The 2022-23 season is just weeks away from starting in Calgary, and the team will look very different from years past. However, the season has already begun for a number of the Flames’ prospects, with game action already underway in Sweden. Prospects in the NCAA are getting ready to get started as well as the new school season has started as well. It will still be a few weeks for prospects in the CHL to start the regular season, but preseason action is well underway. Needless to say, there is a lot to watch for this season.
Here is where each of the Flames’ prospects will be starting this season.
Outside of the AHL, the majority of the Flames’ prospects will be in the NCAA.
Matthew Coronato: Harvard University
Matthew Coronato will be going into his second, and likely final, season with the Harvard Crimson of the NCAA. Coronato was a point-per-game player last season, but will be looking to absolutely tear up the league before hopefully joining the Flames at the tail end of this season.
Demetrios Koumontzis: Arizona State University
Going into his fifth and final season, Demetrios Koumontzis‘ goal will be to stay healthy and re-gain his form from his earlier years. Injuries have really taken a toll on the ASU forward, but he has a ton of potential if he can get there.
Josh Nodler: UMass Amherst
Probably the most intriguing Flames prospect in the NCAA, Josh Nodler spent the last few years at Michigan State on the first line of an awful team. He’s a really strong two-way guy but needs to play with higher quality teammates at a better school for the Flames to really get a sense of what he can be. This is a make-it-or-break-it year.
Jake Boltmann: University of Notre Dame
Jake Boltmann will be going into his sophomore season despite this being his third (technically second and a half) season with UND. Boltmann is a good well-rounded blueliner who plays a very heavy defensive game, but will need to work on adding more on offence this season.
Arseni Sergeev: University of Connecticut
After a Cinderella season in the USHL last season, Arseni Sergeev will be looking to continue his form at UConn with the Huskies (Go Ice Bus!). As a rookie, he likely won’t get the same number of games as he did last season with Tri-City, but if he can perform well in his limited starts at the beginning of the season, there is nothing to say he can’t steal the net in Hartford.
Cole Huckins: Sherbrooke Phoenix
Cole Huckins had a very rough season last year, with time spent away from the team for unknown reasons. He started off strong, but clearly needed a change of scenery this year, which he got with a trade to Sherbrooke.
Offensive talent has never been an issue for Huckins, but finding a clear role and being able to perform this season consistently will be the key this season.
Cameron Whynot: Halifax Mooseheads
Cameron Whynot was very fine last season for the Mooseheads. He had decent numbers and was good defensively for the team, but was unable to separate himself from the pack. It will take a very good year from the defenceman to earn a look at the next level at this point.
Jack Beck: Ottawa 67’s
When Jack Beck was healthy last season, he was among the best players in the OHL, but he faced a significant injury which kept him out of the lineup for months. This is expected to be a huge year for him, and there is no doubt he will do everything he can to earn a contract with the Flames next year.
Parker Bell: Tri-City Americans
A bit of a project, the 6’4″ power forward finished second on his team in points last season, but will be looking to really make a dent this year. The Flames expect Parker Bell to develop a strong training regiment this season and grow both on the ice and off it. Let’s see how he does.
Lucas Ciona: Seattle Thunderbirds
Lucas Ciona is a prototypical power forward who can really make a dent in front of the net. He went through phases of being quite good last season then would get into a slump for multiple games. This season consistency will be key. With two goals in the Thunderbirds’ first preseason game, things are off to a good start.
Cole Jordan: Moose Jaw Warriors
Like Beck, Cole Jordan faced a significant injury last season which kept him out of the lineup for much of the year, but should be in a position to really make an impact for the Warriors this year. An exceptional passer and seemingly a better teammate, sky’s the limit for Jordan.
Cade Littler: Wenatchee Wild
One of the youngest players in his draft class, the 2022 seventh-rounder will spend this year in the BCHL before joining the University of Minnesota-Mankato next year. He had 45 points in 50 games in his one season in the league last year, and finished second on his team. Cade Littler will be hoping to beat the point-per-game mark this season before jumping up to the NCAA.
Topi Ronni: Tappara
A strong two-way forward, Topi Ronni was a tweener last season splitting time between the U20 team and the Liiga team for Tappara. This season, the goal will be to really excel at the Liiga level in order to make the jump up to North America the following year. Offence is going to be imperative for him if he wants to do so.
William Stromgren: Rogle BK
William Stromgren spent nearly the whole season with Rogle’s J20 side, putting up 36 points in 44 games. While he did appear in a handful of games for the SHL side, it was almost always as a depth player or 13th forward playing minimal minutes. The goal will be to entrench himself in the big club this season and really show that he can play among men this year.
Like with almost every team almost every year, the majority of the Flames’ prospects will be in the AHL. This year they’ll collectively debut as the newly-relocated Calgary Wranglers. Here is how they break down:
New drafted prospects
There will be a number of players graduating from other leagues joining the Wranglers. This list includes forwards Ilya Nikolayev, Rory Kerins, and Adam Klapka, as well as Memorial Cup winning defencemen Yan Kuznetsov and Jeremie Poirier. Lucas Feuk is also joining the team from Sweden, but could be in Calgary or the ECHL depending on his performance.
The Wranglers will also have forwards Clark Bishop, Ben Jones, and Cole Schwindt joining the side. All three will be hoping for a job with the Flames.
There will be a ton of returning faces to the AHL side this season, with many hoping to make the jump to the NHL this year. Chief among them are Matthew Phillips, Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, Adam Ruzicka, Walker Duehr, Martin Pospisil, and Mathias Emilio Pettersen.
On the back end, the Wranglers will likely have Connor Mackey, Colton Poolman and Ilya Solovyov returning to the team, although there is a chance Mackey makes the jump to the big leagues this season.
In net, Dustin Wolf will be the Wranglers’ starter with Daniil Chechelev fighting to stay out of the ECHL and earn the backup role for the team.
Hockey is back
There will be no shortage of storylines this season for the Flames’ prospects. From Coronato looking to close out his college career with a championship or Stromgren hoping to steal the show in the SHL, there is a ton to watch for with this team’s young stars.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire