What a huge start to the season for a number of the Flames’ prospects. Lucas Ciona is on an absolute tear in the WHL and is among the league leaders in points. Matthew Phillips is above a point-per-game this season, and at some point deserves a call-up to the NHL. And while the Wranglers have struggled, Connor Zary has shown he has a lot more to show in his game than he did last season. So much to talk about, let’s dive right 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.
Lucas Ciona – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
What a monster start to the season for Lucas Ciona. The 2021 sixth-round pick has 15 points in just seven games for the Seattle Thunderbirds, and has been playing out of his absolute mind this season. Six of those points came in one game, check out the highlights here:
Drafted late in the 2021 NHL Draft, Ciona was expected to be a good power forward at the junior hockey level, but someone who would struggle to take the next step in his development simply because the tools were not necessarily all there. And while that may end up still being the case, he is clearly showing that he has another gear that other prospects that look like him just don’t have.
What I really like about his game is his tenacity to create turnovers in the offensive zone and his ability to work his way to high danger areas of the ice in order to score. He has gone from using his size to end up in the penalty box last season to using his size to score a ton of goals this season.
Ciona has played primarily on Seattle’s top line this season, which is a testament to the value that he brings to the very deep Thunderbirds squad. And while he’s definitely benefiting from playing with some very good players, he definitely adds a ton of value himself.
I’m not completely sold on him being an NHLer down the road, but having him put up the numbers that he is to this point show that there is a lot more promise in him than perhaps expected after last season. This final clip of him scoring a goal off an assist from Tij Iginla is exactly what we want to see happen in Calgary in a few years. Fingers crossed.
Flames prospect happenings
- It has not been the start the Calgary Wranglers would have wanted to the season. After making it to the second-last round of the playoffs last year, the Wranglers have started off very slowly, putting up a 1–3–0 record. Yikes!
- The good news is that Matthew Phillips has been very good to start the season, putting up five points in his first four games. Take a look at one of his goals here:
- The other player who has been very good has been Connor Zary. After a very rough year last year, the 2020 first-round pick has two goals and one assist this season. Take a look at both of his goals here:
- No points for Jakob Pelletier to start the year. He struggled at training camp for the Flames, and will need to show he can put the points on the board if he wants to earn a call-up this season.
- Jeremie Poirier has two points in four games for the Wranglers so far, including being the first ever goal scorer for the team. Absolutely love to see it after he had a fantastic camp with the Flames.
- The slow start for the Wranglers has had a huge impact on Dustin Wolf’s numbers. He rocking a 0.890 save percentage, but that’s more of a testament to the struggles of the team in front of him than his own abilities.
- Captain Cade Littler has gotten off to a hot start for the Wenatchee Wild in the BCHL. The 18-year-old is a point-per-game player to this point, and is showing a ton of promise.
- This is a good year to watch him grow his confidence before going to the NCAA next year, where he is expected to join the Minnesota State Mankato program where Connor Mackey and Walker Duehr both played.
- The Wranglers are a very deep team this year, and the numbers game meant that a couple of prospects were likely to end up in Rapid City with the Rush this season. Sadly, it was Rory Kerins, Ilya NIkolayev, and Daniil Chechelev who were sent down.
- Thankfully, Kerins seems determined to show he deserves better than the ECHL, and has three points in his first two games with the Rush. Take a look at one of his goals here:
- No points to this point for Nikolayev.
- Chechelev has also looked quite decent for the Rush. It’s a small sample size of two games, but he has a 0.912 save percentage so far this season. With the way the Wranglers’ season is going, there may be an opening for him in Calgary if he continues to perform, however giving him game time is the priority right now.
- Jack Beck once again is on an absolute tear to start a season. He’s a point-per-game player this season with the Ottawa 67’s, and is picking up assists left and right to start the year. He’s been playing almost exclusively on the team’s top line.
- Cole Huckins seems to have finally found a role in the QMJHL. After a very turmultuous season with Acadie Bathurst last year, the winger has moved over to Sherbrooke and has been reliable on the team’s second line. He has six points in 10 games so far.
- Cam Whynot has been mostly a top pairing guy for the Halifax Mooseheads this season. Five assists in eight games isn’t bad at all to start the year.
- What a start for defenceman Cole Jordan, who has four points in eight games so far this season for the Warriors. Take a look at both of his goals:
- After a really tough year last year that was shortened by illness, Jordan is back and showing that he is much better than many expected of him. He’s taken a huge step forward on the ice, and is playing almost exclusively on the top pairing of the very good Warriors’ side.
