Even though the National Hockey League is locked out, the hockey world keeps on turning. While the Calgary Flames aren’t playing games, their prospects throughout college and major junior are competing to (hopefully) work their way towards the NHL.
Here’s a look at the Flames prospects in the NCAA and the Canadian Hockey League, and how they did in the month of October.
LW Johnny Gaudreau [Boston College Eagles (Hockey East); 19 years old]
Calgary’s fourth round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
He’s listed as 5-foot-6 by the Flames, 5-foot-7 by the conference and 5-foot-8 by his school, but Johnny Gaudreau plays a big game for the Eagles. After a very good freshman season, Gaudreau has picked up where he left off. He has put up 3 goals, 4 assists and a plus-5 rating for the Eagles through October, including a pair of game-winning goals.
C Bill Arnold [Boston College Eagles (Hockey East); 20 years old]
Calgary’s fourth round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Now a junior for the Eagles, Arnold was excellent as a freshman (being named to the All-Rookie Team) and sublime as a sophomore last year. He’s been openly praised by Boston College coach Jerry York as being a complete three-zone player. He’s also continued to be clutch for his team in most situations. He scored 2 goals, 3 assists and went plus-3 on the month.
C Mark Jankowski [Providence College Friars (Hockey East); 18 years old]
Calgary’s first round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
For a fresh-faced 18-year-old, Mark Jankowski had as good a first three weeks in the NCAA as could be expected. He got top-line minutes in every situation. He’s learning the NCAA game in a very competitive conference, on a team where he’ll be able to carry the load offensively if he can. He had 2 goals, 1 assist and a minus-2 rating on the month, but put up all of his points against non-conference opponents. But he’s looked generally good, and great in flashes, and he’s 18. He’s only going to get better.
G Jon Gillies [Providence College Friars (Hockey East); 18 years old]
Calgary’s third round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
While Jankowski is fresh-faced at 18, his Friars netminder (and fellow draft pick) looks grown-up and already plays like he’s been in college for years. He’s 6-foot-5 and has been absolutely excellent for the Friars. He’s put up a 3-2-1 record with a startling 1.72 goals against average and a .938 save percentage. Let’s be honest – his numbers are going to fall back down to Earth, particularly his save percentage. But his clutch play has earned him Co-Rookie of the Month for his conference. That’s not a bad way to start off the season.
D John Ramage [Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA); 21 years old]
Calgary’s fourth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
The son of former Flames blueliner Rob Ramage, John Ramage has inherited his father’s leadership skills and his grit. While he’s not quite an offensive dynamo, Ramage is sound positionally and plays a big, physical game. Through four games, he has zero points and a minus-2 rating.
C Matthew Deblouw [Michigan State Spartans (CCHA); 19 years old]
Calgary’s seventh round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
A late pick that was thought to have upside, Deblouw had a pretty good first month of college hockey. In six games, the Spartans won twice and were competitive in most of their losses. The freshman had a goal and 2 assists. His minus-6 rating isn’t amazing, though.
LW Nick Larson [Notre Dame Fighting Irish (CCHA); 22 years old]
Calgary’s fourth round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
A Flames pick from long, long ago, Larson struggled with injuries that derailed last season for him. However, he’s off to a pretty good start to his senior year with a goal, an assist and a plus-1 rating in six games. Better yet, his Fighting Irish are off to a very good 5-1-0 start.
CANADIAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
D Ryan Culkin [Quebec Remparts (QMJHL); 18 years old]
Calgary’s fifth round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
The Flames scouts are looking really, really smart with the acquisition of Culkin. After a great September, he followed up with 2 goals, 5 assists and a plus-4 performance in October. The Remparts went 8-3-0 on the month and Culkin’s play earned him a spot on Team QMJHL for both of the Subway Super Series games against Team Russia. He also dressed as an alternate captain for a handful of games.
D Patrick Sieloff [Windsor Spitfires (OHL); 18 years old]
Calgary’s second round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
A big, mean, bruising presence on the ice, Sieloff has drawn comparisons to former Flame blueliner Robyn Regehr. Like Regehr, Sieloff is a physical player who opens up time and space for his teammates. He’s even used his great open-ice hits to draw penalties and create power-plays for the Spitfires. Like Regehr, he doesn’t get a lot of points. He had a goal, an assist and a plus-2 rating in October and the Spitfires hovered around the .500 mark on the month.
D Brett Kulak [Vancouver Giants (WHL); 18 years old]
Calgary’s fourth round pick int he 2012 NHL Entry Draft
An odd mix of cities and allegiances, Kulak grew up in Edmonton, plays for Vancouver and was drafted by Calgary. He’s also quietly become the anchor for the Giants back-end. While the Giants have floundered on the whole, going 3-7-0 in October, Kulak had 2 goals, 4 assists and an even rating on a team that was routinely out-shot and out-scored.
D Tyler Wotherspoon [Portland Winterhawks (WHL); 19 years old]
Calgary’s second round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Selected a round after the Flames nabbed teammate Sven Baertschi (currently starring in Abbotsford for the Flames’ AHL team), Wotherspoon is a solid stay-at-home defender who has shown some offensive flair this season. It helps that he’s been paired at times with Seth Jones, widely expected to go high in this year’s draft. Wotherspoon had 8 assists and a plus-11 rating in October, while the Winterhawks went 7-1-1. He’ll be playing on Team WHL in one of the two Subway Super Series games against Team Russia.
LW Turner Elson [Red Deer Rebels (WHL); 20 years old]
Signed by Calgary as a free agent
The new Red Deer Rebels captain had 3 goals, 3 assists and an even rating in October. The Rebels celebrated their new captain with a 7-5-2 month in the WHL’s ultra-competitive Eastern Conference.
G Laurent Brossoit [Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL); 19 years old]
Calgary’s sixth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Brossoit went 4-0-3 in October with a 3.04 goals against average and a .885 save percentage in October. His numbers represent a dip from both his September stats and his impressive showing in last year’s WHL playoffs. He’ll be one of two goalies representing the WHL at the Subway Super Series.
LW Coda Gordon [Swift Current Broncos (WHL); 18 years old]
Calgary’s sixth round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft
A Calgary native, Gordon is off to a good start to his post-draft season. The streaky Broncos went about .500 on the month (winning a few, then losing a few). Gordon had 4 goals and 8 assists, but went minus-3 on the month.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.