The Calgary Flames’ training camp will begin in just over a month on September 20. Many prospects will participate alongside roster players and try to impress for a spot on the team. Some will slot in to the roster, most will be cut, and others are already committed to another year outside of the NHL. So, let’s take a look at where Flames prospects will be playing during the upcoming 2023–24 season.
After a strong rookie and start to his sophomore season in the AHL, Jakob Pelletier was called up to spend the rest of his sophomore year with the Flames. He played a total of 24 games, facing a couple weeks of being a healthy scratch. It will be very surprising if Pelletier does not spend his whole 2023–24 season with the Flames.
Dustin Wolf has become one of, if not the best goalie outside of the NHL. His very impressive AHL seasons have led to him winning a total of eight awards, five coming from this past year. He made his debut against the San Jose Sharks in the last game of the season and only allowed a single goal with a save percentage with .958. It’s likely the Flames will have Wolf on their roster, even if it means they have to have three goalies.
He’s won awards and championships with Harvard University, now Matt Coronato is going to be taking the step to the next level this upcoming season. Shortly after being eliminated in the Frozen Four tournament, Coronato signed his entry-level contract and debuted with Dustin Wolf in the last game of the season. Many are slotting Coronato as a lock for the Flames—which is the probable outcome—but there’s also a chance he spends some time in the AHL with the Calgary Wranglers.
The undrafted college signing, Walker Duehr has been an interesting follow since reaching the pro level. Although he always seemed to be near the top of the depth chart when it came to NHL call-ups, he didn’t have crazy production in the AHL. He played 27 NHL games this past year and looked like he belonged. Due to that, Duehr is probably going to be a full-time player for the Flames.
Connor Zary’s first AHL season was disappointing. He didn’t have the production one would hope for, dealt with injuries, and looked lost on the ice. His second season (this past year) was the exact opposite. Impressive production, no injuries, and played like a veteran. Although it was a step in the right direction, Zary will likely not make the Flames and will go back to the Wranglers with some stints in the NHL later in the year, but he is definitely a dark horse to make opening night roster.
The Flames’ third-round pick in the 2020 draft, Jeremie Poirier played three seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs before joining the Wranglers for his rookie year. His offensive skills allowed for him to have a pretty good season in terms of production but still faced some problems on the defensive end. Poirier will spend another year with the Wranglers with a small chance of making the Flames.
Taken 16th overall in the most recent NHL draft, Samuel Honzek has become the newest top prospect in the Flames system. He was playing hockey in his home country of Slovakia until this prior season where he decided to come over to North America. He joined the Vancouver Giants of the WHL and obviously drew attention. Honzek could be another dark horse, but it’s highly probable he will go back and play another season for the Giants.
The second selection by the Flames in the 2023 NHL Draft, Etienne Morin has a lot of promise. The somewhat physical offensive defenceman has a rocket of a shot and some great vision. Morin has spent the past two years with the Moncton Wildcats of QMJHL and will join them again for this season.
Staying on topic of 2023 selections, let’s look at the Flames’ third pick, Aydar Suniev. Suniev has spent the past two seasons with Penticton Vees of the BCHL. He just had a great year with 45 goals and 45 assists. Suniev is committed to the University of Massachusetts of the NCAA for the 2023–24 season.
Calgary’s sixth-round pick in 2021, Lucas Ciona has had a successful junior career. Two WHL final appearances, one loss and one win, being named captain, and a Memorial Cup trip. He jumped production this season could be from playing with a super team but only time will tell. Ciona will try to continue his team success with the Wranglers when he joins them this season.
William Stromgren made his way to playing full-time in the SHL last season suiting up for 45 games. The 6’3″ power forward has switched teams three times in the past three seasons going from MODO to Rogle BK to Brynas IF. Stromgren made his AHL debut with Wranglers near the end of the year, playing two games. Stromgren will continue his trend and play for his fourth team in four years as he’ll be a member of the Calgary Wranglers full-time.
Topi Ronni, the second-round selection in last year’s draft, is a steady prospect that you can’t find too much about. His strong two-way game had him splitting time between pro and U20 Liiga games for Tappara at 17. This continued this prior year with a lot more time in the pro league. Ronni has re-signed in Finland for the season and will suit for Tappara once again.
Rory Kerins was taken in the sixth round in 2020 and after having no D+1 year, he had a really strong D+2. Kerins with the Soo Greyhounds was second in OHL scoring only behind current Dallas Star, Wyatt Johnston. Then his D+3 year happened, which was last season. He didn’t make the Wranglers and spent most of his time in the ECHL with the Rapid City Rush and faced injury. Kerins should likely bounce back and receive a full-time spot with the Wranglers.
Another 2020 NHL Draft selection, Yan Kuznetsov has had his fair share of playing in multiple leagues. He started out in the USHL with Sioux Falls, and then joined the University of Connecticut of the NCAA for his draft year. After being drafted he continued with the NCAA and had a stint in the AHL with the Stockton Heat. The Saint John Sea Dogs were the team he then called home. Finally, he had his first full season in the AHL with the Wranglers. Kuznetsov will join the Wranglers once again this season.
Arseni Sergeev is a seventh-round selection that has made some big strides since being selected. He started in a weaker league with the NAHL, but after being drafted he joined the USHL and Tri-City Storm. He impressed and committed to the University of Connecticut where he looked good in a small amount of games. It is believed Sergeev will continue to play with the University of Connecticut this season.
Jaden Lipinski was drafted in the fourth round of the most recent draft by the Flames. He spent a long time playing AAA in the USA before joining the Vancouver Giants in 2021. Lipinski continued to play with Giants last season and will join them again for this up and coming one.
Drafted 155th overall in last year’s draft, Parker Bell has been committed to the Tri-City Americans for quite some time. He joined as a 16-year-old in 2019 and has had a solid development ever since. Bell did play two games for the Wranglers at the end of the year, but he will be back with Americans this season.
Jake Boltmann entered the Flames organization when he was drafted in the third round in 2020. His draft year was split between high school hockey and the USHL. He played a handful of USHL games the following year before committing to the University of Notre Dame which is where he’s been ever since. With no contract, Boltmann will return to Notre Dame.
Cade Littler was taken 219th overall in 2022. He has spent the past two seasons with the Wenatchee Wild of the BCHL. At the end of the year he committed to the Cedar Rapid RoughRiders of the USHL and suited up for a few of playoff games. Littler will continue to play with the RoughRiders this season.
Yegor Yegorov has a very fun name. He was drafted in the most recent draft in the sixth round. He’s spent his whole playing career with the Dynamo Moskva system working his way up the leagues. He reached Dynamo Moskva’s MHL team last season and will be back again this year.
The final selection the Flames made in the 2023 draft was Axel Hurtig. His big frame and physicality is what he’s known for. He’s been with Rogle BK’s junior teams for the past few seasons, switching based on age. Hurtig will find himself back with Rogle BK’s J20 team this year.
Plenty of prospect action
The Flames have a large group of prospects at various stages of their development. Many will look to improve on their past seasons while some are knocking on the door of the NHL. We’ll see how it will all pan out soon enough.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire