The Stockton Heat are absolutely buzzing. They hold a commanding 2–0 series lead over the Colorado Eagles, and have a chance to send them golfing for the summer with one more win on Friday night. The Flames have signed one of their prospects to an entry-level contract, and have one whose rights will lapse if not signed by the end of the month.
The three prospects in Saint John are busy preparing for the Memorial Cup, and only one prospect remains in the hunt for one of the three spots in the tournament. So much to cover 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.
Dustin Wolf had a historically good rookie season this year, and won numerous awards as a first-team all-star, AHL first-team all-rookie team nod, and the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award for being the AHL’s best goaltender. Oddly he somehow didn’t win the Rookie of the Year award in the AHL.
However through the playoffs he has been on another level. He has yet to lose a single game this playoffs as the Heat swept the Bakersfield Condors in three games and are now up 2–0 over the Colorado Eagles, an excellent team that had the Heat’s number over the course of the regular season.
In this series, Wolf has been far and away the Heat’s best player. He has yet to allow a single goal against in two games, stopping all 50 shots he has faced. The Eagles boast the fifth, seventh, and eleventh top scorers in the regular season in their lineup, so to put up two shutouts is enormous for Wolf. Especially since both shutouts were his first and second pro shutouts overall—he astonishingly went the full regular season without one.
It’s hard to ask for more from the 2019 seventh-round pick. He has taken to the AHL like a fish to water, and has been the team’s best player this season. The Flames likely do not rush his development but if the Flames face any injuries through the playoffs or into next season, Wolf will almost certainly be the first guy called up. It is so nice to have a goalie this good stashed in the AHL, but at some point they will have to see what they have in him at the next level. How the Flames navigate this will be a big storyline next season. For now, let’s enjoy the phenomenal run that the Heat are on and hope they can take home the Calder Cup for the first time since 2001.
This and that
Many Flames’ prospects are done for the year, and the eyes are open to where they will each play next year.
- The Heat have been absolutely rolling this week against the Colorado Eagles, getting much of their offensive production from Justin Kirkland. The forward leads the Heat with four goals and an assist through five playoff games.
- Jakob Pelletier, Emilio Pettersen, Glenn Gawdin, and Byron Froese, and Matthew Phillips all have four points to their name. This is rightfully the group of players who should be leading the Heat.
- On the flip side, Connor Zary and Juuso Valimaki have just one point each in the playoffs, and while Valimaki has gone up to Calgary for the last bit, these numbers are a bit troubling. Both likely need some time to work on their games this summer and start fresh next year.
- Great to see Rory Kerins in the lineup for the Heat. He has featured in two games, but is still without a point despite centring the top line between Pelletier and Phillips. He will be with the team starting his ELC next season.
- Other prospects with the Heat currently are Ilya Nikolayev, Jack Beck, and Daniil Chechelev although none have featured to this point.
- None of the Flames’ other eliminated prospects were invited to join the Heat, but that should not come as a surprise. The only ones who would have been in contention are the three in Saint John, but the Sea Dogs are preparing for the Memorial Cup.
- The Heat can clinch the series on Friday with a win at Colorado. The record for fewest goals allowed in a best-of-five playoff series is two, and with zero conceded so far, there’s a chance they could do it. This record was set in 1951 by the Pittsburgh Hornets who swept their best-of-five series against the Springfield Indians.
- In somewhat unsurprising news, the Flames signed Ilya Nikolayev to an entry-level deal which kicks in next season. He has joined the Heat for their playoff run but has not featured in a game as of yet.
- Nikolayev finished 11th in scoring in USHL scoring last season with Tri-City as an older player. Don’t expect his transition to the AHL to be quite as good, as the jump between those two leagues is enormous. However, if he can adapt his game to the AHL level, the Flames could have something in their 2019 third-round pick.
- Big news out of the Q! The Saint John Sea Dogs have relieved head coach Gordie Dwyer of his duties just a month before the Memorial Cup. This has not happened since 2000 when the Halifax Moosehead did it, but it is clear that the Sea Dogs did not like their chances in the Memorial Cup under Dwyer.
- He will be replaced in the interim by Gardiner MacDougall, the current head coach of the University of New Brunswick Reds, who has been in the role since 2000. He has won seven national championships in his tenure and has grown the program into one of the best in the country. Following the Memorial Cup, he will return to the Reds. For more on him, take a look at this article from the Station Nation here.
