It’s nearly Christmas, and a couple of leagues are already singing carols and eating gingerbread cookies by the fire. However, most Calgary Flames prospects were still on the ice this week, and many decided to put up huge weeks prior to going on holiday. All three of the Flames’ goalie prospects saw their numbers improve, with Arseni Sergeev posting yet another shutout. There is a lot of movement in the QMJHL, as their winter trade period opened up this week. Both Acadie-Bathurst and Saint John have made big moves this week, adding players as they fight for playoff spots. So much to talk about this week, let’s get into it.
Welcome to the TWC Calgary 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.
Want to see where all the Flames’ prospects are playing this year? Check out our map visualization here:
Connor Zary – Stockton Heat
This has not been the season he or anyone expected it would be for Connor Zary. The former Kamloops Blazer started the year on the injured reserve, but then really struggled to make an impact on his return. His plus/minus was horrendous as he struggled to adapt to playing centre alongside linemates that were not as good as Matthew Phillips and Adam Ruzicka, his partners when he played his stint in Stockton last year.
However, Zary is still an elite talent who has taken a huge step forward in the last couple of weeks. Of his eight points this season, six were scored in the last two weeks alone, including all of his assists. While he did not score a goal himself this week, he managed to make some nifty plays that led to goals. Let’s start with a non-assist that led to Ilya Solovyov’s goal:
I love the way he does not give up on the play, making it very hard for the Eagles’ skater (former Stockton Heat defenceman Rob Hamilton) to get the puck. From there, the Heat made two quick plays to score. The real icing on the cake this week was this assist which was the game winner in overtime for Luke Philp:
What makes this play especially special is not the goal, which is obviously important, but is Zary’s confidence. He takes the pass from Jakob Pelletier, comes off the wall right at the defenceman, beats the poke check, and takes the shot. This speaks to a player with confidence, one who is comfortable enough making plays like that with just seconds left in the game.
It has been great to see him take a step forward over the last couple of weeks. He is a phenomenally talented player who has seen his stock drop off substantially as a result of his play this season, but he has turned his production around in the last few days. I hope we get a chance to see him centring the top line with Pelletier on the left and Phillips on the right.
This and that
- The Heat played three games of hockey this week and won all three. Dustin Wolf started all three and was a big reason why they managed to win. You just cannot say enough good things about the netminder, who is absolutely astounding when he’s in net. His positioning and athleticism are off the charts, and he continues to be among the best goaltenders in the league.
- The biggest save of the week came on a 2-on-0 against which he had no business stopping. Check it out:
- This was a great week for the Heat’s second and third lines, both of which had a whole host of points. Walker Duehr and Eetu Tuulola had two goals each, while Luke Philp had a goal and an assist.
- One player who has continued to be hot is Ilya Solovyov, who had another big goal this week. The Flames’ seventh-round pick last year is seeing his star rise substantially of late.
- The team’s top line had just three points—a goal and an assist from Jakob Pelletier and an assist for Matthew Phillips. But what a great goal for Pelletier, who brought the bears for the Heat in their Teddy Bear Toss. Check it out:
- Not a prospect, but Juuso Valimaki is up to six assists in his stint in Stockton. With the Flames’ outbreak, it’s at least good that he is getting lots of playing time.
- Some injury news: Justin Kirkland is currently out with a day-to-day upper body issue while Martin Pospisil, who was out with a non-COVID related injury, is now back in the lineup.
- Finally, a special Happy Birthday to Colton Poolman!
- As always, lots to talk about out of the Q. Let’s start with the big stuff: the league will be pausing for the holiday season with plans to resume January 7th. With the rising case numbers and smaller revenues because of the pandemic, the hope is that this will allow them to finish this season and play in the Memorial Cup, but time will tell.
- Cole Huckins in Acadie Bathurst had a goal and an assist this week. He remains on the team’s top line as the Q goes into their winter transfer window.
- Acadie has added two big pieces this week in Felix LaFrance, the top point-producer in the Q, and Thomas Belgarde, who is also above a point-per-game, as they push for a playoff spot. They now have two of the top-10 scorers in the league and three of the top-10 in points-per-game.
