What an unbelievable week for the Calgary Flames’ prospects. Nine prospects had at least four points this week: Rory Kerins continues his unbelievable season, and put up another six points this week; Jakob Pelletier is challenging for the Heat’s scoring lead and had seven more points this week, including a hat trick; and we also have a brand new Standout Performer who put up nine points in Ilya Nikolayev. So much to get excited about, 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:
Ilya Nikolayev – Tri-City Storm (USHL)
The Flames had so many players put up huge weeks, but Nikolayev was ahead of the pack. He put up a massive four goals this week, including a hat trick, and added five more assists to help the Storm to two more wins and to clinch a playoff berth. Unfortunately, the Storm don’t cut individual clip of goals, but two of his goals are in this clip here:
Nikolayev’s development has been really interesting. Initially drafted in the third round of the 2019 NHL Draft, he spent his first two seasons bouncing between the MHL (Russian junior hockey) and the VHL (Russia’s AHL equivalent), with great success in the former and less good numbers in the latter.
He surprised many by jumping to North America this year after a very brief spell in Belarus, but without enough track record and being both an over-ager and an import, there was no spot for him in the CHL. The USHL was a good landing spot for him, and he has flourished while being one of the older players in the league. Contrary to popular belief, he is not too old for the league; nearly twenty percent of the players in the USHL are 20 years old currently.
Currently boasting over a point-per-game, Nikolayev is showing no signs of slowing down. He continues to put points on the board while playing on the team’s top line. While he does have a good number of secondary assists—three of his five were secondary this week—his number of goals and overall performance more than makeup for it.
As good as he has been, the looming question is what happens next for him? Sure he has been great in the USHL, but how well does that translate to the AHL or even the NHL? He has not signed a National Letter of Intent to join the NCAA, and at 20 years old, it seems unlikely he goes that route.
For the contract-conscious Flames who will have a few players pushing for entry-level contracts this summer, it probably makes the most sense to sign Nikolayev to an AHL deal this year. Having been drafted out of Russia, the Flames hold his rights in perpetuity, which gives them no rush to sign him.
Nikolayev has found success in North America and seems likely to want to be here. If he continues to grow his skills at the AHL level next year, the Flames could sign him to a two-way deal from there but can take the contract and cap flexibility and use it to sign a prospect like Matthew Coronato now instead.
It remains to be seen what they do with Nikolayev next, but his production has been quite good to this point. The Flames have had very poor luck with their third-round selections historically, but both he and Jeremie Poirier look to try and break that trend. In any event, it is always good to celebrate prospects who have success regardless of level.
This and that
- Not to be outdone, Arseni Sergeev played and won his one game this weekend. He thankfully got the second game off of the weekend, which Tri-City won anyway.
- Now that they have clinched, expect Sergeev to be called on less often until the playoffs. He is far and away their starting netminder, but the Storm have little to prove for now in the league.
- It was another big week for last week’s Standout Performer Ryan Francis. The 2020 fifth-round pick picked up a goal and three assists this week. The goal was particularly big—take a look at it here:
- He has continued to grow his game this year as an over-ager, and while he isn’t inside the top 10 in QMJHL scoring, his game has taken a big step forward particularly of late.
- Speaking of players taking a step forward, Cam Whynot has continued to grow this season. He picked up the game winner in overtime against the division-leading Charlottetown Islanders on a beautiful breakway. Take a look here:
- Cole Huckins continues to be out of the lineup for the Acadie Bathurst Titan for reasons which are murky. It appears to be him being sent away from the team as opposed to an injury. Big yikes!
- One assist for Jeremie Poirier who is now just under a point-per-game. Yan Kuznetsov has been out of the lineup the last few games, so Poirier has taken on a new partner who is less defensively reliable.
- It was a huge week for Matthew Coronato who picked up two goals and two assists as Harvard beat RPI in the ECAC’s quarterfinals.
- Coronato picked up one empty-netter goal in the final game against RPI, but he also picked up the game-tying goal in the first game with just seconds left. That goal sent the game to overtime and Harvard ended up winning that game. Take a look here:
- Harvard will now play Clarkson in the semis this weekend. Clarkson has beat Harvard twice this season, but Coronato recorded an assist in both games.
