Welcome back for another edition of the Calgary Flames prospects report. This is a recurring 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 features Rory Kerins signing an entry-level deal with the Flames, Jakob Pelletier scoring his first career hat-trick with the Stockton Heat, and Matthew Coronato receiving honours for his performance as a freshman with the Harvard Crimson. Meanwhile, Dmitry Zavgorodniy returned to Stockton after a short stint on loan in Russia, and then finally, Jeremie Poirier set a new franchise record in scoring with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
Kerins Signs Entry-Level Contract
According to the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, March 1 is the first day on the calendar that teams are allowed to sign players to entry-level deals that don’t start until the 2022-23 season. The Flames took advantage on the first day signing Kerins, the Soo Greyhounds’ leading scorer, to a deal.
Kerins has been lighting the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) on fire as he has racked up 35 goals and 94 points in 55 games this season. He has been a huge factor for the Greyhounds as he has 31 more points than recent Seattle Kraken signing Tye Kartye who is second in team scoring. He is currently on pace for 116 points, but the real test will come playoff time as due to COVID-19, Kerins hasn’t played in the playoffs since his rookie season in 2018-19.
Pelletier Nets First Pro Hat Trick
Since joining the Stockton Heat as a 20-year-old, Pelletier has been a welcome surprise for Flames fans this year and has been one of the top players on the team and one of the top rookies in the American Hockey League (AHL). This season he has scored 22 goals and collected 26 assists in 48 games. He currently sits second in rookie scoring in the league.
The Heat have been one of the top teams in the AHL from the get-go this season and Pelletier has been a big part of that. His crowning achievement so far has been his first hat-trick in the AHL. It came in a 5-2 win over the San Diego Gulls after scoring his second to put the Heat up 3-2 he sealed it with an empty-net goal to complete the trifecta. Pelletier is also inching closer each game to breaking Stockton’s rookie scoring record held by Mark Jankowski who recorded 56 points in 64 games back in 2016-17. Pelletier is currently on pace for 67 points in 67 games.
Coronato Receives Several Year-End Awards
The Flames selected Coronato 13th overall in the 2021 NHL Draft and he has had a very solid freshman season at Harvard in 2021-22. Thus far into the season he has collected 29 points in 31 games and is fresh off four points in three games in Harvard’s playoff series win over RPI. He has been a top scorer for the Crimson which has earned him a couple of year-end awards.
Coronato was awarded Rookie of the Year at the 2021-22 Ivy League Awards and he was also named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie team. His 29 points currently have him tied for 12th in ECAC scoring and second on Harvard. It’s been a solid freshman campaign for him and he will likely be looking to be leading the charge for the Crimson again in 2022-23. Harvard is set to play Clarkson in the Whitelaw Cup Semi-Final this Friday to try and extend their season.
Zavgorodniy Returns to the Heat
Zavgorodniy was selected by Calgary in the 2018 Draft in the seventh round from the Rimouski Oceanic. He had a fairly successful career in the QMJHL putting up 178 points in 169 games playing on a line with New York Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere. Since turning pro, however, his game has yet to translate, scoring just five points in 37 games with Stockton in 2020-21 and 2021-22.
This season he was often a healthy scratch and management decided to loan him to HK Sochi of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) back in December. In 10 games with Sochi, he collected three assists before the league went on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the entire league. The KHL decided to move right into playoffs on their return to play and Sochi did not qualify so Zavgorodniy came all the way back to Stockton.
His return to California has been solid, playing two games and collecting an assist along with two shots in the Heat’s 4-3 overtime win over the San Jose Barracuda on March 5. Since returning from Russia at the end of February, Zavgorodniy has found himself in the same spot, only suiting up in two of the team’s six games in March.
Poirier Sets Franchise Record
Back on March 5 in a game against the Cape Breton Eagles, Poirier collected an assist in a 7-3 win to become the Sea Dogs all-time leader in points by a defenceman. That was his 154th point in 201 career games passing current Ottawa Senators blueliner Thomas Chabot who had 153 points in 202 games. He is well on his way to breaking his own career-high of 53 points as he currently sits at 44 points with 21 games to go.
Poirier had some comments about coaches comparing him to Chabot, “From what I’ve heard with the coaches and staff that were here when he played here, we kind of had the same profile a little bit — that we’re really good with the puck offensively and all that stuff, but the staff was really hard on him back in the day and hard on me during my time here just to learn how to defend and learn how to play a pro game and be more two-way and have success on both sides of the ice,” (from ‘Flames prospect Jeremie Poirier swipes junior record from current NHL standout’, Calgary Sun, 3/8/22).
He went on to say in the article that Calgary already knew about his offensive abilities when they drafted him but he needed to work on his defensive abilities. Based on the stat sheet, he has become more reliable in that department as he is a plus-player for the first time in his career with a plus-16 in 47 games. That is a huge improvement from his rookie season when he was minus-41 in 61 games in 2018-19.
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.