The Calgary Flames will be selecting 12th overall in this year’s NHL Entry Draft, we all know that by now. What we don’t know is who the team has their eyes set on in the first round now that their draft position has been established.
Leading up to the draft, we will be diving into the profiles of each draft prospect projected to go in the top 20, based on our consolidated top 100 rankings.
Next up on our profile list is Carson Lambos, a well-travelled defensive prospect that was ranked at #15 on The Win Column’s Consolidated NHL Draft Rankings. Lambos had quite the interesting season going from Finland, back to Canada, and then suffering a season ending injury. That being said, he most likely will be available at 12th overall and could be a very intriguing selection.
Who is Carson Lambos?
Born January 14th, 2003 in Winnipeg Manitoba, Lambos is an 18-year-old left-handed defenseman who has spent time playing across the world in his young career. Starting with the WHL Kootenay Ice, and then with his hometown Winnipeg Ice, Lambos spent some time playing in Finland this past season due to the pandemic.
In Finland, Lambos started his tenure with JyP U18 before quickly being promoted to JyP U20 team. His impressive play with the U20 team even earned him a two game tryout with the SM-Liiga. During his time with the U20 team, he was an average 20 minute per game player, often spending lots of time on the top power play and top penalty kill units. During his 13 games with the team, they went 7-3-3 and improved their goal differential to +14 after going 6-9-1 and a -26 before he joined.
After the WHL season got underway, he returned to the Winnipeg Ice but unfortunately suffered a season ending injury after just two games. This unfortunately limited his ability to improve his draft stock, but that could benefit the Flames.
Carson Lambos’ on-ice production
|2020-2021||D+0||U18 SM-sarja |
|JyP U18 |
Carson Lambos’ strengths
If you look up Lambos’ profile, and more importantly his strengths, it is a long, long list. First off, Lambos is perfectly defined as a two-way defenseman. It’s not meant as cliche, it’s simply the best way to classify who he is a as a player.
First off, there is a large consensus over his skating and puck movement:
His skating ability lends itself tremendously to both his offensive and defensive abilities. Steve Kournianos of the Draft Analyst summarizes his abilities far more eloquently than I ever could:
Lambos possesses excellent mobility and quickness for a defenseman with a powerful, sturdy frame. He isn’t a consistent end-to-end rusher like most high-end defense prospects but eluding or out-pacing forecheck pressure is one of Lambos’s major strengths. His movements are incredibly efficient, especially when forecheckers try to fix him into a tough situation. Upon retrievals, Lambos will peel back multiple times, using his edges and balance (and quick shoulder checks) to keep the puck away from the side of the opponent’s blade. His turns are both sharp and rapid, but Lambos drops a quick first step when he decides to head north and accelerate with a long, powerful stride.Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
As a 6’1″, 200lbs defenseman, mobility is key to fitting into today’s modern game. Lambos’ ease in strides across both ends of the ice make him an absolute asset to any team.
Speaking of both ends of the ice, Lambos can play both with ease. On the offensive side, he has been lauded for both his heavy slapshot and sneaky writers that cause havoc for the apposing goaltenders.
His defensive game is where he truly shines. Lambos has been noted to be an extremely efficient defender, often quickly retrieving pucks and dump ins to maximize his teams transition game. He’s able to push his opponent to the outside fast and more often than not uses his physicality to limit scoring chances.
He spends a ton of his icetime on the penalty kill as well, as he is able to use his strong lateral movement and tenacity to wear down other teams shooters to neutralize the man advantage.
Carson Lambos’ areas of improvement
Although his offensive game is good for his age, there are lots of reports that this is an areas of development. For an 18-year-old defenseman this is a normal critique to see. Lambos is more of a shoot-first defenseman, which is not normally a bad thing to see, but if he projects to be a top PP quarterback, he needs to work on his puck facilitation more. Although he’s able to sneak into lanes and get strong looks, that is often is main focus rather than looking for the best option on the PP.
Secondly, although he plays a physical style of game, there has been some instances where his focus will be to make a hit rather than remaining in position. The physical aspect of his game is key to who he is as a player, so it’s something that you can live with, but at the NHL level it may take time to realize where he fits on that scale.
Fit with the Flames
Lambos would be a classic “best player available” pick for the Flames. As it stands right now, their LHD depth is strong and doesn’t need immediate enforcements. Of course that being said, Lambos is the type of prospect that easily projects into any team’s top four, if not even the top pairing. In such a deep draft class of defenseman, it wouldn’t be a bad pick for the Flames to make.
There has been lots of talk about how he would fit great under a Darryl Sutter system, but it’s highly unlikely that Lambos would have a prominent role under Sutter in the next two years. That being said, developing under the likes of Tanev would be ideal for his defensive game if he is able to make it to the NHL during Tanev’s Flames tenure.
Lambos would be a very low risk selection for the Flames because at worst he would be a serviceable NHL defenseman. If the team wants to stock up on more defenseman, Lambos would be someone who is most likely available at #12 an would be an excellent fit for the teams’ future.
Projection: Top four defenseman
Featured image created with Venngage.