There have been a number of strong performances this season from the Calgary Flames’ prospects, but few saw Rory Kerins emerging as one of the team’s top talents. The 2020 sixth-round selection from the Soo Greyhounds currently sits second in the OHL in points with 22 goals and 36 assists through 34 games.
This is good for a 1.71 points-per-game in one of the top development leagues in the world as a 19-year-old. This mark is nothing to sneeze at. Over the last ten years, only 16 19-year-old players have finished at that mark, and among those drafted more than a couple of seasons back, nearly all have become impact NHLers. Let’s break it down
Prospects passing the threshold
Here is the full list of skaters in their 19-year-old skaters to reach the 1.70 point-per-game mark since the 2011–12 season in the OHL:
|Year||Player||Points Per Game||Draft position|
|2021–22||Wyatt Johnston||1.94||1st round (23rd overall)|
|2021–22||Luke Evangelista||1.88||2nd round (42nd overall)|
|2019–20||Jan Jenik||2.01||3rd round (65th overall)|
|2019–20||Akil Thomas||1.71||2nd round (51st overall)|
|2018–19||Jason Robertson||1.89||2nd round (39th overall)|
|2018–19||Morgan Frost||1.88||1st round (27th overall)|
|2017–18||Jordan Kyrou||1.95||2nd round (35th overall)|
|2016–17||Dylan Strome||2.14||1st round (3rd overall)|
|2016–17||Alex DeBrincat||2.02||2nd round (39th overall)|
|2015–16||Christian Dvorak||2.01||2nd round (58th overall)|
|2015–16||Andrew Mangiapane||1.80||6th round (166th overall)|
|2014–15||Max Domi||1.79||1st round (12th overall)|
|2013–14||Connor Brown||1.88||6th round (156th overall)|
|2012–13||Ryan Strome||1.77||1st round (5th overall)|
|2012–13||Mark Scheifele||1.76||1st round (7th overall)|
|2012–13||Vincent Trocheck||1.73||3rd round (64th overall)|
|2011–12||Brandon Saad||1.73||2nd round (43rd overall)|
Discounting the top three names from the last OHL season (as they are still developing), it is clear the company that Kerins has put himself in. Every name on this list has not only developed into an NHLer, but also into an impact player on their team (aside from an injury-plagued Morgan Frost). Almost every one of them has been a top-six player in their career, and two on this list are above a point-per-game in the NHL this season.
Kerins is clearly putting himself in a special group. Most of these players were high pedigree picks drafted early in their respective years. The one exception is fellow Flame Andrew Mangiapane, who was drafted just eight spots earlier in 2015–16. He probably provides the closest comparable as a smaller player.
Drafted as an over-ager, Mangiapane put up 104 points in 68 games in his 19-year-old season for Barrie. He then played his overage season in the OHL, putting up 106 points in 59 games, good for seventh in the league and one point behind Matthew Tkachuk that season.
From there, he spent the next full season in the AHL, ending the year with 41 points in 66 games, good for fourth on the team. He then bounced between the AHL and NHL over the next two seasons before becoming a regular NHLer in 2019–20, and a very good one at that.
What is next for Kerins
Now the OHL season is not yet over, but Kerins has hovered around this mark for the better part of the season. He has constantly been among the Flames’ best prospects in terms of NHLe, a metric to determine how a prospect’s numbers in their league would translate to the NHL. He has been above Matthew Coronato, Jakob Pelletier, and Matthew Phillips almost every single week this season.
Is there a chance that these numbers plummet as the season wraps up? Of course, but he has been a very consistent player for the Greyhounds this season. He was held off from scoring in only eleven games this year, and only twice has he not put up a point in back-to-back games. Kerins sits second on the OHL in points, and fifth in points-per-game as well among all players who have played at least ten games. Among the four above him, two are listed in the above table and two are in their 20-year-old season.
Kerins is far outpacing nearly every drafted prospect in the OHL this season, including numerous highly touted draft picks including Brennan Othmann, Sasha Pastujov, Francesco Pinelli, Oskar Olausson, and more.
While he is definitely not ready for an NHL job next season, it looks like the Flames have an incredible player in Kerins. He has continued to dazzle as a scorer and playmaker for the Soo Greyhounds so far this season, and at this rate his stock among the Calgary Flames prospects will continue to ascend right to the top.