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We have heard a lot from our friends to the North about their development camp, how it got sold out because people wanted to see the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paarvi. You can't disagree the copper and blue have a fair amount of young talent coming up in their system but what about the Flames? It has been said the Flames cupboard is empty and that they have no prospects worthy of mention, an organization full of pluggers. The drafting has been suspect to be sure, keep in mind though that drafting is only one way of acquiring prospects, there is trades and free agency as well. Having said that here is why the Flames have more depth than the general consensus would think, here is what's in the proverbial cupboard:


Mikael Backlund- Backlund was the MVP at the Mac's tournament in Calgary, a premier tournament that involves teams from allover the world. He helped Sweden win Silver two years running at the world Junior championships, each time getting over a point a game. Over a point per game in his Junior career even after acclimatizing to the smaller ice surface. he has a knack for scoring in close and is universally recognized by scouts for his elite passing ability. He had 10 points in 23 games as a 20 year old in the NHL, , projecting over a full year he would have been ahead of Curtis Glencross with around 35 points if he played a full 82 games. At the end of the season he had also finished with a plus 5 rating, drawing praise from Brent Sutter for his tenacious back checking and solid play. In his draft year he was ranked the second highest rated European player in the draft. In the mold of Adam Oates, not a huge goals scorer but can still pot 20-30 with unlimited assist capability.

Greg Nemisz- I'm not sure if Greg's last name is pronounced "nee-miz" or "nem-ish" so we will henceforth call him simply Captain Nemo. There is a perception that Nemisz's great junior numbers came from playing with Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique however the reality is his job was to create room and play a power forwards game which he did to perfection. His Junior stats speak for themselves after registering two seasons at well above a point per game and getting 34 or more goals three years in a row. To put that into perspective the savior of the Oilers, Taylor Hall got 40 goals in 57 games, Nemisz got 34 in 51 just slightly off Hall's pace. Nemisz did get a laceration to his leg from a skate blade last season which meant he missed a significant amount of the post season but still managed to get 12 points in 15 games after recovering from that. A power forward I would liken to Jason Arnott, power forwards typically take longer to develop because they need the size and play a style that prematurely ends careers but the top end time is significant.

Ryan Howse- Unlike Nemisz there can be no mistaking what Howse did was all Howse, his Chilliwack Bruins lacked a lot of depth. What he did was score 47 goals which tied him for 3rd in the WHL, a pure sniper. In the 08/09 season he had 4, count them 4, hat tricks.

Bryan Cameron- Say what you will about his size, 5'10" 185lbs, he can score. Cameron lead not only the OHL but the entire CHL in goal scoring with 53, I think that's a pretty good prospect!

Mitch Wahl- Aside from this guy eerily resembling a ventriloquists dummy he is a super solid Center prospect. After putting up 96 points in Junior he goes to the Heat in Abbotsford and puts up 4 points in 4 games in the AHL playoffs. The playoffs. Not pre-season folks. Wahl has a great passing ability and scouts will all tell you he makes the players around him better, just ask Kyle Beach who more than doubled his goal total and added an addition 20 points to his previous season.

Bill Arnold- Arnold was considered a prospect that had a lot of upside in terms of ability, especially the skilled defensive kind. He can strip players of the puck and turn around and score with it. Arnold is considered the steal of the draft for the Flames after he fell a long way down to the 4th round and drafted 108th overall after being ranked by the hockey news at 60. It remains to be seen if he can Arnold can excel at an even level with kids who have the same skill level but we'll find out next week!

Honorable mentions at forward: Max Reinhart, Gealen Patterson.


T.J. Brodie- It's a name we keep hearing but maybe aren't familiar enough with...and should be. Brodie might be the offensive defenseman of the future for the Flames. In 65 games in the OHL Brodie tallied 56 points good for 5th in the league for defensemen. He has decent height but may need to fill out a bit before being NHL ready.

