Flames AHL prospects update

By Gregory Maker

This is the first year of play for the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, a full affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Last year the Flames sent prospects to the AHL Lowell Lock Monsters.

Nine of the Flames prospects playing for the new team were free agent signees by the organization, rather than draft picks.

Goaltenders

Brent Krahn
Drafted: 9th, 2000
Height/Weight: 6’4, 211 lbs.

Krahn, with a 7-8-6 record, is not having as good of a year with the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights as he had in 2004-05 with the Lowell Lock Monsters. The Flames’ first round selection in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft has seen his GAA increase to 2.65 from 2.49 last season and his save percentage is also down to .912 from .923.

Omaha is tied for 24th in offense in a 27-team league, leaving the goaltender with more responsibility. Krahn has posted two shutouts for the team, but has also lost six shootouts this season. The third-year pro is likely to spend the entire season in Omaha, but should be the first call-up in case of injury. Krahn is still seen as the goaltender of the future in Calgary.

Curtis McElhinney
Drafted: 176th, 2002
Height/Weight: 6’2, 207 lbs.

A graduate of Colorado College last year, McElhinney has been nothing short of spectacular this season. McElhinney is fifth among AHL goaltenders who have played at least 10 AHL games with a 2.21 GAA and his.921 save percentage is seventh best in the AHL. However, he only has a 6-6-1 record in 17 games for a team with a 13-14-1-7 overall record.

McElhinney, a Calgary native, completed a stunning career in the WCHA last season. His senior season ended with 21 wins in 25 games played with a .927 percentage. Though his record does not reflect it, the 22-year-old McElhinney is one of the top goaltenders in the AHL splitting time equally with Brent Krahn.

Defensemen

Richie Regehr
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’0, 205 lbs.

Richie Regehr, the younger brother of Flames’ defenseman Robyn Regehr, has stepped up his game in his sophomore season. He already has 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) in 31 games compared to 25 points in 64 games a year ago with Lowell. Two of his goals have come on the power play, his other was scored short-handed. Regehr is fourth on the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in scoring.

Regehr is a playmaker out of the WHL. He is beginning to take charge from the point for Omaha, as he is second on the team in assists and only one of three players in double digits in that category. Regehr was called up to Calgary on Dec. 26, but has yet to appear in a game.

Brett Palin
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’2, 203 lbs.

Palin brings big game experience to the Flames organization. He competed in two Memorial Cup tournaments and captured it in 2004 with Kelowna. Palin has only 3 assists and 25 penalty minutes in 33 games. He has a +1 plus/minus rating, one of only three players on the team with a positive rating. Palin was one of four players signed over the summer as a free agent.

Mike Giordano
Free agent signee
Height Weight: 6’0, 203 lbs.

Giordano was another undrafted player out of the CHL. Giordano, a product of the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, has shown his signing to be a wise one. He leads Omaha in assists with 21, and is second on the team in points with 26. Last season Giordano had 16 points with the Lowell Lock Monsters in 66 games. Giordano has already taken 70 penalty minutes in 35 games, compared to 85 all of last season. Three of his four goals have come on the power play.

Giordano, 22, needs to improve defensively, currently a -4. The Toronto, Ontario native cannot rely on offensive skill to make it to the NHL.

Steve Marr
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’2, 207 lbs.

Marr was added to bolster up the Calgary defensive pipeline, but has not played well this season. In 21 games the rookie has a –7 plus/minus rating. The 21-year-old has not recorded a point, but has 22 penalty minutes.

Marr, who helped Medicine Hat win the 2004 WHL title, is a depth player in Omaha. It is unlikely he will stick with the organization long unless he improves his game.

Forwards

Eric Nystrom
Drafted: 10th, 2002
Height/Weight: 6’1, 195 lbs.

The rookie continues his checking role at the pro level, which led him to success at the University of Michigan. Nystrom has played 33 games this year for the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights recording 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists). Nystrom is a very disciplined player. The Syosset, NY native has only taken 15 penalty minutes this season.

Nystrom, the son of former New York Islanders’ great Bob Nystrom, plays a lot like his father. He is an aggressive two-way forward with a knack for defense. Nystrom relies on hard work. He is not the most talented player, but he plays a responsible game. The rookie played two games for Calgary before being returned to Omaha to continue his development on Oct. 16.

Brandon Prust
Drafted: 70th, 2004
Height/Weight: 6’0, 195 lbs.

Fresh off a Memorial Cup championship with the London Knights, Prust has played 34 games for Omaha this season. Prust is a grinder in all aspects of his game. He does not score much, with only 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) this season, but plays a hardworking, aggressive style. Prust is second on the team in penalty minutes with 109.

Prust, 21, was not drafted until he was 20. However, he might be a diamond in the rough. His grit and determination will ultimately determine his NHL future.

Tomi Maki
Drafted: 108th, 2001
Height/Weight: 5’11, 192 lbs.

After four seasons in the SM-Liiga with Jokerit Helsinki, Maki made his North American hockey debut this season for the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights. The 22-year-old from Helsinki, Finland is making a smooth transition to the smaller rink. He has 17 points in 35 games thus far, and is fourth on the team in goals with eight. Five of those goals have come on the power play. Maki is disciplined taking only 17 penalty minutes this season, but must improve his defensive game. He has a team low –10 plus/minus rating.

