Photo: Joni Ortio is currently in his first full season of North American professional hockey. Through eight games with the Abbotsford Heat he has a goals against average of 2.88 and a record of 1-4. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Abbotsford Heat have so far had a successful 2011-12 campaign. After a disappointing year in 2010-11, they find themselves not only in the upper echelon of their conference, but vying for their second playoff appearance in franchise history.
Though most of the Flames prospects playing for the Heat are of the "grinder" mold there are several who are showing top end potential.
Greg Nemisz, RW, 21
Photo: Tyler Wotherspoon has the tools to at least develop into a defensive defensemen if not much more. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/CHL Images)
In line with their recent drafting tendencies, the Calgary Flames have a number of top prospects playing in the Western Hockey League. Headlined by top prospect Sven Baertschi, Calgary also has a pair of forward prospects vying for spots on Team Canada's 2012 World Junior roster.
Sven Baertschi, LW, Portland Winterhawks
Acquired: 1st round (13th overall) in 2011
Sven Baertschi has very quickly shown why he was worthy of the 13th overall selection in the 2011 draft. Due to his time at Flames training camp, combined with an early season hip injury, Baertschi missed a significant amount of time at the start of the year. Despite these challenges he has managed to put up some impressive numbers. In just 24 games played this year Baertschi has posted 12 goals and 42 assists. His stunning rate of 2.25 points per game is best in the WHL.
Photo: Joni Ortio is currently playing for the Abbotsford Heat (AHL) where he is the backup to starter Leland Irving. (Photo courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Calgary Flames may be under the guidance of General Manager Jay Feaster, but there is still a powerful Sutter influence on the prospect pool. Although lacking in top end talent, the Calgary Flames can at least boast that their depth chart is full of players showing strong character, as well as promising two-way ability, in particular amongst the forward positions. Still even more heartening is the recent impact of some of the young players on the big club early in the season, notably T.J. Brodie, Paul Byron, and Roman Horak.
Top 10 Prospects
1. Greg Nemisz, RW
2. Mitch Wahl, C
3. T.J. Brodie, D
4. Ryan Howse, LW
5. John Negrin, D
6. Matt Pelech, D
7. Bryan Cameron, C
8. Keith Seabrook, D
9. Leland Irving, G
10. Logan MacMillan, LW