John Negrin- at 6'2' and 195 Negrin is probably ready for the NHL in terms of size, his scoring isn't going to blow you away but his skating might. Negrin has made a name for himself being a steady outlet passing defenseman and no team can have a enough of those. In his brief stint with the Flames he was not spectacular but making the jump from junior to the bigs can be a huge learning curve.

Matt Pelech-6'4 and 220ish. Mean. Reliable. Smart. Robyn Regehr's replacement if he's given the opportunity. Not much else to say except that he missed time last year with blood clot issues which have hopefully been resolved, he just signed a one year two way, contract.

Chris Breen- He's 6'7" tall so on skates that's like...giraffe. Breen is no bean pole either though at 220 lbs he does carry some weight, it will be interesting to see how he develops.

Keith Seabrook- When I saw the Flames traded for Seabrook I was blown away until I realized it was Brent's little brother...and then I was blown away again. We got to see Seabrook here in Calgary a lot and I was really happy they acquired him. He had a terrific season with the Heat with 10 goals and 18 assists, often looked to more and more for offence and defensive reliability. He's a right shot too which is always handy to have.

Tim Erixon- Last years 1st round Pick won't have stats that make you shout with glee for two reasons, he is more of a smart defensive player who passes well and he's 19 playing with men. Those two things make you think that he might have a future on the Flames, probably as a number 4 or 5 defenseman but one that you never really complain about having.


Ortio- He's Finnish and we can spell his name! What more do you want in a goalie? Well his great save percentage at the world juniors and the fact he carries them to a bronze is also something.

Irving- Took a step back last year but still has unbelievable ability.

Keetley- Right handed catchers are always difficult for shooters who are unaccustomed to it, Keetley should be the top guy in the AHL this year.

J.P. Lamoureaux- 14 and 12 last year in the AHL will push Keetley for the Heat's starting Job.

The cupboards are not bare!!

Filed Under:   Flames   Backlund   Howse   Cameron   Irving  
July 23, 2010 7:06 PM ET | Delete
Great read like always
July 23, 2010 7:23 PM ET | Delete
I agree especially in the back end. While the Flames don't have the greatest prospect pool in the league it's not near as bad as made out to be by the media. The forwards are have more of a question marks, but our defense prospects are as good as any.
July 23, 2010 8:08 PM ET | Delete
Sane, I sent an email to a buddy this morning with that exact same sentiment, the cupboards are not THAT bare, so I completely agree. I think Arnold is going to play at Boston College this year, which can't be anything but good for his development. I still wish we had taken Kabanov, but in 5 years, I could be proven very wrong about that. Anyway, good blog again.
July 23, 2010 8:28 PM ET | Delete
Great post man! I've told many Oilers fans we are up there in prospect. Certainly not like the Oilers but we, as usual have a strong D core. And then offense is getting better, especially with the signing of Cameron. Backlund, Wahl, Nemisz, Cameron and Howse should be fighting for spots in the next few years. Can't wait!!
July 23, 2010 9:16 PM ET | Delete
I will be there for some of it with updates.
July 23, 2010 10:16 PM ET | Delete
Great read! The only problem is that we have been saying the same thing about all these guys for a few years, the problemis that they aren't good enough to make the flames on a line they should be. Backlund on the 3rd or 4th line??!!! So sutter in his great wisdom will sign guys who are 32-35 years old for 1-3 year contracts until all the prospects will walk away...
July 24, 2010 8:42 AM ET | Delete
miika, you're right however Sutter did say if guys made a case for themselves he'd move players, I guess we'll see how true that is by the end of September. Flamestr, I might go down there as well at some point, if I do i'll buy you a coffee.
July 24, 2010 10:38 AM ET | Delete
If you guys are on twitter... @bradleybwindsor @shaunevetter and @eklund for updates or whatever.
July 24, 2010 11:05 AM ET | Delete
Kabanov vs Reinhart is no contect in terms of ability for Kabanov, I think Reinhart wins the battle of attitude though which it Seems Sutter values higher than ability. Time will tell.
July 24, 2010 11:05 AM ET | Delete
July 24, 2010 11:06 AM ET | Delete
I think it is interesting to note that Springfield finished last in the AHL last year. Abbotford made the second round.
July 24, 2010 11:09 AM ET | Delete
Sutter gets wrongly criticized for our farm team. In 2003 we had none, he built one from scratch.
July 24, 2010 11:11 AM ET | Delete
The fans who are always cutting down are prospects and our farm team didn't jump on the bandwagon until 2004.
July 24, 2010 11:17 AM ET | Delete
To further your point the Heat were decimated with injuries last year, it was almost Sami Salo like down there.
July 24, 2010 12:01 PM ET | Delete
Lamoureux isn't really that good to be a starter but a solid backup he can be. Maybe in front of an AHL team with a defense he might be better suited.
July 24, 2010 12:17 PM ET | Delete
I agree but Keetly and Irving need a push and because of his experiance he will provide that. He will have defence in front of him, in Calgary's organization you can count on that.
July 24, 2010 1:18 PM ET | Delete
That's a good point about not having a farm team until 2003. But still, it's difficult to get overly excited about our prospects over that time, especially when even our best ones are shipped out of town. We are fairly horrible at developing our drafts and keeping them here. With Phaneuf and Boyd and Nystrom out, who is left that we've drafted and developed? Moss? Yipee. Pardy is our biggest success story at the moment...that's not really good enough, IMO.
July 24, 2010 1:26 PM ET | Delete
As far as drafting goes it's actually the first rounders that I think have been horrible until recently. Everyone hates the "what if" draft scenarios but this team could be a lot different today had the scouts been better. guess that's why they got canned.
July 24, 2010 2:33 PM ET | Delete
Feaster will hopefully make changes. Thought has to go in on longterm cap management
July 24, 2010 2:34 PM ET | Delete
and creating NHL opportunities for prospects Sutter does not have that skill IMO
July 24, 2010 3:57 PM ET | Delete
Excellent read and i agree 100%The tank is not as empty as it seems, and alot of fans rip the flames due to sutter's lack of compentence, but we have some VERY solid prospects in the system, although i hope irving rebounds from a tough season.
July 24, 2010 7:28 PM ET | Delete
Completely agree with your last two posts Kevin.
July 25, 2010 12:55 AM ET | Delete
Yeah Rink Lighter, Sane OP. you are right.... for the most part 2004-2006 was not great in the early rounds..... I still can't understand how we missed David Bolland.....
July 25, 2010 10:17 AM ET | Delete
Harvety there is a good reason why we cut half the staff in the scouting department this year.
July 25, 2010 10:42 AM ET | Delete
yeah the pro scouts were left alone, only the amateur scouts were cut. I wrote a blog a while back on realistic misses, within two or three picks either way. Names like Mike Green spring out at you but I also think Semin was on that list.
July 25, 2010 8:26 PM ET | Delete
you have no prospects because you have the second worst GM ever
July 25, 2010 9:10 PM ET | Delete
Just ahead of burke?
July 25, 2010 9:11 PM ET | Delete
Biggest thing holding our prospects back is the lack of opportunity they are given
July 25, 2010 10:00 PM ET | Delete
Agreed. all mighty coil, these guys should have roster spots by now, at least some of them, and I really believe Sutter knows that. The problem he is having think is selling players and the contracts that he has given them to other GMs around the league to accommodate the young guys. Great read as always Sane.
July 25, 2010 10:05 PM ET | Delete
Any word on the trade front. Where is regehr going this week.
July 25, 2010 11:46 PM ET | Delete
Haha my take on it is that Feaster will get acquainted with the players and their skill sets by training camp and then there is the possibility of moving a guy. I think though if Regehr was to move it would have to be prior to camp, major guys in camp will probably be here till trade deadline.
July 25, 2010 11:46 PM ET | Delete
training camp might see some moves of guys like staios and kotalik in one form or another like ahl or KHL.
July 26, 2010 11:36 AM ET | Delete
Wouldnt be the end of the world to see the current lineup in Oct take a run at things. By trade deadline next year its a brave new world!
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