- No points this week for Cam Whynot in Halifax. He’s still a top-pairing player for them.
- Lots of big news also coming out of Saint John. The team has added another top defenceman to their team in Vincent Sevigny. The 20-year-old left shot defenceman has 28 points this season, good for fourth in the league among defencemen.
- He sits just behind Poirier, who is in third, and who picked up two more assists this past week.
- Ryan Francis picked up three more assists this week as well. He continues to climb up the points leaderboard in the Q after spending the first part of the year in Stockton.
- Francis has had more off nights this season than usual. Some games he is one of the Sea Dogs’ best skaters, others he just isn’t effective.
- Yan Kuznetsov continues to make a name for himself in Saint John. The Russian blueliner added two more assists this week, putting him up to three points in four games. Expect that number to only grow.
- Almost everyone is on holidays in the NCAA now. Harvard has been off for a week now and Matthew Coronato is getting set to play for Team USA at the World Juniors. He will be the sole Flames’ prospect in the tournament after Yan Kuznetsov was not selected for Team Russia in an unprecedented decision.
- Only Demetrios Koumontzis and ASU were on the ice this week, as the team faced off against Colorado College. The Sun Devils picked up one win in the two game set and Koumontzis had one assist.
- Chechelev has very quickly earned the starting role in Kansas City. He played three more games this past week and picked up two wins. His numbers improved and he seems to be a big contributor to the team’s success.
- Is it better to see him face tons of competition on a weak team in the ECHL or to play far fewer games at the AHL? The objective answer from the outside (without knowing the impact on his mental game or future) is probably the former. He’s coming off a mixed-bag season last year with a great first half and a brutal second in Russia, but getting him accustomed to the North American game in an easier league like the ECHL is probably best for his development.
- Assuming this remains the case, it is probably worth taking his numbers with a grain (mountain) of salt. Chechelev is an incredibly young netminder who is coming over from another country and is playing behind a weaker KC side. It’s not worth writing him off until he gets some meaningful AHL starts, which likely does not happen until next season.
- On the bright side, it looks like Chechelev has made a new friend in KC:
- No games for either of the Flames’ Swedish prospects.
- The one note is Leksands had one game this week but no sign of Emil Heineman at this point. Looks like a day-to-day issue.
- Another week, another superstar performance for Arseni Sergeev, who continues to be the best netminder in the USHL. Sergeev played both halves of the team’s back-to-back against the Omaha Lancers, and picked up a shutout in the first game. The second game was a tough 4-3 loss, but likely to be expected from a goaltender who played the night before.
- That’s not to say he had a very bad game. Sergeev made some phenomenal stops in this one. Check out this longer highlight clip of the second frame of the second game:
- Ilya Nikolayev has been bumped down to the Storm’s second line, but did not let that stop him. He picked up a goal for the Storm this past week. Check it out at about the 1:30 mark of the above clip
- Big goal this week for Lucas Ciona who picked up the first goal as Seattle beat Dustin Wolf’s old team, the Everett Silvertips, 5–2. Check it out here:
- Cole Jordan is also making his presence known back in Moose Jaw as he picked up an assist this week. His presence is really being felt on the especially strong Warriors’ side, even if his numbers have not shown as much yet.
- Jack Beck continues to be out injured. This was initially expected to be a short-term day-to-day issue but has stretched out for weeks now. Little news has been forthcoming from the Ottawa 67’s.
