Photo: Forward Tye McGinn has been one of the more pleasant surprises for the Philadelphia Flyers this season. McGinn has played in 16 NHL games with the Flyers. (courtesy of Nick Turchiaro/Icon SMI)
The Phantoms' franchise, even before it moved to Glens Falls to become the Adirondack Phantoms, has been in a state of struggle underneath a successful NHL franchise. This comes despite a large amount of success from drafted prospects. The Phantoms have not really been successful since winning the Calder Cup during the NHL lockout year of 2004-05. Two early exits from the postseason over the course of what will be seven seasons of hockey does not suggest a steady foundation of prospects on which to build an NHL franchise.
Photo: Lance Bouma may have seen another opportunity in the NHL during the 2013 season if a knee injury had not prematurely ended his campaign. (courtesy of Kathleen Hinkel/Icon SMI)
The Calgary Flames finished the 2007-08 regular season in seventh place and secured a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. The team was knocked out in the first round for the third straight year when the Flames lost a hard fought seven game series against the San Jose Sharks.
Photo: T.J. Brodie was a leader on the Abbotsford Heat's defensive corps before he was called up to Calgary, where he has recently skated in the Flames' top-four. (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
The Abbotsford Heat finished comfortably in fourth place in the AHL Western Conference for the 2011-12 regular season, playing in the Calder Cup Playoffs after missing them in the previous year. The Heat swept through the first round but was beaten in five games by the Toronto Marlies in the second round of the playoffs. The team lost to a Marlies team that would end up playing for the Calder Cup.
Photo: After spending most of his 2011-12 season with the Flames, center Roman Horak has opened his 2012-13 season with a goal-per-game pace for Abbotsford in the AHL. (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
After years of poor draft selections, trading away draft picks to try to win now, and bad development of their prospects, the Calgary Flames have slowly improved their organizational depth and talent pool over the last few years. The Flames still have a lot of work to do in order for their farm system to be where a smaller market team, in today's NHL cap world, needs to be for success as a franchise.