2009-10: Ryan Culkin skated for the Lac Saint-Louis Lions midget AAA team in Quebec. In 19 regular season games he scored 4 goals with 2 assists and 10 penalty minutes and in 21 playoff games had 1 goal with 1 assist. Culkin was selected by the Quebec Remparts in the seventh round (122nd overall) of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft.
2010-11: Culkin played 40 games for Quebec in his first QMJHL season. The Remparts finished with the third-best record during the regular season and Culkin chipped in with 6 goals and 5 assists and was plus-one with 12 assists. Quebec reached the playoff semifinals and Culkin’s role steadily increased. He skated in all 18 playoff games and was plus-seven with 5 assists and 4 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Culkin appeared in 60 games for the Remparts in his second season. He scored 6 goals with 19 assists and was plus-nine with 28 penalty minutes. Quebec reached the second round after finishing third in the East Division during the season. In 10 playoff games Culkin had 7 assists and was plus-nine with 8 penalty minutes. He was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 66th amongst North American skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Calgary in the fifth round (124th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Culkin skated in 67 games for Quebec in his third QMJHL season. He scored 5 goals with a career-high 40 assists and was +28 with 46 penalty minutes. The Remparts finished third in the East Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Culkin scored 2 goals with 4 assists in 11 playoff games and was -1 with 10 penalty minutes.
2013-14: Culkin returned to Quebec for his fourth QMJHL season following Calgary’s training camp; finishing the year with Drummondville after being acquired from the Remparts in a trade deadline deal. In 65 regular season games between the two teams he scored 8 goals with 43 assists and was +1 (+6 with Drummondville) with 44 penalty minutes. The Voltigeurs finished third in the West Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Culkin scored 2 goals with 9 assists and was +7 with 6 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Flames in March 2014.
2014-15: Culkin played a prominent role for the AHL’s Adirondack Flames in his first year of pro hockey before suffering a season-ending injury in February when three tendons in his wrist were severed by a skate blade in a game against Utica. Frequently paired with veteran Corey Potter against the top opposition forwards before suffering his injury, Culkin scored 1 goal with 17 assists and was +7 with 18 penalty minutes in 37 games. Adirondack missed the AHL playoffs, finishing fourth in the North Division.
Culkin is a hard-working two-way blue liner who steadily improved during his time in the QMJHL. A strong skater with a low panic threshold, these skills serve him well at both ends of the ice. He is sometimes guilty of trying to do too much on the ice. Culkin has good size and is confident moving the puck as well as carrying it on the rush.. He has and excellent hockey IQ and the ability to create plays. Like many young players making the transition from junior to pro hockey he will need to continue adding strength and refining his skating and technical skills to compete at the NHL level.
Culkin returned from his wrist injury to play for the Flames' prospect team in Penticton and was having a solid camp for Calgary before suffering a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out for up to two months at the start of the 2015-16 season. Once healthy, he is expected to play a big role for new Flames' AHL affiliate Stockton. Long-term Culkin projects as an effective defender with some offensive flourishes to his game at the NHL level.