5.5||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Nikolayev, Ilya||C||21||8||10||18||1||0||12.7||Loko Yaroslavl||MHL|
|Nodler, Josh||C||26||3||8||11||0||0||11.6||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Pelletier, Jakob||C/LW||22||8||23||31||2||0||38.8||Val-d’Or Foreurs||QMJHL|
|Pettersen, Mathias Emilio||C||8||3||4||7||2||0||34.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Phillips, Matthew||C||8||2||9||11||2||0||54.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Philp, Luke||C||8||2||3||5||2||0||24.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Pospisil, Martin||C/LW||8||3||4||7||1||0||34.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Ruzicka, Adam||C/RW||8||7||6||13||1||0||64.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Sveningsson, Filip||LW||46||7||7||11||1||0||9.0||MODO Hockey||Allsvenskan|
|Tuulola, Eetu||RW||11||2||2||4||0||0||10.7||Västerviks IK||Allsvenskan|
|Zary, Connor||C||8||3||4||7||0||0||34.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|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||15||1||5||6||0||0||12.9||UConn Huskies||NCAA|
|Lerby, Carl-Johan||LHD||8||0||4||4||0||0||19.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Mackey, Connor||LHD||8||1||4||5||0||0||24.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Poirier, Jeremie||LHD||15||5||11||16||3||0||24.8||St. John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Poolman, Colton||LHD||8||0||2||2||0||0||10.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Solovoyov, Ilya||LHD||41||2||7||9||0||0||14.5||Dynamo Minsk||KHL|
|Yelesin, Alexander||RHD||7||0||1||1||0||0||5.7||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||1||4.29||0.872||1||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: Stockton Heat