It’s September and we have wrapped up our annual Top 20 Prospects countdown here at FlamesNation. Now all that’s left is to run down the ballots and provide some insights into just how we reached the rankings that we did.
The top 20
We operated with a pretty simple system: our panel was asked to rank the 31 eligible prospects from 1 to 20, with first place votes worth 20 points and 20th place worth 1 point. We tallied up the points to provide a ranking of the organization’s top youngsters.
We started with the no-votes and runners up.
Seven players – Spencer Foo, Ryan Lomberg, Rinat Valiev, Nick Schneider, Mitchell Mattson, Justin Kirkland and Andrew Nielsen – all failed to make any of our top 20 lists.
Jon Gillies received two points, Luke Philp six, while Milos Roman (17 points) and Glenn Gawdin (18 points) just missed the top 20.
Here’s how the Top 20 shook out:
(Wolf won the tiebreaker with Koumontzis by virtue of being on more ballots.)
There’s a pretty clear layering in the overall rankings, with a pretty clean top five. From there, there was a bit of clustering with Sveningsson/Zavgorodniy, Ruzicka/Yelesin, Parsons/Nikolayev/Pospisil and Koumontzis/Wolf/Tuulola.
Probably the biggest surprise jump up the list from last year’s was Sveningsson, who had a heck of a 2018-19 season and went from being more of a fringey project guy to potentially a core prospect for the team.
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman ranked the Flames 31st in the league in prospect depth. That’s fair, as basically every home-run, high-end prospect in their system is in the NHL – or knocking on the door in the cases of Valimaki and Dube. Everyone else has some question marks or limited sample sizes against high-end opposition, but the Flames have a pretty good amount of different types of gambles. They all don’t have to work out, just a couple of them.
Nine of us voted on lists this year. That means there are nine of us you get to disagree with.
Just about everyone had the same four or five players at the top of their lists, led by Valimaki (unanimous first) and Dube (unanimous second). From there, most of us had some combination of Pelletier, Phillips and Pettersen – though some of us had Pettersen a wee bit lower.
Other than that, two general trends:
- We all had the new Russians – Nikolayev, Zagidulin and Yelesin – all over the place. Four of us had Nikolayev ranked the highest, but the placement has tons of variation.
- Similarly, goalies were all over the place. Few of us had a goalie anywhere in our top 10 and we had a good amount of variation our top-ranked goalies: five had Parsons, three had Wolf, and one had Zagidulin.