- Parker Bell is also off to a hot start with eight points in eight games for the Tri-City Americans. Take a look at two of his goals from right in front of the net in this highlight pack:
- Demetrios Koumontzis has been off to a hot start for the Arizona State University Sun Devil program. He has four points in eight games after a really slow season last season. He will need to do more to show he deserves a contract from the Flames this season.
- Matthew Coronato’s season has yet to start for Harvard, although he did have a couple points in a 9–0 exhibition win over Guelph last week. Unfortunately those points don’t count.
- Jake Boltmann has been playing primarily top pairing for Notre Dame to start the season. While the sophomore only has one point, to see him playing a big role for the team is a good sign that those points will just start to come.
- Josh Nodler is off to a very good start for UMass this season, with three points in five games so far this season. After leaving Michigan State last year, Nodler has found his way to a much better team on the east coast, and has been centring the team’s top line.
- What a start for Arseni Sergeev at UConn. The reigning top goalie in the USHL has a 0.929 save percentage through four games for UConn this season (Go Ice Bus). The team has four goalies, but Sergeev is starting to steal the crease already this season.
- William Stromgren has found his way into being a regular SHL player for Brynas this season. He has mostly appeared on the bottom line of the big club, but hey, that’s better than being the 13th forward or being not in the league at all. In minimal icetime, he has one assist so far this season.
- Topi Ronni started with a bang for Tappara’s U20 team, but has come down with an injury that has kept him out of the lineup. Hopefully he’s back soon.
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)
- Lucas Ciona: 53.0
- Matthew Phillips: 49.8
- Jack Beck: 35.2
- Connor Zary: 29.9 (Tied)
- Walker Duehr: 29.9 (Tied)
Overall regular season totals for Flames prospects
|Jack Beck||LW/RW||9||1||11||12||1.33||4||35.2||Ottawa 67’s||OHL|
|Parker Bell||LW||8||4||4||8||1.00||14||24.8||Tri-City Americans||WHL|
|Lucas Ciona||LW||7||6||9||15||2.14||3||53.0||Seattle Thunderbirds||WHL|
|Matthew Coronato||RW||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||Harvard Crimsons||NCAA|
|Walker Duehr||RW||4||2||1||3||0.75||2||29.9||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Mathias Emilio Pettersen||C/LW||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Lucas Feuk||C/W||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||Rapid City Rush||ECHL|
|Cole Huckins||C||10||2||4||6||0.6||10||14.0||Sherbrooke Phoenix||QMJHL|
|Ben Jones||C||4||0||2||2||0.5||2||19.9||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Rory Kerins||C/LW||2||2||1||3||1.33||0||N/A||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Adam Klapka||RW||3||1||0||1||0.33||2||13.2||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Demetrios Koumontzis||LW||8||3||1||4||0.50||6||14.5||Arizona State Sun Devils||NCAA|
|Cade Littler||C||10||5||5||10||1.00||2||10.7||Wenatchee Wild||BCHL|
|Ilya Nikolayev||C||2||0||0||0||0||0||N/A||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Jakob Pelletier||C/LW||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Matthew Phillips||C/RW||4||3||2||5||1.25||2||49.8||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Martin Pospisil||C/W||4||0||2||2||0.5||0||19.9||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|1||0||2||2||2.00||2||N/A||Tappara U20||U20 SM-sarja|
|Cole Schwindt||C/RW||4||0||2||2||0.5||2||19.9||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|William Stromgren||LW||1||3||0||3||3.00||0||Rogle BK J20/Brynas IF J20||J20 Nationell|
|Connor Zary||C||4||2||1||3||0.75||0||29.9||Stockton Heat||AHL|
|Jake Boltmann||RHD||6||1||0||1||0.17||6||4.6||Notre Dame||NCAA|
|Cole Jordan||LHD||8||2||2||4||0.5||4||12.4||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL|
|Yan Kuznetsov||LHD||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Jeremie Poirier||LHD||4||1||1||2||0.5||0||19.9||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Ilya Solovyov||LHD||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||Calgary Wranglers||AHL|
|Cameron Whynot||LHD||8||0||5||5||0.63||6||14.7||Halifax Mooseheads||QMJHL|
|Daniil Chechelev||G||2||3.04||0.912||Kansas City Mavericks||ECHL|
|Arseni Sergeev||G||4||2.24||0.929||University of Connecticut||NCAA|
|Dustin Wolf||G||3||4.05||0.890||Calgary Wranglers||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