Friends, the Calgary Flames have been trying to make a push into Stanley Cup contention in recent years. While the results of that philosophy have admittedly been mixed, one of the costs of embracing that philosophy has been sending some picks and prospects out the door to upgrade the NHL roster for the present day. That trade-off is reflected in the Flames’ placement in TSN’s annual “Core Four” under-24 rankings, which place the club 28th in the NHL in that area.
STAR POWER: Dallas lives up to its team name with a constellation of young Stars as the NHL’s best, while the Senators and Canadiens show plenty of promise in our Core 4 U-24 ranking from @CraigJButton & @chrismpeters: https://t.co/xf4alTIw2W#TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/jRLEOcWps0
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) December 15, 2022
Per TSN, the exercise involved looking at players who hadn’t turned 24 yet as of the beginning of the 2022-23 season and examining their potentials. Teams with many, many promising assets below the age of 24 obviously performed better. Teams with fewer obviously performed worse. The rankings seem to be predicated on the amount of A and B-level prospects a team has in their pipeline.
The Flames, as noted, were 28th.
“No. 28 Calgary: The Flames are the only Canadian team whose list is headed up by a goalie: Calgary Wranglers’ netminder and 2020 Canadian Hockey League goalie of the year Dustin Wolf, a B-level prospect. Adam Ruzicka, 23, is the only U-24 player Calgary has used this season.”
TSN split prospects into five categories based on their potential:
- AAA: Superstars
- AA: Elite
- A: Number-one goalie, top-pair defencemen, first-line forward
- B: Tandem goalie, top-four defencemen, top-six forward
- C: Backup goalie, depth defenceman, bottom-six forward
They highlighted four B-level prospects in the Flames’ system: Dustin Wolf, Matt Coronato, Connor Zary and Adam Ruzicka. (Aside from perhaps underrating Wolf a little bit, this does seem about right given how many players the Flames have graduated to the NHL in recent years and the number of draft choices they’ve traded in the same period.)
What do you think about TSN’s assessment of the Flames’ prospect pool? Which Flames prospect do you feel is the most promising? Sound off in the comments!