Welcome back for another edition of the Calgary Flames Prospects Report. This is a reoccurring segment at The Hockey Writers, following the seasons and storylines of all the prospects in the Flames system throughout the 2021-22 season.
This week is the goalie edition of the prospects report as we take a look at all of the Flames’ goalie prospects who have all gotten off to good starts in their respective leagues. Dan Vladar was a prospect at the start of this season but has all but certified himself as an NHLer. Dustin Wolf and Adam Werner have been a fantastic tandem for the Stockton Heat who are off to a hot 11-2-2 start. Daniil Chechelev made his North American pro debut and Arsenii Sergeev remains hot since his last appearance in the prospects report.
When the Flames traded for Vladar, he was still a prospect having only played five NHL games, but he soon will have that tag dropped this season. The team took a gamble on him in the offseason sending the Boston Bruins a 2022 third-round pick, and so far, he is paying massive dividends. He is just five games into his career with Calgary and has looked more and more legit each game.
He and partner Jacob Markstrom currently sit third and fifth respectively in the NHL in both goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage (SV%). Since his first start against the Washington Capitals, when he posted a 0.880 SV%, he’s steadily improved each game and is now coming off back-to-back shutout performances. If Vladar can continue building on his performances, he will be a major key for the Flames going forward in helping keep Markstrom rested and healthy for the rest of the season.
When the Colorado Avalanche didn’t qualify Werner in the offseason, Flames general manager Brad Treliving scooped up the 24-year-old Swede in a collection of minor league deals. So far, he’s been good for the Heat as he’s gone 4-2-0 in his six starts this season. In just two of those starts, his SV% was below 0.900.
Werner has played two games in the NHL with the Avalanche and could serve as a good backup replacement if one of Vladar or Markstrom goes down during the season. He’s played 51 career American Hockey League (AHL) games and has a career 0.906 SV%, which is just fine for a backup in the league. 51 games aren’t enough to call a player a veteran, but he should be a good mentor and backup to rookie Wolf for the season.
Wolf has gotten off to a hot start in his first full season with the Heat and has already taken the role of starter for the team. In eight games this season, he has collected six wins and his two losses have come in overtime. So far, his athletic ability which made him dominant in junior has translated well to the pro game after concerns over his height worried some scouts about his potential at the pro level.
Since his debut with the Heat in 2020-21, Wolf has not lost a game in regulation, going 9-0-2 over the two seasons and recording a 0.935 SV% across those 11 games. He has already made several highlight-reel saves this season and has been a big reason why the Heat are currently one of the best teams in the AHL. His 0.932 SV% this season is currently second in the AHL and his seven wins are tied for third.
You’d have to go all the way back to the 1990 NHL Draft when the Flames drafted a goalie who played more than 50 games with the team, that goalie being Trevor Kidd. It is still incredibly early in his career, but out of the gates, Wolf looks like he might be the real deal. For comparison, Wolf’s former teammate and current Philadelphia Flyers starter Carter Hart posted a 0.902 SV% in his 20-year-old season in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
It took a while for Chechelev to get visa issues worked out, but the paperwork was finally sorted and he started his career in North America with the ECHL’s Kansas City Mavericks. He secured his first win in his first game with the team in a 5-2 final over the Utah Grizzlies where he made 29 saves on 31 shots.
In just his third game in the ECHL, Chechelev was doing everything he could for his new team as he faced 51 shots against the Iowa Heartlanders and stopped 47 of them in a 4-1 loss. There were a few highlight real saves from the game which showed his excellent athleticism already at just 20 years old.
Through four games, he has a record of 1-2-1 with a 0.902 SV%, which ranks him second on the team. With Wolf and Werner looking solid for Stockton this season, it’s likely that Chechelev will play in Kansas City for the remainder of the 2021-22 season barring any injuries. It will be an important step in his development as he gets used to North American-sized ice after coming over from Russia this past season.
For the first time in Calgary’s history, they drafted a player from the North American Hockey League (NAHL) when they selected Sergeev in the seventh round of the 2021 NHL Draft. He posted decent numbers in the league with a 14-4-2 record and 0.936 SV% in 20 games as the Shreveport Mud Bugs back up. In 2021-22, he moved up to the United States Hockey League (USHL), the countries top junior hockey league, and has been nothing but spectacular for the Tri-City Storm.
He has been named the league’s goalie of the week in two of the last three weeks and is currently 11-1-0 with his new club. He leads the league in virtually every category including wins, SV%, GAA, and shutouts. According to Quant Hockey, the best SV% by an 18-year-old goalie was Adam Huska in 2015-16 who posted a 0.931 SV% but with the caveat of a minimum of 20 games played. Sergeev would be on pace to smash that record but won’t get to 20 games played before his 19th birthday on the 16th of December. The record for a 19-year-old was set by Filip Larsen in 2017-18 with a 0.941 SV%, which Sergeev could have a shot at breaking.
The early season returns on Sergeev are extremely positive as he could be a hidden gem that was found by Calgary scouts in a second-tier junior hockey league. He is committed to the University of Connecticut for 2022-23 with their coaching staff most likely getting excited about bringing him in watching his current USHL performance.
That wraps up another edition of the Flames prospects report. Be sure to check back on The Hockey Writers to read more storylines on the Flames prospects this season.
Brett is a freelance writer covering the Calgary Flames here at The Hockey Writers. He is an enthusiast of hockey stats and continues to learn every day about the sports analytics movement. Brett enjoys using both statistical analysis and the old-fashioned eye test in his writing to create the best content for readers. His work at THW has been featured on the Calgary Flames’ news feed for The Score and on Yardbarker. Brett is also part of THW’s Flames Faceoff YouTube/podcast show where he brings his opinions each week on the team’s current state of affairs.