The Calgary Flames did not select a player in the 2018 NHL Draft until the fourth-round, a reality which did very little to strengthen their farm system ahead of the 2018-19 NHL season.
Fortunately for the Flames, they have drafted well in past years and boast a handful of promising prospects within their pipeline. Although a number of which are long-term projects rather than elite young prospects, a number of which should be able to breakthrough and seize roles at the NHL-level regardless.
Stanley Cups: One
2017-18 Record: 37-35-10; 84 Points
2017-18 Top Scorer: Johnny Gaudreau; 24G, 60A, 84PTS
Farm System Grade: B
Top 10 Prospects:
- Jusso Valimaki
- Dillon Dube
- Rasmus Andersson
- Oliver Kylington
- Tyler Parsons
- Spencer Foo
- Jon Gillies
- Andrew Mangiapane
- Matthew Phillips
- Adam Ruzicka
The State of the Flames’ Farm System
Although not overwhelmingly strong, Calgary’s farm system stands in a good place as of the 2018-19 season owing to its depth and the presence of a potentially elite defenceman.
This defenceman of the future is none other than Jusso Valimaki, the Flames’ first round choice in the 2017 NHL Draft who brings size, poise, and offensive flair to the table. A pillar of stability for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL over the past three seasons, Valimaki’s composure and calm demeanour should allow for his successful transition to the professional-level in the immediate future.
In addition to Valimaki, the Flames feature a strong secondary trio of prospects in Dillon Dube, Ramsus Andersson, and Oliver Kylington. In Dube, Calgary holds a persistent offensive force who shone at the World Juniors with Team Canada and has been remarkably consistent throughout his career to date. Further, in Andersson and Kylington, the Flames boast two defenders of impressive size and ability who should see substantial ice time at the NHL-level during the 2018-19 season.
Outside of these four prospects, Calgary holds decent depth in the likes of Spencer Foo, Andrew Mangiapane, and goaltenders Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons. Although these four players will need additional seasoning at the AHL-level before ascending to the NHL, all of which hold significant potential and the ability to — one day — become game breaking players for the Flames.
One Flames Prospect to Watch
Of the Flames’ prospect pool, one young talent worth watching this season is Dube — a former second-round selection of the team whose exploits in the WHL have him primed for a substantial NHL career.
A tireless skater and puck-hound who strives for possession of the puck, Dube is a dynamic offensive player once in control and boasts the ability to create and finish plays. A 1.14 points-per-game player during his 203-game career with the Kelowna Rockets, Dube is also remarkably consistent in his play and should add considerable scoring depth to Calgary’s roster once established.
Although his size — or lack thereof — has been of concern to some throughout his development, Dube’s speed, stability, and persistence should outweigh any obstacle placed in his path en route to a full-time role with the Flames. As a mature player who competes on a nightly basis and never takes a shift off, Dube should be able to excel in Calgary after what will surely be a short stint with the Stockton Heat of the AHL.