On a team that does not score a lot of goals, Maki has made his contribution. His best asset is his ability to play any of the forward positions, although he mostly plays the right wing.

David Moss
Drafted: 220th, 2001
Height/Weight: 6’3, 200 lbs.

Moss, a teammate of Eric Nystrom at the University of Michigan the last four seasons, joins the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights for his rookie season as well. Moss, characterized as a grinder, is surprisingly tied for third on the team in scoring with 19 points and second in goals with 10. He has only taken 12 penalty minutes, a rarity for a player with a style like his, especially in the now obstruction-free league. The Livonia, MI native will be 24 on Dec. 28.

Carsen Germyn
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 5’10, 185 lbs.

Germyn, 23, was never drafted due to his size. However, with the new rules in place, Germyn is looking like a good fit for the Flames. The Campbell River, British Columbia native leads the Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in points (27) and goals (15) in his third pro season. He has played in 33 games thus far with a +3 plus/minus rating, second on the team.

Germyn has passed his point and goal total from last season in Lowell in half the games. Germyn is looking like another excellent find by the Flames. After playing a season and a half for Darryl Sutter’s brother Brent in Red Deer of the WHL, Germyn made his AHL debut in 2003-04 for the Norfolk Admirals. He was signed as a free agent by Calgary before the 2004-05 season.

Justin Taylor
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’4, 210 lbs.

At 6’4, 210 pounds, Taylor is one of the biggest players in the AHL. A centerman, Taylor has passed last season’s output in Lowell where he recorded 11 points in 62 games. This season, Taylor has 13 points in 28 games including a career-high six assists. Three of his six goals have come on the power play. The Edmonton, Alberta native was a teammate of Germyn with Red Deer of the WHL in 2003-04 as well as last season in Lowell. The two players are similar, learning under Brent Sutter’s exceptional coaching system. Taylor was signed by the Flames in 2004 to add more depth to the organization up the middle. His size should get him serious consideration for a spot on the Flames roster in the future. For now he will continue to develop in Omaha. Taylor will be 23 on Jan. 1.

Derek Couture
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’1, 205 lbs.

Couture makes his pro hockey debut this season after 254 career games in the WHL with Saskatoon and Seattle. Couture, 21, continues GM Darryl Sutter’s trend of signing locals of the Alberta region. After a career high in points last season (38) for Seattle, Couture he has only 2 assists in 23 games. He has been used sparingly for Omaha.

Couture has not lived up to his reputation as an agitator in the AHL with only 24 penalty minutes. In his WHL career, he ended with 578 penalty minutes. Couture’s future relies on his toughness and willingness to fight. So far, he has not stepped up in pro hockey, but the rookie has time to develop.

Warren Peters
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’0, 201 lbs.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan native played five seasons for his hometown team, the Saskatoon Blades at the junior level. In the WHL, the 23-year-old improved his total every season. Peters was not drafted out of juniors and made his pro hockey debut in 2002-03 with the Portland Pirates of the AHL playing in only one game.

The transition has not been easy for Peters. He spilt the 2003-04 season with Utah (AHL) and Idaho (ECHL). Last season, in the talent rich AHL, Peters did not crack a roster. He played 69 games for Idaho in the ECHL recording 46 points while fighting his way to131 penalty minutes. Peters’ hard work and determination have paid off as he is now seeing full time action in Omaha. In 32 games he has 11 points (7 goals, 4 assists), 43 penalty minutes, and an even plus/minus rating. Peters reads the ice well and is big enough to not be pushed around.

ECHL

Adam Pardy, D
Drafted: 173rd, 2004
Height/Weight: 6’4, 223 lbs.

Pardy begins his pro career this season after spending two full seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL. Pardy has four assists and 39 penalty minutes in 23 games this season for the Las Vegas Wranglers who currently lead the ECHL in points. Pardy has been called up twice to Omaha, most recently on Dec. 20. The St. John’s, Newfoundland native has played in five AHL games this season.

Pardy, 21, is another player drafted overage by the Flames. He was 20 at the time of his selection. With a strong defensive pipeline, Pardy will likely spend most of the season in the ECHL. He is a work in progress, but a player his size usually takes longer to develop.

Thomas Bellemare, F
Drafted: 206th, 2003
Height/Weight: 6’3, 226 lbs.

Bellemare is an enforcer for Las Vegas, with 59 penalty minutes in 17 games this season. Bellemare has scored three goals this season, one on the power play, and one short-handed. He has a plus/minus rating of +3.Bellemare earned a call-up for two games for Omaha where he recorded five penalty minutes. The Shawinigan, Quebec native will have to rely on fighting and standing up for teammates if he has any shot at advancement in pro hockey. Bellemare should stay in Las Vegas for the season. However, if an enforcer is needed in Omaha, he should be the first player called up.

Darren Lynch, F
Free agent signee
Height/Weight: 6’0, 180 lbs.

After a solid rookie campaign last season for Las Vegas, Lynch is at it again. In 19 games this season, Lynch has six points (3 goals, 3 assists). Lynch played four games in October for Omaha recording two assists. Lynch’s future is likely in the minor leagues.

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.