All Things Flaming C
by Scooter Kelly on 09/19/11 at 03:35 PM ET
Dearest Flames Fans:
Its time to discuss the state of the future of your Flaming Horses, via a prospect analysis. Their time may be coming to don C of Flame, hopefully sooner than later.
It has been a long running bullet point that the Flames under the old D-Sutz regime didn’t plan for the future. They chose to trade picks, sign free agents, max out their salary cap restrictions, and unfortunately draft poorly, with hindsight being 20/20.
Calgary didn’t fall into the abyss at any certain point so they were always drafting middle of the pack. We’ll look at what stock is left on the shelves and familiarize the greatest hockey readers with a few of the names of the future.
LW Sven Baertschi was the 2011 1st rounder that was GM J-Feast signature draftee this summer. this Swiss stud had 34 g-notes and 85 points in 66 games in Portland, outpointing the NY Isles 5th overall pick from 2010, Nino Niedderreiter. He has shone in Penticton and vs The U os C Dinos Friday night.
Centerman Roman Horak arrived via trade under a rather unique guise. He was dealt for Flames former 1st round pick, Tim Erixon. Erixon didn’t feel he was given a legitimate shot to flourish in Calgary with all the one-way deals in his path. Thus, Horak was acquired rather than losing Erixon for nothing. He accummulated 78 points in 64 games last season in Chiliwack, but will have to pack on some meat to his 6’0” 160 lb frame to be able to compete with the big boys.
Ryan Howse has been pleasant surprise. Many have high hopes of him cracking the club in the near future. This 3rd rounder (2009) had 51 snipes in Chilliwack last year and is a thick bodied 5’11” 195. I dare say he is for sure a season or two away. Needless to say, the Flambe need a few 3rd-4th-5th rounders to exceed their draft rankings.
Max Reinhart comes by his skills honestly. Many recall his Dad Paul donning the red and yellow of Calgary back in the day. He was a great offensive force from the blue line. Max, a centerman, has been turning heads since his draft from Kootenay in 2011. He had 78 points in 71 games and was red hot throught the WHL playoffs with 27 in 19 games. He has also been a bright light in Penticton.
Diminutive Dustin Sylvester has taken a different path. While he did play junior in Kootenay, he went overseas to a Division II team in Germany and led the team in scoring last year. Back in Calgary’s camp this season, the 5’6” 160 lb centerman has impressed with his speed and smarts. He is longing for the comparisons to the Tyler Ennis’s, the Nathan Gerbe’s and the great Marty St Louis.
Patrick Holland is a later round pick that has shot up the ranks. This 7th round pick out of Tri-City has played extremely well and is no longer an afterthought in the depth charts.
Greg Nemisz and Lance Bouma are both young studs that had some time with the big club last season. Both only 21, they look for more major league exposure and their 22 combined games , (2 assists total) Calgary should put them ahead of the other young guns moving forward.
On defense, TJ Brodie was the darling of the Flames training camp in 2010. He managed to stick around for 3 games to start the season, but was sent back to Abottsford for the duration of the year. A great skater and puck moving defenseman, Brodie looks to be a force on the power play when the opportunity is given.
John Negrin is another 3rd round pick that has been improving to the point tht they have to be considered when some of the big ticket contracts are expired or moved. Perhaps he can work on his ceremonial faceoffs in the meantime as he ``cool-guyed`` the U of C Dinos Captain and didn`t shake his hand Friday night in Calgary.
Chris Breen is probably the most interesting future Flaming Horse. The 6`7 , 224 lb monster was undrafted and is now knocking on the door of the defense corp in Calgary. More seasoning is indeed necessary but a big shut down guy like the departed Robyn Regehr would help in front of Kipper immensely. Gawd bless you Reggie, enjoy Buffalo.
In goal, Leland Irving is still waiting for his chance to take the reins, or even take the water bottles. The 2006 1st rounder has yet to play a game with Calgary, but remains the number 3 tender in the system. Matt Keetley has lost that battle and has moved on to parts unknown, but there are rumblings that he may surface in the Men’s Rec League in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Joni Ortio is another Finnish talent and looks to battle with Irving for playing time in his first season in North America. He has handled the bulk of the playing time in the Rookie Tournament in Penticton and has played well. His tourney was capped with a 3-2 victory over the baby Oilers. Best steer clear of any Oiler commentary for the time being. But thank you all for your vicious greasing last article. My dog was punished accordingly.
As you can see, the Flames have not had alot of blue chip prospects come down the pipe. Michael Backlund will remain with the big club for as long as anyone, but there are not many familiar names coming up thru the ranks. The Flames have been passionate about making splashes at the trade deadline and on draft day, but it has left the farm system depleted. The new regime under GM J-Feast has their work cut out for them but have started to stockpile picks from the Regehr and Erixon deals. Believe it or not, their capspace is a whopping $3.6M with possibly some LTIR coming their way from Raitis Ivanans concussion scenario.
As the camps are in full swing, the names above will probably be in Abbotsford or their CHL teams, but hopefully in the future some or many of these young guys will be able to contribute in the Show. When you have a team this good, its hard to crack the lineup!
Business as usual,
P.S. Keyboard toughguys- I love you.
@Scootermario on Twitter.
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