Flames Top 20 Prospects: A long time Fans Opinion
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01-05-2013, 11:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2002
I'm not too proud to admit that I was wrong with Gaudreau, and I have redone my list with Johnny at #2 and added 6-10. More to come.
1. Sven Baertschi: Elite upside. Needs to remain healthy, but that is more of a fear from a paranoid Flames fan. The reality is that any injury concerns aside the sky is the limit for Sven. Prime Upside: 35-55-90
2. John Gaudreau: I really like Gaudreau. To the point where I would be open to him being listed as #1. No matter how much I like him, and no matter how much the modern pro game does not hold little guys back(Eberle,P.Kane, etc.,) he's still super tiny. I mean he's gotten bigger and everything but he was a 140 lbs when he was drafted...and I mean we thought Theo was tiny. Anyway, Gaudreau has big time upside and I think he can rise above most of the other little guys litering the minor leagues(Ryan Shannon, Keith Aucoin, all the little guys in the Kings organization Kozun, Azevedo, Weal and the examples go on and on. Most NHL teams have 2-4 of these guys on their AHL teams). I can see Gaudreau eventually being a 60-80 point guy in the NHL, but ultimately he slots in 2nd because of the risk these smaller guys carry. Prime Upside: 30-45-75
3. T.J. Brodie: Very good #2 upside, decent #4 downside. A good chance to be a 40 point dman and just hope he can do so and remain above average 5 on 5. Reminds me of JM Liles, with hopefully a little better defence. The fact is offensive Dman are NOT plentiful in the Flames organization and Brodie is more of a sure thing then almost any of our prospects as he's reasonably seasoned and proven as far as prospects go. Prime Upside: 10-35-45
4. Mark Jankowski: I realize that #2 seems high for Janko, and it will take atleast 5 years to justify this positioning, but I believe that Mark has the ability to develop into everything he was drafted to be; A Joe Nieuwendyk level of Centreman. Probably a little more inclined to playmaking then Joe, but a nice hometown comparison of the kind of offensive first line centre that Jankowski could become. Prime Upside: 35-45-80
5. Tyler Wotherspoon: Call me caught up in the WJC if you like, but I am really starting to like this kid. Leading the entire CHL in +/- is no small feat and while he doesn't seem like the sexy pick I think TW is starting to show that he is a legit impact NHL prospect. I believe Wotherspoon has had the misfortune of being drafted by the Flames and being just seen as another D-prospect with a more defensive game in a long line of Joey Leachs, Matt Pelechs, John Ramages etc., before him. In the end he may end up being a ceberal two way defencemen with a similar impact as a Dan Hamhuis type with a little less edge. A guy that can put up a stat line like this in the NHL (Prime Upside) 82-6-22-28, +15, 26 mins ATOI. Paired with a more offensive Brodie type Wotherspoon IMO has #2, #3 NHL Dman upside. Tim Erixon who?
6. Markus Granlund: I am not as down on Granlund’s progression this year as some are. He was 6th in scoring last year on his team, and he’s 6th in scoring this year. He’s also the youngest player making any sort of impact on his team and has had to adjust to life without his brother. I think the development of a guy like Granlund may end up saying as much about the Flames development team as it does about the player. Gralund is the kind of guy that may have never got a look under Darryl. He’s also the kind of guy that becomes Hudler or Filppula on Detroit(as opposed to Taratukin or Puustinen in the past.) Sure Granlund seems like a real boom or bust type of player but he’s also got something that this team lacks; high end skill. Maybe not up there with Sven and JG, but the type of talent that our organization lacks more than most. My hope is that the elder Granlund kills it in NA and paves the way for his Markus to come overseas and develop under the watchful eye of Hesketh, Feaster, Weisbrod, Ward and Co. On a side note I am encouraged that Granlund is playing in a professional league with men.
7. Roman Horak: I’m not a fan of players that don’t have big NHL upside and I feel like Horak is in this category. What Roman does have going for him is that he’s already close to being NHL ready and is a safe bet to carve out an NHL career. Horak is also an interesting case because you find a lot of differing opinions on him. On one hand you’ve got a guy with great hockey sense who can go on goal scoring binges and be a smart two way player. On the other hand you’ve got a smaller forward who when his stick goes cold can be pushed around and seem too small to win puck battles at the highest level. In the end I think Roman will be a good 3rd or 4th line energy guy but I think his presence at #7 shows us that while our depth has improved – we’ve still got a looooong way to go. NHL Upside: 80-15-15-30
8. Patrick Sieloff: I see some Giordano in Sieloff with Pat’s skating style and some of his hits. It remains to be seen whether Sieloff will top out as a 3, 4 or 5th defencemen on the Flames in the future, but I am pretty confident that all of Brodie, Wotherspoon, and Sieloff have NHL upside.
9. Ryan Culkin: Call him Brodie V2.0, ME Vlasic, or anything in between. Call me impressed. Culkin has the mobility and puck moving ability that the Flames desperately need and I am optimistic about his current development and potential.
10. Leland Irving: I’m making a real attempt to not get too caught up in the “what have you done for me lately” mantra. Even if the Flames as an organization do seem to be almost overly in love with this whole “meritocracy” thing. With that in mind, I am refusing the temptation to move Irving totally off the map. It wasn’t that long ago that Irving was finally showing his mettle last year and looking like our version of Cory Schneider. By a narrow margin Irving remains the Flames top goalie prospect.
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