Scout’s Analysis: Should the Flames give more opportunity to top prospects?

I don’t envy the situation Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving has on his hands when it comes to inserting youth into the lineup (both today and in the future).

It’s delicate.

There are, literally, two schools of thought on display with the Flames and how they envision their prospects evolving to a point where they trust them enough to play games at the NHL level.

Calgary’s coaching staff has a plan for the group that includes how they want to play as a unit, and specific expectations for players in certain roles.

Nothing is given. Everything must be earned. But are the Flames’ coaches too stringent about inserting younger prospects into the lineup and giving them a true opportunity to show what they can – or can’t – provide?

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-821096” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).data(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = preroll:1:1:siteID:191888,2:siteID:191889;
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6319056610112&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6319056610112&cmsid=384”;

*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6319056610112&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.includes(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result)
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI)
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP)
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.replace(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=\”” + (document.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js\” %3E%3C/script%3E”) );

$( document ).one( “ready’, function()
$( “#video_container-821096” ).SNPlayer(
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “JCdte3tMv”,
//autoplay: true,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6319056610112,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
section: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/6319056610112-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/video/flames-sutter-gives-sarcastic-reply-about-rookie-pelletiers-debut-what-number-is-he/”
);
);

var adServerUrl = “”;
var $el = $( “#video_container-257229” );
var permalink = $el.closest(‘.snet-single-article’).data(‘permalink’);

/*
if ( “1” == true && ‘undefined’ !== typeof window.getIndexAds ) {
var so = preroll:1:1:siteID:191888,2:siteID:191889;
adServerUrl = window.getIndexAds( ‘http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6319056610112&cmsid=384’, so, permalink);
} else
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6319056610112&cmsid=384”;

*/
adServerUrl = “http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=640×360&cust_params=domain%3Dsportsnet.ca&iu=%2F7326%2Fen.sportsnet.web%2FVideo&ciu_szs=300×250&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=vast&unviewed_position_start=1&ad_rule=1&vid=6319056610112&cmsid=384”;
var adServerUrl_result = adServerUrl.includes(“cust_params”);
var queryString=”;
if(adServerUrl_result)
var gettheDUFI = localStorage.getItem(“theRED_loc”)

if(gettheDUFI)
queryString += “dufiid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
queryString += “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;
var ppid = “ppid=” + gettheDUFI + ‘&’;

var DUFI_IP = sessionStorage.getItem(“DUFI_IP”)

if(DUFI_IP)
queryString += “dufiip=” + DUFI_IP + ‘&’;

adServerUrl = adServerUrl.replace(/cust_params=/, ppid + ‘cust_params=” + encodeURIComponent(queryString) );

$el.after( unescape(“%3Cscript src=\”” + (document.location.protocol == “https:” ? “https://sb” : “http://b”) + “.scorecardresearch.com/beacon.js\” %3E%3C/script%3E”) );

$( document ).one( “ready’, function()
$( “#video_container-257229” ).SNPlayer(
bc_account_id: “1704050871”,
bc_player_id: “JCdte3tMv”,
//autoplay: false,
//is_has_autoplay_switch: false,
bc_videos: 6319056610112,
is_has_continuous_play: “false”,
adserverurl: adServerUrl,
section: “”,
thumbnail: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/6319056610112-1024×576.jpg”,
direct_url: “https://www.sportsnet.ca/nhl/video/flames-sutter-gives-sarcastic-reply-about-rookie-pelletiers-debut-what-number-is-he/”
);
);

.acf-block-preview .br-video-thumbnail::before
content: “”;
position: absolute;
top: 45%;
left: 50%;
transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-moz-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-ms-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-o-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
-webkit-transform: translate3d(-50%, -50%, 0);
width: 20px;
height: 0px;
border-top: 14px solid transparent;
border-left: 22px solid #fff;
border-bottom: 14px solid transparent;
margin-left: 3px;

The GM and his hockey operations staff recognize the need to insert some of their developing players once they have earned the right via success at the AHL level with the Calgary Wranglers.

They also know the optics of how they treat their young prospects has a trickle-down effect.

If a drafted player is playing at the college level, for example, there is never a guarantee he will choose to be a member of the Flames organization if he feels it’s a long shot to get a chance with the NHL team. He has the choice to remain in college and wait for his chance to become a free agent once his college career comes to an end. In this regard, 2021 first-rounder Matt Coronato is one to watch as he plays his sophomore season with Harvard.

(Note: College free agents can sign with any NHL team after August 15 of their graduation year.)

Free agent college, European and junior players are valuable additions for teams and are always in high demand. The competition is fierce amongst all NHL teams to add organizational depth. If those prospects don’t feel they will get a fair opportunity (when ready) to skate in the NHL with the Flames they may choose to wait and sign elsewhere.