- However, Rory Kerins continues to light the lamp for the Soo Greyhounds. He had another two points this week as the OHL goes into winter holiday mode. His goal was the OT winner against the Kitchener Rangers. Check it out here:
NHLe is a metric used to estimate a player’s offensive output at the NHL level from their point totals in their respective league. Here are the Flames current top-5 (bracketed numbers denote movement from the previous week)
- Adam Ruzicka (AHL) 49.0 (+2)
- Jakob Pelletier (AHL): 46.6 (Same)
- Glenn Gawdin (AHL): 45.4 (-2)
- Rory Kerins (OHL): 44.8 (+1)
- Matthew Phillips (AHL) 41.8 (-1)
Overall regular season totals for all Flames prospects
|Jack Beck||LW/RW||12||11||6||17||1.42||6||37.6||Ottawa 67’s||OHL|
|Lucas Ciona||LW||26||5||8||13||0.5||46||12.4||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL|
|Matthew Coronato||RW||11||6||6||12||1.1||2||25.0||Harvard Crimsons||NCAA|
|Walker Duehr||RW||15||4||2||6||0.4||6||15.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Mathias Emilio Pettersen||C/LW||20||1||5||6||0.3||4||12.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Lucas Feuk||C/W||10||1||1||2||0.2||0||N/A||Vasterviks IK||HockeyAllsvenskan|
|Ryan Francis||RW/C||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|RW/C||18||6||17||23||1.3||12||29.8||St John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Glenn Gawdin||C/RW||21||9||15||24||1.3||18||53.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Emil Heineman||LW/RW||27||8||4||12||0.4||16||21.5||Leksands IF||SHL|
|LW/RW||8||4||1||5||0.6||0||N/A||Leksands IF||Champions HL|
|Cole Huckins||C||24||11||11||22||0.9||41||21.4||Acadie Bathurst Titans||QMJHL|
|Rory Kerins||C/LW||26||14||30||44||1.7||10||44.8||Soo Greyhounds||OHL|
|Justin Kirkland||C/W||22||3||5||8||0.4||26||14.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Demetrios Koumontzis||LW||20||4||5||9||0.5||14||N/A||Arizona State Sun Devils||NCAA|
|Mitchell Mattson||C||10||1||1||2||0.2||2||5.5||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Ilya Nikolayev||C||21||6||13||19||0.9||25||19.9||Tri-City Storm||USHL|
|Josh Nodler||C/RW||18||4||7||11||0.6||4||16.7||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Jakob Pelletier||C/LW||23||10||17||27||1.2||6||46.6||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Matthew Phillips||C/RW||20||9||12||21||1.1||8||41.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Luke Philp||C/RW||23||7||7||14||0.6||10||24.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Martin Pospisil||C/W||15||4||6||10||0.7||29||28.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Adam Ruzicka||C||13||10||6||16||1.2||2||49.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|William Stromgren||LW||29||9||14||23||0.8||10||N/A||Rogle BK J20||J20 Nationell|
|LW||1||1||2||3||3.0||0||N/A||Rogle BK||Champions HL|
|Tuulola, Eetu||RW||18||5||2||7||0.3||17||17.5||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Connor Zary||C||15||4||4||8||0.5||6||21.1||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Dmitri Zavgorodny||W/C||6||0||0||0||0||2||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jake Boltmann||RHD||17||1||7||8||0.5||16||12.8||Notre Dame||NCAA|
|Cole Jordan||LHD||7||1||1||2||0.3||14||7.2||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL|
|Johannes Kinnvall||RHD||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Yan Kuznetsov||LHD||12||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|LHD||4||1||2||3||0.8||0||17.5||St John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Connor Mackey||LHD||23||3||11||14||0.6||22||24.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jeremie Poirier||LHD||30||9||23||31||1.1||20||24.9||St. John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Colton Poolman||LHD||20||0||4||4||0.2||10||8.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Ilya Solovyov||LHD||15||3||1||4||0.3||6||10.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Cameron Whynot||LHD||28||3||12||15||0.5||32||12.6||Halifax Mooseheads||QMJHL|
|Chechelev, Daniil||G||8||3.13||0.899||5-5-1||0||Kansas City Mavericks||ECHL|
|Tyler Parsons||G||0||0||0||0-0-0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Arseni Sergeev||G||18||1.62||0.933||14-3-0||4||Tri-City Storm||USHL|
|Dustin Wolf||G||16||1.84||0.940||14-0-2||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
Want to know more?
Still want to know more about the Flames prospects? Check out our interviews with a number of prospects down below:
Which prospects are you most excited about? Let us know below in the comments or on social media.