- Both Josh Nodler and Mitchell Mattson saw their seasons come to an end last weekend. This is likely the last season for Mattson, and Michigan State put out a nice post to recognize him:
- Jake Boltmann saw his league season also come to the end. Just like Michigan State, Notre Dame was beaten in the semis by Michigan. They may still earn a berth in the Frozen Four, and sit ninth in most rankings.
- Demetrios Koumontzis will be returning to ASU for a fifth year. He has had a bunch of bad injury luck, missing time in multiple seasons of his development. He may still not earn an ELC by the time his rights expire at the end of next season, but hey, worth a shot!
- A quieter week for Jack Beck this week, who recorded just one assist for Ottawa. The Barber Poles are a lower-tier team, and sit seventh in OHL standings. Beck has been one of the big bright spots when he has been in the lineup, and has quietly been one of the Flames’ best prospects.
- Unsurprisingly, Rory Kerins had yet another huge week. He had two goals and four assists this week to push his point total up to 96 points. Like Coronato, one of his goals was an empty-netter, but the other was a beautiful one from right in front of the net. Take a look:
- He sits third in the OHL in scoring, and just two points off the lead. For those keeping score at home, fellow sixth-round pick Andrew Mangiapane put up 106 points in his 19-year-old season for the Barrie Colts.
- Kerins is unlikely to break the Greyhounds’ all-time record of 166 points in a season, but he could push for Joe Thornton‘s number of 122 points. Thornton holds the Greyhound’s point total record since 1990.
- The Greyhounds sit third in their division right now.
- Stockton played four games this week, and managed to win all four! Dustin Wolf was in net for three of the four, but unfortunately was unable to pick up his first shutout. He is now the top netminder in the AHL.
- The Flames are going to reach a point where Wolf is going to demand an NHL look, but with two very good netminders in the NHL, there may not be a spot as of yet. This may require some movement in the Flames’ crease to create space for Wolf, and may require Vladar finding new pastures. How this works is going to be interesting to watch.
- The Heat’s offence was powered by Jakob Pelletier, who had a hat trick, three more goals, and one assist to power the four big wins.
- The rest of the top group of Glenn Gawdin and Matthew Phillips combined for one goal and three assists, which is fine but nothing to really write home about. Phillips is 11th in AHL scoring, while Pelletier is 14th, while also being second in rookie scoring.
- The Heat got a ton of scoring from their depth this week. Eetu Tuulola and Mathias Emilio Pettersen each picked up three goals and an assist, while Walker Duehr scored two of his own. Justin Kirkland and Connor Mackey each added four helpers and Connor Zary added two helpers as well.
- Bit of an odd grouping here: Pettersen is a scorer by nature, so very good to see him coming alive. Tuulola is a bit of a hard one to figure out, but he has been on a tear of late. Kirkland is an under-the-radar pick for a call-up if he continues to pile points on the board. He plays a very physical brand of hockey, which may fit well with the Flames.
- Great to see Mackey earn himself a call-up this week. While he did not get into games, it was a pretty good indication that the Flames like him a lot. He has probably passed Juuso Valimaki in the Flames’ defencemen depth chart.
- Stick taps to Johannes Kinnvall for another assist this week. He has been in and out of the lineup with injuries, but when he’s on the ice, he just keeps getting points.
- This has not been an exceptional season for Ilya Solovyov, who has just six points this season. He featured in two games this week, but did not record any points. He still has a little bit of runway, but will really need to take a step forward next season.
- Finally, the Heat are just inches away from clinching a playoff spot. They could clinch as early as tonight, but will almost certainly see their first postseason since the 2016–17 season. The only current Heat player who was on the roster that year was Phillips. He played one regular season game and two playoff games, and recorded one assist in his debut.
- The Heat will want their players to get a good playoff run in this year to give their players some playoff experience at the pro level. Most of their players have been part of teams that have made deep runs in their respective leagues, but the pro game is a whole different beast.
- No points this week for William Stromgren, but he did get into another SHL game this week.
- One goal and one assist for Lucas Feuk in the HockeyEttan. Great to see hime putting points on the board even if it is a pretty marginal league.
- Daniil Chechelev played in two games and went 1-0-1. His numbers took a slight turn upwards after a 47 save win last night over Tulsa.
