Top 20 Calgary Flames prospects highlighted by a spectrum of blueline talents

By Jason Lewis
Sam Bennett - Calgary Flames

Photo: Calgary Flames top prospect Sam Bennett doesn’t turn 20 until June but has used this season to become a full-time contributor to the offense (courtesy of Jose Quiroz/Icon Sportswire)

The Calgary Flames prospect pipeline is an interesting combination when you look at it top to bottom.There is some exceptional high-end talent coupled with some depth players and role players, who seem like grinders at best. In other words, there may be a lack of middle ground from the high to the low. Nevertheless, the team has on hand some really strong blue-line depth and some reasonable center depth with several individual players having strong years. This is a system bristling with high end talent, but there is some considerable risk as well. There are some big moves and a few surprises in this mid-season rank to boot, so strap in.

20. (10) Kenney Morrison, D, 7.0D
‏Signed as free agent, March 2015

‏Kenney Morrison’s exciting puck-moving style had a lot of people buzzing when he joined the Flames as a free agent out of Western Michigan. However, he is finding the AHL much more difficult than college hockey. The 23-year old has been in and out of the lineup, mainly due to the lapses defensively. He can produce offensively, skate well, and toss in power play minutes. However, he has to find a higher gear and continue to work on consistency in the defensive zone to improve his chances.

19. (NR) Keegan Kanzig, D, 6.0C
‏Drafted 3rd round, 67th overall, 2013

‏The massive 6’7” defenseman is having a pretty good year overall with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. While he will never light up the stat column offensively, he does have 11 goals which is way above his career high of three. He also is a massive body at 6’7 and 247 lbs, which you cannot teach. Mobility will be key moving forward, but there is potential with the kind of frame and attitude Kanzig brings.

18. (6) Joni Ortio, G, 7.0D
‏Drafted 6th round, 171st overall, 2009

‏Who knows which Joni Ortio is going to show up on any given night. Will it be the one that makes dazzling post to post saves or the one that lets in a no angle squeaker under the arm and short side? Answer is probably both. Therein lies the frustration of Joni Ortio. He has had opportunity with Calgary but has yet to be able to put together consistent efforts with solid fundamentals enough to be considered AHL caliber. He makes some truly tremendous saves when he guesses right though. His upside is still there, but his contract status and the amount of other prospect options in the Flames system puts Ortio’s future in doubt.

17. (11) Mason McDonald, G, 7.0C
‏Drafted 2nd round, 34th overall, 2014

‏The QMJHL is a brutal league for goaltenders, and one that may not be the best for McDonald’s style. While he is athletic, the Charlottetown Islanders’ McDonald is more a goalie of angles, which can be rough for the wide open Q game. He has posted an .897 save percentage through 33 games this season, which puts him among the top ten for starters in that league. He has also conceded almost three and a half goals per game on average. With the goaltending situation in Calgary currently in flux, it would be nice if there were more reassuring numbers from the 2nd rounder. That however is not the case, but it could be misleading.

16. (NR) John Gilmour, D, 6.5C
‏Drafted 7th round, 198th overall, 2013

‏He may just be benefiting from an altogether strong year from a loaded Providence team, but John Gilmour is still having a really good year for the Friars. He is second on the Friars in scoring from defensemen behind Blues prospect Jake Walman, which is even more impressive when you consider he has been playing primarily on the team’s third pair at 5v5 with secondary power play time peppered in. Maybe it is the situation or the team, but he is having a career year thus far worth noting and watching.

15. (NR) Pat Sieloff, D, 6.5C
‏Drafted 2nd round, 42nd overall, 2011

‏Sieloff is one of the most active defensemen on the Stockton roster. However, his often noticeable style of play has netted him few points, and more than a few questionable goals against. He is an aggressive, hard-hitting, and altogether fun defenseman to watch. However his decision making and over-exuberance can sometimes be an Achilles heel. Nevertheless, there is a lot of tenacious play to like with him if he can learn to harness and apply it better.

14. (9) Bill Arnold, C, 6.0B
‏Drafted 4th round, 108th overall, 2010

‏In just his second AHL season, the 23-year old Arnold has done alright for himself. He has been one of various offensive contributors on the Stockton Heat, however it is easy to have expected more considering his collegiate totals. Nevertheless, he is learning the game as a pro and that certainly takes time. There is, however, question of how effective he can be at the pro level considering a current plateau at the AHL level.

13. (16) Kenny Agostino, LW, 6.5C
‏Acquired via trade with Pittsburgh Penguins, 2013

‏For the second straight year, former Yale standout Agostino has been an invaluable offensive piece to the Calgary AHL affiliate. He currently leads the Heat in points and is second in goals behind Derek Grant on the season. Grant has received his call up thus far with Calgary, so you have to wonder if Agostino gets his shot before the season is over given his AHL contributions. He can score at the level one step below the NHL with pretty decent regularity, so there is definitely something to him.

12. (15) Brett Kulak, D, 6.5C
‏Drafted 4th round, 105th overall, 2012

‏Kulak has been a fairly strong two-way, but defensive zone first, defenseman for Stockton. While there are limited puck and stick skills with some average skating in this player, Kulak seems to read the ice and defensive zone well. For the second straight season, Kulak has seen some NHL playing time, which is a great credit to his ability to play the game. He still has less than 80 games total AHL experience and the more he puts under his belt the better he could become, but Kulak is another example of the depth in this system.

11. (20) Andrew Mangiapane, LW, 7.5D
‏Drafted 6th round, 166th overall, 2015

‏Mangiapane takes a massive jump on this list, and it is not without good reason. For the second straight year with Barrie he has been an offensive dynamo. At this point it is not out of the question to say he is one of the best offensive players in the entire OHL. Although questions about his small frame and defensive game still exist, Calgary has made that work with some pro players already (Gaudreau anyone?). He is second in the OHL with 42 goals in 47 games. He very well could surpass 50 by year’s end which would be quite a feat.

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