2021 TSP: Calgary Flames Prospects

Matthew Coronato Scouting Report, 2021 Calgary Flames Prospects

Welcome to the 2021 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2021 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. You can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2021 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the 2021 Calgary Flames Prospects.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2021-22 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

2021 Calgary Flames Prospects

Flames Off-Season

The Flames off-season started on a real down note as team captain and 2019 Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Giordano’s departure leaves a real hole on the Flames blue line and in the dressing room. The team went out in free agency and gave two-time Stanley Cup Champion Blake Coleman a six-year deal. They also traded for defenceman Nikita Zadorov and goaltender Daniel Vladar. Overall though, the moves feel a bit underwhelming for a team looking to improve after missing the playoffs. If the Flames are going to improve and get back into the playoffs, they will need much of that improvement to come internally.

2021 NHL Draft Picks: Matthew Coronato, William StromgrenCole HuckinsCameron Whynot, Cole Jordan, Jack Beck, Lucas Ciona, Arsenii Sergeev
Graduations: Juuso Valimaki,

 

2021 Top Calgary Flames Prospect: Matthew Coronato

The Flames drafted Coronato with the 13th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Coronato. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#2 Prospect: Connor Zary

Center — shoots Left
Born September 25th, 2001 — Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Height 6’0″ — Weight 180 lbs [183 cm/82 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 1st Round, #24 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

Things started slow for Zary, as he put up just two assists in seven games for Team Canada at the World Juniors. He came home with a silver medal. However, Zary would make up for that disappointment with an outstanding season. In nine games with the Stockton Heat, he put up three goals and seven points. He also played 15 games with Kamloops in the WHL. Zary put up six goals and 24 points.

Skating

Zary is a good skater, if somewhat unconventional. His stride can be a bit short and choppy at times, but this doesn’t seem to take away from his speed. He is still above average in terms of his top-end speed and he reaches that quickly with good acceleration. Zary also has very good agility and edgework. This helps him to get around defenders, both with and without the puck. Strong backwards skating also helps him to play a 200-foot game. Zary has a strong stride, that helps him to fight through checks and get to the dirty areas of the ice. It also helps him to work along the boards. If he can improve his lower body strength, this will improve even more going forward.

Offensive Game

Zary is at his best working in the dirty areas of the ice. He gets to the front of the net both with and without the puck. From there he can bang in a rebound, deflect a teammate’s shot into the net, or one-time a quick pass on goal. He can produce points in the dirty areas of the ice. Zary is willing to battle for loose pucks along the boards. He is also good at creating pressure on the forecheck, forcing opposing defenders to make quick decisions and capitalizing on their mistakes if they don’t. Zary’s stick-handling is strong and he protects the puck well on the cycle and makes plays in the slot. He has good vision and passing skills allowing him to set up teammates for scoring chances.

Zary can also score with a good wrist shot or snapshot. His shots are hard and accurate They also feature a quick release. Zary is a smart player who anticipates the movements of his teammates. He gets open without the puck and sets himself up to take that pass, fire that puck on the net, or quickly keep it moving and get it to a teammate. He often makes the smart play with the puck on his stick. Zary showed improved offence and was even more creative last year, showing off excellent playmaking ability.

Defensive Game

Zary plays a two-hundred-foot game, as he is not afraid to be involved in his own end. He brings good back-pressure and helps his team’s defence down low. He supports teammates against the cycle game. Zary also uses his high-end hockey IQ in his own end. His positioning is solid, he reads opponents well and he has the anticipation and an active stick necessary to create turnovers. Zary is also willing to play physically along the boards or in front of the net.

Zary does the little things right and helps his team to win games. He is willing to put his body on the line to block a shot. He is also strong in the faceoff circle. Zary is a natural leader and his teammates follow his on-ice example. He can also play against the opponent’s top lines and on the penalty kill as he has done in the WHL.

Projection and Comparison

Zary is the type of player who will be loved by his coaches, no matter where he is playing. His solid all-around game means that he can be used in any situation, from the power-play to the penalty kill. If Zary reaches his potential he can be a top-six centre at the NHL level. He will likely find himself with Stockton to start the year. He could use the time playing on the top line and in all situations. Zary could be NHL-ready as early as 2022.

 

#3 Prospect: Jakob Pelletier

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born March 7th, 2001 — Quebec City, Quebec
Height 5’09” — Weight 160 lbs [175 cm / 73 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 1st Round, #26 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Pelletier also played for Team Canada at the World Juniors, scoring three goals and seven points in seven games and coming home with a silver medal. He was dominant in the QMJHL, putting up 13 goals and 43 points in 28 games with Val-d’Or. The strong play continued in the playoffs where he put up five goals and 23 points in 15 games. His season was good enough to see Pelletier named to the QMJHL First All Star Team.

Skating

Pelletier is an undersized playmaker with outstanding speed. His speed allows him to take a defender wide and cut to the net. Once he gets a step on his man, he can drop his shoulder and cut to the net. He pairs this with a very good first step and outstanding acceleration. Pelletier wins races to loose pucks on a consistent basis. He also has excellent edgework and agility. His ability to change directions very quickly makes him very difficult to contain, both off the rush and in the cycle game. Pelletier skates with a low centre of gravity and has a lot of power in his stride. He can fight through checks and win battles along the boards but will need to continue to add muscle to his frame before going to play against professionals.

Offensive Game

Pelletier is known more as a playmaker than a goal scorer. He has an excellent hockey IQ. Pelletier anticipates plays. He knows where his teammates are and is able to thread passes through tight areas. He has the patience to wait for a linemate to get open and in a good scoring position. His quick movements and good hands allow him to control the puck down low. Pelletier uses his skating skills to create space and openings. Defenders must back off and respect his speed. When this happens he can slow down the play and find an opening passing lane. He also creates passing lanes with his quick changes of direction as well as his soft hands changing angles against defenders.

While his playmaking ability is seen as Pelletier’s biggest strength, he can also score goals. Pelletier has the soft hands to finish in tight to the net. He is not afraid to take the puck to the net and make plays. Pelletier also has a good shot. He has a real knack for slipping away from defenders and find open space to get his shot off. Pelletier plays the game as a pest. He is in the middle of nearly every scrum and drives opponents crazy with his antics after the play

Defensive Game

Pelletier needs some work on his defensive game. His positioning and ability to cut down passing lanes could use some work. When he does make a play he can quickly transition to offence. However, Pelletier’s lack of size creates issues, especially when he is supporting the defence down low. Pelletier has some difficulty in containing bigger forwards down low and will need to add muscle in order to be more effective.

Outlook

The biggest question about Pelletier concerns his size. He is a dynamic offensive talent at the junior level and could develop into a similar type of player at the NHL level. Pelletier will need some time though. He has to continue to add muscle to his frame and needs some time in the AHL. Expect to see him with Stockton next year.

 

#4 Prospect: Connor Mackey

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born September 12th, 1996 — Tower Lakes, Illinois
Height 6’2″ — Weight 190 [188 cm/86 kg]
Signed by the Calgary Flames as an undrafted free agent, March 2020.

After a solid college career with Minnesota State (Mankato), Mackey signed with the Flames last spring. He proved his worth in his first pro season. Mackey got in six games with the Flames, scoring a goal and three points. He also played 27 games with Stockton, scoring three goals and 16 points in 27 games. Mackey also represented Team USA at the World Championships, picking up one assist in seven games and winning a bronze medal.

Skating

Mackey’s strong skating allows him to be effective at both ends of the ice. He has a long, powerful stride. Mackey has very good acceleration in both directions. He also has good speed. Mackey’s excellent agility and edgework help him at both ends of the ice. He moves well laterally and can walk the line in the offensive zone. Mackey is also effective at keeping attackers in front of him and maintaining good gap control. He has excellent pivots that allow him to transition from offence to defence quickly, and vice-versa. He also has the size to battle in the corners and in front of the net at the college level and did a good job there. However, he could stand to add more muscle to his frame to improve even more at the professional level.

Offensive Game

Mackey combines his skating with strong puck handling skills. He gets the puck up the ice quickly, starting the transition game. Mackey can skate the puck out of danger in his own end, avoiding forecheckers. He also can lead the rush through the neutral zone, generating effective zone entries. His lateral agility allows him to walk the line and open up passing and shooting lanes on the power play. Mackey has poise, vision and passing skills to quarterback the play from the point at the college level, but his ceiling is likely a second pairing power-play player in the NHL. He can make a pass through a small passing lane to set up a scoring chance.

Mackey also has a good slap shot. While not a howitzer, it has decent power. He is also good at getting off his one-timer, even if the pass isn’t quite perfect. Mackey understands to keep it low and on the net to allow teammates to get tip-ins and rebounds. He also has the ability to sneak in from the point and let off his wrist shot at the top of the face-off circle. His shot features decent power and accuracy. Mackey has the hands to get it off with a quick release.

Defensive Game

Mackey is also strong defensively. His strong skating allows him to stay with his man and maintain good gap control. He could stand to add some upper body strength but Mackey is not afraid to play physically. He will hit a player who tries to get by him along the boards. Mackey is also willing to battle in the corners and in front of the net. Mackey is good at cutting down passing lanes with good positioning and his active stick. When a turnover is created, Mackey is effective at moving the puck up the ice and transitioning to offence.

Outlook

After a solid first pro season, Mackey appears to be NHL ready. He does not have a lot of weaknesses but could stand to be a bit stronger. His upside might be questioned as well.  However, Mackey could grow into a solid middle-pair defender with the offence to quarterback the second power-play unit and kill penalties. For now, though, expect Mackey to start on the third pair as he grows into minutes at the NHL level.

 

#5 Prospect: Dustin Wolf

Goalie — shoots Left — catches Left
Born April 16th, 2001 — Tustin, California
Height 6’0″ — Weight 161 lbs [183 cm/73 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 7th Round, #214 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Wolf played two games as the backup goalie with Team USA at the World Juniors, stopping all 21 shots he faced in the tournament. He also played three games for the Heat, with a 3.24 goals-against-average and an .895 save-percentage. Wolf also played 22 games for the Everett Silvertips in the WHL. He put up a 1.80 goals-against-average and .940 save-percentage.

Skating and Talent Analysis

Wolf has a strong technique. He comes out of the net and challenges shooters. At just 6’0″, Wolf is small compared to what teams are looking for in a modern goaltender, but his ability to get to the top of the crease helps him to take up as much space as possible. His quick reflexes and strong legs take away the bottom of the net. Wolf also tracks the puck well and moves side-to-side exceptionally quick. He also gets in and out of the butterfly well, getting up and down quickly.

He is very athletic and can make incredible saves at times. A quick glove hand takes away the top of the net, while he also uses his blocker effectively. His rebound control is advanced for his age, though like most young goaltenders it can continue to improve. He keeps his body square to the shooter. This is true even when he gives up a rebound, as he is always in the right position to minimize the amount of net the opponent can see and make the next save.

Stickhandling

Wolf is also strong handling the puck. He can act as a third defenceman, starting the breakout and transition for the team. He even makes the long pass if the opposing team gets caught on a line change. Wolf loves to get out of his net and play the puck. He is very aggressive in doing so. He also uses his stick to poke check opponents and make saves that way.

Mental Make-Up

Wolf is a leader for the Silvertips. It is obvious that the defence looks to him as a leader. He is calm and cool, even when facing heavy traffic. Wolf also understands when to keep the play going by playing the puck to his defencemen and starting the breakup as well as when his team is under pressure and needs to get a whistle.

Outlook

Goaltenders take time to develop and Wolf should be no different. Expect him to make his way to the AHL this season, playing some big minutes for Stockton. While his size is not ideal, he has every other skill that a team is looking for in a young goaltender. He has already shown a strong mentality and the ability to succeed in a high-pressure situation after succeeding Carter Hart in Everett. If he develops properly, Wolf could become a franchise-level goaltender in the NHL. He should still be a few years away though.

 

#6 Prospect: William Stromgren

The Flames drafted Stromgren with the 45th overall pick in this year’s NHL draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Stomgren. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#7 Prospect: Adam Ruzicka

Center — shoots Left
Born May 11th, 1999 — Bratislava, Slovakia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 203 lbs [193 cm / 92 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 4th round, #109 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft

Ruzicka had a solid season in his second pro campaign. He put up 11 goals and 21 points in 28 games for Stockton. He also made his NHL debut, playing three games for the Flames. Ruzicka even picked up his first NHL point, an assist.

Skating

At 6-foot-4 Ruzicka has excellent size. His skating is decent, especially given his size. However, it also does not stand out. His first step is clunky and his acceleration needs some work. However, once he does get going Ruzicka moves pretty well. He also has power in his lower body, fighting through checks when at his best. He is strong on the puck and can cycle down low as well as win battles along the boards. Ruzicka isn’t the lightest on his feet though and could use some work on his agility and edge work.

Offensive Game

There is a lot of skill here. Ruzicka can play a power forward style of game. When he is at his best, he works the puck along the boards and out of the corners and drives it to the front of the net. He has the hands necessary to bury pucks in close. Ruzicka also has an excellent wrist shot and snapshot. He can also play the role of playmaker. Ruzicka has the ability to make saucer passes, or to get the puck through tight spaces. He has the vision to wait for a teammate to get open. Ruzicka makes tape-to-tape passes in good areas. When Ruzicka is on his game, his size and power can make him very effective in protecting the puck, working the cycle game, and waiting for an opportunity.

Criticized for a lack of consistency earlier in his OHL career, Ruzicka has really improved this aspect of his game, even now up in the AHL. There are still some nights where he seems content to sit on the perimeter and not get involved in the dirty areas of the ice but these are becoming a lot fewer and farther between. Ruzicka is doing a better job of getting involved in the physical game and battling for loose pucks along the boards. As he gets ready to move on to the Flames, Ruzicka must continue this as a lack of intensity will not be forgiven in the NHL.

Defensive Game

Like his offensive game, Ruzicka has improved his defensive work since being drafted. He has greatly reduced the number of games where he lacks intensity. Generally, Ruzicka is solid on the backcheck, supporting the defence down low, as well as using his stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes. He also can get out of position, even when he is playing well. He continues to need a bit more coaching and work on this.

Outlook

Ruzicka will compete in camp to win a spot on the Flames and tries to avoid another season in Stockton. The Flames hope he will continue to improve his intensity and consistency as he sees his game translate to the pros. He could very well make the team full-time this year. Even if he doesn’t, expect him to be amongst the first forwards called up by Calgary.

 

#8 Prospect: Yan Kuznetsov

Defence — shoots Left
Born March 9th, 2002 — Murmansk, Russia
Height 6’4″ — Weight 209 lbs [193 cm/95 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 2nd round, #50 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

Kuznetsov represented Russia at the World Juniors but was held pointless in the tournament, and finished in fourth place. He had some offensive success in the NCAA with a goal and six points in 16 games in his sophomore season with the University of Connecticut. Kuznetsov has chosen to go pro, signing in the spring. He was also held pointless in his six games with Stockton.

Skating

Kuznetsov’s skating is a bit of a work in progress. His top-end speed and acceleration going forwards are about average, or maybe a touch below. However, he is a lot better in his backwards skating (comparatively), as he is above average. He also has good edgework, agility and pivots. This allows him to get around the ice well enough and play an effective defensive game. He is strong on his skates when playing against his peers. His balance is good and he has the ability to win battles for loose pucks and clear the front of the net. However, there is room to add muscle to his frame and this can get even better.

Offensive Game

Kuznetsov has a powerful slap shot from the point. His wrist shot also has good power but he could stand to improve the release. He is also able to retrieve pucks in his own end of the ice, make a quick move to avoid a forechecker and make a smart pass up the ice to start the transition game. A stay-at-home defender, he does not join the rush often. Similarly, Kuznetsov is likely to look to keep the puck moving and make the safe pass when the puck is on his stick in the offensive zone.

Defensive Game

The bread and butter of Kuznetsov’s game are in the defensive end of the ice. He uses his strong lateral mobility and backwards skating to maintain excellent gap control. Kuznetsov forces defenders to the outside and away from good shooting areas. If attackers don’t keep their heads up, he can explode into a hit. He also uses his active stick to knock the puck away from opponents. Kuznetsov stays close and puts pressure on attackers. He is also strong on the boards, fighting for loose pucks, pinning his man, and winning his battles. As Kuznetsov continues to mature, he should get stronger and be even more effective in this area of his game. His ability to move the puck out of the zone and transition up the ice helps to minimize the amount of time that opponents spend in his end of the ice.

Kuznetsov does a good job of containing his man in the cycle. He keeps him on the perimeter and cuts down the passing lanes to the middle of the ice. Kuznetsov is also strong away from the puck. He clears the front of the net and uses his size to his advantage. This is another area where he should get even better with maturity. Kuznetsov is a smart player. He reads the play well and anticipates what opponents are going to do, helping him to get to the right spot. Kuznetsov is also willing to put his body on the line and block shots.

Projection and Comparison

Kuznetsov could develop into a top-four defenceman if things go well. He would be the anchor on his pair, a defensive complement to a defender who likes to rush the puck. He’s unlikely to make much of an impact on a power play or put up a lot of points but can be effective on the penalty kill. A big defender, Kuznetsov is a bit lanky and still has room to get stronger. He is likely headed to Stockton this season.

#9 Prospect: Daniel Vladar

Goalie — shoots Left – catches Left
Born August 20th, 1997 — Prague, Czech Republic
Height 6’5″ — Weight 185 lbs [196 cm / 84 kg]
Drafted by the Boston Bruins in the 3rd round, #75 overall, at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

The Flames acquired Vladar from the Bruins in July. Last season he played six games in the Czech league, putting up a 1.29 goals against average and .956 save percentage. He also played 10 games in the AHL for the Providence Bruins. Vladar had a 2.19 goals-against-average and .923 save percentage. He also played five games with Boston, putting up a 3.40 goals-against average and .886 save percentage.

Skating and Talent Analysis

At 6-foot-5, Vladar possesses the ideal size that teams are looking for in a modern goaltender. He has good skating and athleticism. Vladar is willing to come out of the net and challenge shooters. His quick legs allow him to retreat quickly if an attacker comes in and tries to deke him. They also do a very good job taking away the bottom of the net. He flashes them out quickly to make saves. Vladar also gets down in the butterfly quickly. With his height, he is also able to take away the top of the net even when on his knees. However, he does give up a lot of rebounds when shooting high. He doesn’t have much control when making blocker saves and he could also improve his glove side. He isn’t beaten often there but doesn’t catch as many shots as he should.

Vladar moves side-to-side quickly but can use some work tracking the puck. He can sometimes overslide and get himself out of position. Or he can also look for a shot in the middle of the ice when the pass went all the way across. Vladar also has some issues with closing his five-hole. This is often an issue for big goalies when they are young. These are areas he will need to keep working on if he wants to be a starting goalie in the NHL.

Puckhandling

Vladar does not come out of his net often to play the puck. This is a good thing, as it can be an adventure when he does. His athleticism and skating allows him to stop the puck behind the net on long dump-ins and leave it for a defender, but don’t expect much more from him than that.

Mental Makeup

Vladar is a leader on the ice. His teammates clearly like him and are willing to work hard to help him. He is calm in the net and they can draw on this when things get stressful or his team is under siege. Vladar is quick to recover from goals against. He quickly forgets a bad goal and does not let things spiral out of control.

Outlook

It would appear that the Flames are looking for Vladar to backup Jacob Markstrom this season. He struggled with the Bruins during the season though, so he will need to impress in training camp and pre-season to lock down the job. If he doesn’t, the Flames could look elsewhere via a start of season waiver pickup or early-season trade.  The Flames seem to have faith in him though, as evidenced by the trade with Boston and not doing anything else with their goaltending this summer.

 

#10 Prospect: Jeremie Poirier

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born June 2nd, 2002 — Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec
Height 6’1″ — Weight 196 lbs [185 cm/89 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 3rd Round, #72 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

Poirier had another excellent season for Saint John. He scored nine goals and 37 points in 33 games for the Sea Dogs. He also added four goals and nine points in six playoff games. Poirier remains a dynamic force in the QMJHL.

Skating

Poirier is a very good skater and showed a big jump in this area of his game between his first and second QMJHL season. He has very good speed, a quick first step, and good acceleration in both directions. He is able to get up and down the ice with ease. His agility and edgework are very good, as are his smooth pivots. This ability to move laterally, as well as his quickness when transitioning from offence to defence and vice-versa are big assets in his game. He has good size at 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds already. The 19-year-old defender could still add muscle and become stronger though. This would help him to be more physical and in playing in front of his net and in the corners.

Offensive Game

Poirier is a dynamic offensive defencemen. As stated, he really improved his skating this past year. He combines this with his stickhandling ability to effectively carry the puck through the neutral zone, starting and even leading the rush. Poirier is very effective at generating good zone entries and establishing possession in the offensive zone. There are some times that he tries to do a bit too much though, leading to a bad turnover and a rush against him. Poirier is also willing to join the rush and try to generate opportunities as a trailer. While this style is effective in generating a lot of points, it can leave his team vulnerable at the back as well. He will need to learn to better pick his spots.

Inside the zone, Poirier has an excellent shot. He utilizes both his slap shot and his wrist shots effectively. They are both strong and accurate. He gets his shots on the net by walking the line and creating passing lanes. He is also a good passer. Poirier can start the rush with an effective first pass, can set up teammates and quarterback the play from the point on the power play, and can also set up plays while rushing the puck. In terms of offensive ability, he really does bring a lot from the back end.

Defensive Game

Poirier has been inconsistent defensively.  There are times where he shows strong positioning and instincts in his own zone, and there are others where he looks lost. His active stick cuts down passing lanes, while Poirier is willing to use his body to block shots. His ability to retrieve dump-ins and move the puck up the ice also helps reduce zone time. However, Poirier can be prone to major gaffes as well, whether it is making a brutal giveaway with a bad pass, or trying to do too much and losing the puck, it is an area of concern. These plays are what keeps him closer to the end of the first round than the top of it.

Outlook

Poirier is a real boom or bust pick. The offensive tools are all there, but the defensive gaffes he makes will also drive coaches crazy. However, it is often said that one can’t teach offensive ability and Poirier has that in spades. The Flames will need to be patient and hope that their development group can help him find consistency in his defensive game. If that happens, the upside here is immense, but of course, it is no sure thing. Poirier should be back in the QMJHL this season.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Emilio Pettersen

Left Wing — shoots Left
Born April 3rd, 2000 — Oslo, Norway
Height 5’10” — Weight 170 lbs [178 cm/77 kg]
Drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 6th round, #167 overall at the 2018 NHL Draft

After signing his first pro contract, Pettersen spent the majority of the season with Stockton. He scored six goals and 14 points in 29 games with Stockton. He also played for Norway at the men’s World Championship, scoring one goal in six games.

Skating

Pettersen is a very good skater. His top-end speed is very good but it is his acceleration that really stands out. Pettersen’s ability to change speeds, both with and without the puck, allows him to fool defenders. Once he gets a step on them, he can really turn it on and head to the net. If the defenders back off, he can use the space created as a passing lane to set up a teammate. He is also very shifty, with excellent agility and edgework, allowing him to maneuver through traffic. He could stand to get stronger on his skates though, as Pettersen can sometimes be pushed off the puck and struggles to win battles in the corners and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Pettersen is much more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. He is very creative and will make plays that other players won’t even attempt. Pettersen also combines his skating ability with outstanding stickhandling ability. He can make moves with the puck while moving at top speed. He can also make plays in a phone booth, with the quickness to deke players and goalies in tight areas. A quick change in angles on his stick and with his skating can also open up passing lanes. Pettersen has excellent vision and the passing ability to put the puck through tight spaces and on his teammate’s tape for a scoring chance.

Pettersen’s goals mostly come from in close to the net. His wrist shot and snapshot are accurate and also feature quick releases. However, they lack power and he has trouble scoring from further out. He is more likely to deke a goalie in close or score off a pass from a teammate or banging in a rebound than he is to wire a shot past a goalie. It is hoped that with added upper-body strength and work on his shot he can develop it a bit more. This should also help him battle for loose pucks and space in front of the net.

Defensive Game

Pettersen is willing to backcheck and provide support to the defence down low. However, his lack of size and strength can be a limiting factor here as he has some trouble containing opposing forwards with size. He is strong positionally, cutting down passing lanes and looking to create turnovers. When one is created, Pettersen is able to transition quickly to create offensive opportunities.

Outlook

Pettersen heads back to Stockton for his second pro season. He should be given even more ice-time and responsibility this year. If he can build on a strong freshman campaign, Pettersen could be competing for a spot in Calgary in 2022.

 

Other 2021 Calgary Flames Prospects to Watch

The Flames really improved their depth with a solid 2021 NHL Draft including eight picks. There was a real need for that as things aren’t quite as deep as other NHL teams. Still, there are players worth watching beyond the players mentioned above and recently drafted. In goal, the Flames also have Tyler Parsons, Daniil Chechelev, and Adam Werner. They are further down the depth chart, but goalies are voodoo and you never know when one will be a late bloomer.

On the blueline, prospects to watch include Ilya Solovyov, Johannes Kinnvall, and Jake Boltmann. Forward prospects worth keeping an eye on include Emil Heineman, Ryan Francis, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, Glenn Gawdin, Martin Pospisil, Matthew Phillips, Eetu Tuulola, Walker Duehr, Lucas Feuk, Demetrios Koumontzis, Ilya Nikolayev, and Josh Nodler.

 

2021 Calgary Flames Prospects Main Photo:


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