- Former Saint John Flame great Rocky Thompson will also join the coaching staff as an advisor. Thompson played 25 NHL games, but was a fan favourite in Saint John as an enforcer. He was most recently an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks until this season when he declined to return as he would not be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- The Flames have just a handful of days left to sign Ryan Francis before his rights expire. The former 2020 fifth-round pick impressed out of camp and was sent to Stockton on an ATO to start the year. After a slow start, he was returned to Saint John where he continued to be slow for a few weeks before being absolutely electric to end the year. He finished with 65 points in 54 games playing on the second line of a very deep Sea Dogs squad. This was good for third on the team in the regular season.
- He is a smaller guy and put up these numbers as a 20-year-old in the Q, but he has been a point-per-game guy over the last three years and clearly has a lot to his game. While it is close to the deadline to sign him, hopefully the Flames are able to make a deal happen.
- Cole Huckins and the Acadie Bathurst Titan dropped to the Charlottetown Islanders in straight games. The Islanders are undefeated so far in the playoffs, and are a favourite to reach the Memorial Cup. Huckins put up two goals and two assists in eight playoff games. He will almost certainly be back in the Q next season.
- Lucas Ciona and the Seattle Thunderbirds are in a tight battle against the Kamloops Blazers in the third round of the playoffs. They lost game three at home, but hope to rebound in game four tonight. Ciona has seven goals and three assists in 14 playoff games, good for eighth on his team.
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) 49.8 (Same)
- Rory Kerins (OHL): 46.6 (Same)
- Matthew Phillips(AHL): 41.8 (Same)
- Jakob Pelletier (AHL) 37.4 (Same)
- Glenn Gawdin (AHL): 32.3 (Same) (Tied)
- Jack Beck (OHL): 32.3 (Same) (Tied)
Overall regular season totals for Flames prospects
|Jack Beck||LW/RW||36||22||22||44||1.2||14||32.3||Ottawa 67’s||OHL|
|Lucas Ciona||LW||53||17||18||35||0.7||77||16.3||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL|
|Matthew Coronato||RW||34||18||18||36||1.1||14||24.3||Harvard Crimsons||NCAA|
|Walker Duehr||RW||59||11||12||23||0.4||28||15.5||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Mathias Emilio Pettersen||C/LW||59||13||13||26||0.4||20||17.5||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||54||25||40||65||1.1||34||27.9||St John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Glenn Gawdin||C/RW||62||15||35||50||0.8||75||32.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Cole Huckins||C||41||12||14||26||0.6||61||14.6||Acadie Bathurst Titans||QMJHL|
|Rory Kerins||C/LW||67||43||75||118||1.8||49||46.6||Soo Greyhounds||OHL|
|Justin Kirkland||C/W||65||25||22||47||0.7||75||29.1||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||58||23||49||72||1.2||83||27.5||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||66||27||35||62||1.0||22||37.4||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Matthew Phillips||C/RW||65||31||37||68||1.1||16||41.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Luke Philp||C/RW||66||21||23||44||0.7||16||26.7||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Martin Pospisil||C/W||47||7||18||25||0.5||95||21.1||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Adam Ruzicka||C||16||11||9||20||1.3||2||49.8||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|William Stromgren||LW||44||13||23||36||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||61||14||11||25||0.4||50||16.3||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Connor Zary||C||53||13||12||25||0.5||36||18.7||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Dmitri Zavgorodniy||W/C||12||0||1||1||0.1||4||3.2||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jake Boltmann||RHD||40||1||12||13||0.3||28||9.0||Notre Dame||NCAA|
|Cole Jordan||LHD||36||2||9||11||0.3||40||7.7||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL|
|Johannes Kinnvall||RHD||19||0||8||8||0.4||8||16.7||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Yan Kuznetsov||LHD||12||0||0||0||0||0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|LHD||25||2||11||13||0.5||14||12.1||St John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Connor Mackey||LHD||53||5||31||36||0.7||83||27.1||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jeremie Poirier||LHD||67||16||41||57||0.9||38||19.8||St. John Sea Dogs||QMJHL|
|Colton Poolman||LHD||62||0||13||13||0.2||16||8.4||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Ilya Solovyov||LHD||51||3||5||8||0.2||22||6.4||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Cameron Whynot||LHD||45||4||13||17||0.4||48||8.8||Halifax Mooseheads||QMJHL|
|Daniil Chechelev||G||30||3.64||0.880||12-12-5||1||Kansas City Mavericks||ECHL|
|Tyler Parsons||G||0||0||0||0-0-0||0||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Arseni Sergeev||G||41||2.08||0.918||30-6-2||6||Tri-City Storm||USHL|
|Dustin Wolf||G||47||2.35||0.924||34-8-5||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.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire