I’ve read some blog posts recently and the replies them that seem to indicate a strong feeling that the Flames have no prospects, that other teams have youth on their side and seem to imply that the Flames are destined to be a last place team. There are a couple things to look at here, are the Flames really that old? Do they really have no prospects?
Of the players signed and expected to play next year the average age is under 30, the elder members of the team being Langkow and Kipper at 34. Langkow is going into his last year and his cap hit is either going to taken off entirely after next year or at the very least extremely reduced. Given the direction of the team towards youth and moving NTC’s I would suggest Langkow is a contract they may move after he shows he can still play. The average being roughly just over 29 years old does not take into account guys who might play like Nemisz, Bouma, Brodie or Negrin.
Do the Flames have prospects? The cupboards certainly aren’t bare. If you compare the Flames prospects to say the Oilers prospects then there are some levels of difference for sure. I’m not sure that translates to a better team a few years from now though. The oilers as an example have long had better prospects but a worse team, this may change for certain but better prospects don’t mean a better team by any means. Prospects are just that too, they are an unproven commodity. To compare prospects gets dangerous, for instance the Flames have no prospects with the hype of RNH or Hall yet there is a large school of thought that Eberle is better than Hall as a well rounded hockey player. So what does it mean that Sven Bartschi has 10 more points in his draft year than Eberle? Not a lot.
RNH ( I will never take the time to spell out his name so prepare for disappointment now) was crazy in WHL this year, 109 points! 1.54 PPG!! WOW…except that in the final it was Max Reinhart, a third round pick of the Flames, leading his team to the WHL Championship and a showing at the Memorial Cup. Again, does RNH being a crazy player against kids his age make him a great prospect or does the drive and leadership of a Reinhart give him the edge? I know what oiler fans would say, but ask them about which is the better nhl team and they’ll quickly point out the Stanley cups for Edmonton, not all of the regular season championships Calgary had. So if you base it on championships… Just saying.
Calgary does have prospects, they do not have a ton of them. The few they do have are pretty quality though.
Greg Nemisz is a big center that can dish the puck and Penalty kill when needed.
T.J. Brodie is a name you may not know now but will by this season’s end. An AHL All Star and a kid that made the team out of camp last year. T.J. will be a benefit on the power play and makes terrific transitional passes.
Ryan Howse is a former CHL goal scoring champ. Very good speed and first step, plays aggressively but not overly physical and score like nobody’s business.
Sven Bartschi (for those of you wondering about the spelling of his name he has that funny sideways “:” on top of the “a” in his name, this makes and translates to Beartschi) I know we just drafted this kid but here’s the low down on him. Great hands (check out his one handed goal on you tube), decent speed, and a winner. He was the leading rookie for points in the WHL and ended up tied 2nd for points in the WHL Playoffs (along with Max Reinhart).
Markus Granlund is a player that like his brother (Wild first round pick Mikael) can do a nice lacrosse shot in a game, his you tube video is pretty entertaining. Granlund also captained the U-18 Finnish team and had 10 points in 6 games.
Keith Seabrook, you might recognize his last name, is a defenseman that has great offensive upside and is rounding out his defensive game, very good potential here.
Other notables: Mitch Wahl, Leland Irving (led the AHL with 8 shutouts), Joey Leach (also part of the Ice WHL Champ team).