Cole Schwindt is the newest prospect to join the Calgary Flames after being acquired as a part of one of the biggest trades in the NHL in recent years. Schwindt has been a player the Flames have kept tabs on and now they finally have him in their prospect pool.
The Flames had their eyes on Schwindt
On the evening of July 22, 2022, the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers took the hockey world by storm with an absolutely massive blockbuster trade enacting the league’s first ever sign-and-trade involving Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk became the newest member of the Florida Panthers, packaged alongside a conditional 2025 fourth-round pick. The Flames acquired all-star Jonathan Huberdeau (who was fifth in Hart voting this past season), top pairing defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a conditional 2025 first-round pick. An amazing haul.
The trade was a massive switch between the two teams if we just look at the NHL players involved, but getting Schwindt into the Flames’ system was just the cherry on top.
The best part? Cole didn’t even know of the news surrounding the blockbuster deal until the next morning. On Monday’s segment with Flames TV’s Brendan Parker, he stated “I was up hanging out with one of my buddies in Sault Ste. Marie and there’s one weekend of every summer that I have no service, we were hanging out at his cottage and that happened to be this weekend.”
He then followed up with “I guess the trade went through Friday night and I got there Friday morning so when I woke up Saturday morning, the generator turned on and the booster kinda kicked in and a text message came through from my uncle saying what do you think about the trade. I was kinda like ‘what’s going on here?’
“We ended up taking a boat back into town, once I was back on service I found out the news and got to call everyone and got a very warm welcome from everyone from the organization.”
Cole Schwindt’s progression
Cole Schwindt is a dynamic two-way right-shot centre who has no problem playing on the wing. The 21-year-old hails from Breslau, Ontario and was the Panthers’ 81st overall selection (third-round pick) in the 2019 NHL Draft. Cole really broke out at the pro level this past season dressing in 72 games for the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League, along with three games up with the Florida Panthers.
Although failing to register a point in his brief three-game NHL stint, he notched 19 goals and 21 assists for 40 points, tied for second in team scoring down in Charlotte. Schwindt’s 40 point season this past year was ranked seventh among 20-year-old rookie forwards behind five first-rounders (including Jakob Pelletier) and one second-rounder.
Schwindt isn’t the flashiest of players but he’s excellent on both ends of the ice and he carries alongside him a physical brand of hockey. He sees the ice extremely well and has an ability to slow the game down through virtue of his patience and overall hockey IQ.
In the offensive zone, Schwindt is always in on the forecheck and in the defensive zone, he rarely loses puck battles along the wall. He’s a smart penalty killer and sets himself up well positionally with knowing how to take away passing lanes and utilizing his long reach into an active stick. His overall ability to read and anticipate a play is excellent and as a result he succeeds with the ability to create turnovers in his favour.
The areas of his game he continues to work on, involve improving his overall skating ability and scoring consistency.
Schwindt is ultimately the definition of a hard worker who gets the job well done, he’s certainly bolstered the Flames prospect pipeline and has nonetheless added a layer of depth to the centre position organizationally.
SN scout Jason Bukala lists Schwindt’s character as someone who “bleeds character,” he calls him “outstanding in the faceoff circle” and a “3C on the horizon.”
The Flames found a solid prospect in Schwindt
Also taken from Cole’s segment Monday morning on Flames TV: “I tried to take everything I learned, be a sponge and be that player that will do everything that the coach asks for. I’m focused on putting my right foot forward and kinda try to make a name for myself.”
“I’m going to focus on earning my spot and break into the NHL. I feel very confident that the place I want to be is Calgary. As a player, it’s always good to hear good things about yourself, it gives you a boost. I’m just going to be the same player I was before the trade and try to better myself this summer.”
All in all, Cole Schwindt is a very solid addition to the Flames’ prospect pool and another big season in the AHL would certainly bolster his overall organizational trajectory and get an even better understanding about his potential fit down the line.
Photo from TheAHL.com.