- He won the game belt from his teammates for that win:
- But he clearly had a long night:
- While he doesn’t play forward, Chechelev has a great set of hands, and spent some time practicing his Zegras-passing earlier this week. Check it out:
- Lucas Ciona played just one game this week, but went off after the first period went off injured. The Thunderbirds clinched a playoff berth this week as well.
- Cole Jordan picked up another assist this week. Do not—and I repeat—do not write off Jordan yet. He has had a very rough season with poor illness and injury luck. This season is effectively a write-off for him, but expect him to come back with a ton to prove next season.
- The Moose Jaw Warriors are also playoff bound this year.
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 (Same)
- Matthew Phillips(AHL): 45.4 (Same)
- Rory Kerins (OHL): 44.8 (Same)
- Glenn Gawdin (AHL): 37.9 (Same)
- Jakob Pelletier (AHL) 37.1 (Same)
Overall regular season totals for all Flames prospects
|Jack Beck||LW/RW||24||16||14||30||1.3||10||33.1||Ottawa 67’s||OHL|
|Lucas Ciona||LW||49||17||15||32||0.7||77||16.1||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL|
|Matthew Coronato||RW||31||15||14||29||0.9||14||21.6||Harvard Crimsons||NCAA|
|Walker Duehr||RW||41||8||10||18||0.4||20||17.5||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Mathias Emilio Pettersen||C/LW||42||8||10||18||0.4||10||17.1||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||33||10||27||37||1.1||24||26.1||St John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Glenn Gawdin||C/RW||46||12||30||42||0.9||63||36.2||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Cole Huckins||C||28||12||13||25||0.9||51||20.7||Acadie Bathurst Titans||QMJHL|
|Rory Kerins||C/LW||55||35||59||94||1.7||28||45.3||Soo Greyhounds||OHL|
|Justin Kirkland||C/W||47||14||17||31||0.7||53||26.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Demetrios Koumontzis||LW||23||4||7||11||0.5||18||N/A||Arizona State Sun Devils||NCAA|
|Mitchell Mattson||C||23||1||2||3||0.1||16||3.5||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Ilya Nikolayev||C||43||17||36||53||1.2||53||27.2||Tri-City Storm||USHL|
|Josh Nodler||C/RW||36||7||8||15||0.4||4||11.5||Michigan State Spartans||NCAA|
|Jakob Pelletier||C/LW||48||22||26||48||1.0||18||39.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Matthew Phillips||C/RW||46||21||29||50||1.1||12||43.4||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Luke Philp||C/RW||47||18||13||31||0.7||10||26.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Martin Pospisil||C/W||30||6||9||15||0.5||55||19.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Adam Ruzicka||C||13||10||6||16||1.2||2||49.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|William Stromgren||LW||43||13||22||35||0.8||18||N/A||Rogle BK J20||J20 Nationell|
|LW||1||1||2||3||3.0||0||N/A||Rogle BK||Champions HL|
|Eetu Tuulola||RW||42||11||7||18||0.4||40||17.1||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Connor Zary||C||37||5||11||16||0.4||24||17.1||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Dmitri Zavgorodniy||W/C||8||0||1||1||0.1||4||5.2||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jake Boltmann||RHD||38||1||12||13||0.4||28||9.6||Notre Dame||NCAA|
|Cole Jordan||LHD||25||1||5||6||0.2||30||5.9||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL|
|Johannes Kinnvall||RHD||12||0||7||7||0.6||0||23.1||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Yan Kuznetsov||LHD||12||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|LHD||19||2||6||8||0.4||8||10.2||St John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Connor Mackey||LHD||47||5||26||31||0.6||66||24.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jeremie Poirier||LHD||47||11||33||44||0.9||28||22.8||St. John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Colton Poolman||LHD||43||0||7||7||0.2||16||6.4||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Ilya Solovyov||LHD||39||3||3||6||0.2||14||6.0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Cameron Whynot||LHD||38||4||13||17||0.5||38||10.7||Halifax Mooseheads||QMJHL|
|Daniil Chechelev||G||26||3.55||0.897||12-10-4||1||Kansas City Mavericks||ECHL|
|Michael McNiven||G||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Tyler Parsons||G||0||0||0||0-0-0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Arseni Sergeev||G||31||1.78||0.927||25-4-1||6||Tri-City Storm||USHL|
|Dustin Wolf||G||33||2.30||0.925||26-4-3||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.