I’m not privy to the conversations that are going on behind closed doors with Flames coaches and managemen, but I’ve been around the NHL long enough to know coaches are stubborn about their vision the same way managers are hopeful their prospects can develop into impact pros and need an opportunity to play.

Here’s a look at three of the top Flames prospects who are developing at the AHL level with the Wranglers, including Jakob Pelletier, who made his NHL debut Saturday and was in the news due to Darryl Sutter’s post-game comments.

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper
display: grid;
grid-template-columns: repeat(2, 1fr);
gap: 20px;

.acf-block-preview .br-related-links-wrapper a
pointer-events: none;
cursor: default;
text-decoration: none;
color: black;

Jakob Pelletier, Forward
Drafted 26th overall in 2019

My colleague Eric Francis reflected on Pelletier’s NHL debut this past weekend and he was spot on. It was unfortunate to see Pelletier only skate 14 total shifts and 6:50 of ice time.

I’ve scouted Pelletier for several years, dating back to his time with Moncton in the QMJHL. I have always appreciated his compete, and more importantly his will to win.

Pelletier isn’t a big body (his listed size with the Flames is 5-foot-9, 160 pounds), but he doesn’t shy away from traffic. He’s not going to body many opponents off pucks at the NHL level, but he has an active stick and the ability to strip pucks.

Offensively, I project Pelletier to contribute his share of even strength scoring. His next level offence could come as a power-play contributor, as he’s a middle six forward who can slide easily into the top power-play unit. At worst he will provide a secondary layer of scoring for the Flames.

The NHL game requires detail and involvement. For as long as I can remember I have always noticed Pelletier making an effort in all three zones. He’s quick to space, can be a threat off the rush, has a solid release, and can be described as equal parts playmaker. Here’s an example of Pelletier’s three-zone detail via his heat map:

Heat map shows three-zone puck touch tendencies. Offensive zone map shows scoring chances.

As you can see Pelletier is involved in all three zones and is willing to take pucks to the middle of the ice/net in the offensive zone.

Connor Zary, Forward
Drafted 24th overall in 2020

Zary is a 6-foot, 185-pound left shot forward who is already a proven scorer at the AHL level, with 14 goals and 26 assists so far in 38 games this season. Zary has an excellent release from the flank on the power play. Some players have a knack for being in the right place at the right time and pucks just seem to follow Zary around the offensive zone.

While Zary’s element is clearly his offensive upside, his three-zone detail has improved. He’s tracking back more responsibly to assist defensively on time.

I’ve taken notice of how sturdy Zary has been in the face-off circle. He leverages very well against opponents. If he doesn’t get a clean win he has the strength to body up and kick pucks to the perimeter without losing his check.

In my opinion Zary needs to get another 10-15 per cent from his stride. Added quickness out of the gate will lead to more chances in transition and make him more elusive in small areas.

Here’s a look at Zary’s heat map from his past five games. Most of his offence comes from his strong side, but the back door flank area is highlighted from his positioning on the power play. It’s interesting to notice his defensive zone map as well. He’s taking checks to the net and collapsing to assist when the Wranglers are under duress.

Heat map shows three-zone puck touch tendencies. Offensive zone map shows scoring chances.

Dustin Wolf, Goalie
Drafted 214th overall in 2019

Teams prefer to draft and develop big goalies who take up as much net as possible, and double down with their athleticism.

Wolf goes against the grain. He’s only 6-feet and 175 pounds.

All Wolf does, however, is win games. His last 76 appearances at the AHL level have resulted in a 56-14-5 record. Last year he posted a solid 2.35 GAA and .924 save percentage and, incredibly, he has a 2.15 GAA and .930 save percentage so far this season. Last spring he appeared in 13 playoff games and posted a record of 8-5 to go along with a 2.23 GAA and .929 post-season save percentage.

Sometimes the statistics don’t lie. His body of work speaks for itself and other NHL teams that are in search of a goaltending prospect are taking notice.

Here’s Wolf’s scouting card:

Scouting card via Jason Bukala’s The Pro Hockey Group.

Flames Concerns

I completely understand how NHL coaches prepare their teams to play to an identity. Every coach has his own way of getting the most out of their team. Every coach has a vision for what works best with their group.

I don’t expect any prospect to be given a hall pass. They all have to earn their ice time and opportunities. Having said that, playing young players less than seven minutes in a depth role doesn’t give them a chance to break a sweat – let alone play to their strengths.

It’s a delicate process to develop prospects into NHLers. Trust me when I say an unsigned prospect like Coronato (Calgary’s first-round pick in 2021), who is playing college hockey at Harvard, is watching the opportunities that other prospects get in the Calgary system.

#Scouts #Analysis #Flames #give #opportunity #top #prospects

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *