Flames Top 20 prospects

By HF Staff


Top 20 at a Glance

1. Dion Phaneuf, D

2. Kris Chucko, LW

3. Eric Nystrom, LW

4. Dustin Boyd, C

5. Brent Krahn, G

6. Matt Pelech, D

7. Tim Ramholt, D

8. Brandon Prust, C

9. Dan Ryder, C

10. Matt Keetley, G

11. Yuri Trubachev, Ct>

12. Aki Seitsonen, C

13. Curtis McElhinney, G

14. Andrei Taratukhin, C

15. Richie Regehr, D

16. Gord Baldwin, D

17. David Van der Gulik, F

18. Tyler Johnson, C

19. Kris Hogg, LW

20. Tomi
Maki, RW

1. (1) Dion Phaneuf, Defense

Height: 6’2, Weight: 200 lbs.,
Current team: Calgary Flames (NHL)

In a year where
Sidney Crosby and
Alexander Ovechkin
have stolen most of the attention, rookie Dion Phaneuf is more quietly proving his worth as a full-time member of the Calgary
Flames. A standout blueliner with the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL, Phaneuf was
also an integral member of Canada’s gold medal winning team at the 2005 World
Junior Championships.
He was named the top defenseman of the tournament and was also named to the
media all-star team. Known as a tough, hard-hitting defender, Phaneuf has gotten off to
a good start offensively as well, in a tie for fourth on the Flames in scoring with
points in 22 games. His strong debut has not gone unnoticed, he
is on team Canada’s long list for the 2006 Olympics and is the youngest
defenseman on the list. Phaneuf should be a mainstay on the Flames for years to come.

2. (2) Kris Chucko, Left Wing

Height: 6’2, Weight: 190 lbs.,
Current team: University of Minnesota (NCAA)

A freshman at the University of
Minnesota in 2004-05, Kris Chucko led Gophers rookies in scoring with 10 goals
and 21 points and was the only freshman to play in all 44 games. A physical power forward with good playmaking skills, Chucko is
good at driving to the net and can deliver big hits. He is now in his sophomore year and
has six points in 15 games. It is 2006 eligible freshman Phil Kessel
who leads the team in scoring.

3. (6) Eric Nystrom, Left Wing

Height: 6’1, Weight: 195 lbs.,
Current team: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

In 2004-05, his senior year at the
University of Michigan, Eric Nystrom had his best season offensively with 13 goals
and 32 points in 38 games. The 22-year-old logged two games with the Flames this season,
though has spent the rest of his time with the AHL Knights with six points in 16
games. His +1 leads the team. An aggressive two-way
player, Nystrom also possesses good hockey sense and a good attitude. If he shows consistency,
the 2002 first rounder may grab another chance at the NHL level later in the

4. (5) Dustin Boyd, Center

Height: 6’0, Weight: 186 lbs.,
Current team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)

After displaying strong offensive
abilities through the minor ranks in Manitoba, Dustin Boyd has showcased his
talents in the last few years with the Moose Jaw Warriors. He was second on the
team in scoring in 2004-05, behind Florida prospect Kenndal McArdle. This season
he is second in the WHL scoring race behind teammate and Chicago prospect Troy
with 22 goals and 36 points in 23 games. With the offensive side of his
game picking up, his stock with the Flames should rise.

5. (4) Brent Krahn, Goaltender

Height: 6’4, Weight: 211 lbs.,
Current team: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

Seen as the Flames goaltender of the
future, Brent Krahn is coming off a stellar season with the Lowell Lock Monsters
in 2004-05. In 35 games he had 20 wins, a .923 save percentage and six shutouts.
This season he is just 5-5-2 with a .907 save percentage in Omaha. Tall at
6’4, the former first round pick is
hardworking between the pipes, makes smart decisions and stays cool under
pressure. At 23 years of age, he’ll likely get a chance at some NHL games in the
near future when a spot opens up due to injuries.

6. (NR) Matt Pelech, Defense

Height: 6’3, Weight: 220 lbs.,
Current team: Sarnia Sting (OHL)

After a shortened season in 2004-05
due to a broken jaw (twice), Matt Pelech returned to the Sarnia Sting this
season looking to rebound from his injuries. A defenseman with good size and
work ethic, Pelech is -6 and has only two assists in 17 games so far. A first
round pick in 2005, he will be looked
upon to put up bigger numbers and use his body more effectively.

7. (3) Tim Ramholt, Defense

Height: 6’1, Weight: 195 lbs.,
Current team: Kloten (Swiss)

Tim Ramholt
drops in the
Flames’ prospect rankings, failing to make progress towards the NHL. Ramholt played 51 games in 2003-04 with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
of the QMJHL, where he made a strong showing scoring nine goals and 36 points in
51 games.
He returned to his native Switzerland the next season and has remained there
since. The former second round pick’s future will depend on if the Flames can get him to return
to North America.

8. (10) Brandon Prust, Center

Height: 5’11, Weight: 191 lbs.,
Current team: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

A member of the 2005 Memorial Cup
winning London Knights, Brandon Prust had three goals, eight points and 71
penalty minutes in 15 playoff games for the Knights, on top of 30 points in 48
games and 174 penalty minutes during the regular season. Someone who gives it his all every night on
the ice, Prust will do whatever he can to help out his team and possesses the
heart and desire that is welcomed at the next level. He is a rookie with
Omaha this season, and has four points in 18 games, along with 70 penalty
minutes, thus far. He is -1 on a generally minus team.

9. (NR) Dan Ryder, Center

Height: 5’10, Weight: 193 lbs.,
Current team: Peterborough Petes (OHL)

Younger brother of the Montreal Canadiens Michael Ryder, Dan has proven his worth all on his own. Last season he
tied Edmonton prospect Liam Reddox for the lead in scoring on the Peterborough
Petes with 82 points in 68 games. This season he sits at the top on his own with
13 goals and 30 points in 19 games. Noticed for his natural ability on the ice,
Ryder has shown consistency defensively and has been a fixture on the penalty
kill for the Petes. Paired with good puckhandling skills and his hard work on
the ice, the 2005 third rounder has a shot if he works on his size and strength and continues to

10. (NR) Matt Keetley,

Height: 6’0, Weight: 165 lbs.,
Current team: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

Starting the 2004-05 season as a
backup, Matt Keetley was given the chance to take the starting role in Medicine
Hat after Kevin Nastiuk‘s play dropped off and he had an injury.
Keetley did not disappoint, winning 21 games in 32 starts, posting a 1.66 goals
against average and six shutouts. Keetley has displayed poise under pressure and
his numbers speak for themselves. The 2005 fifth round pick has gotten off to a strong start in 2005-06
with a .930 save percentage, 1.73 goals against average, 16-2-0 record and two shutouts in 22 games.

11. (8) Yuri Trubachev, Center

Height: 5’9, Weight: 182 lbs.,
Current team: Cherepovets Severstal (Russia)

Playing with Cherepovets Severstal in
Russia, Yuri Trubachev has not seen as much ice time as he might in North
America. He has shown improvement in his defensive awareness of the game
over the past few years and he is a good skater who displays intelligence on the
ice. He scoring rate is down this year, with only six points in 20 games,
compared to 26 points in 59 games last year. Trubachev needs to increase
his production in a big way to compensate for his small stature.

12. (9) Aki Seitsonen, Center

Height: 6’2, Weight: 190 lbs.,
Current team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

After a less than stellar debut in
the North America, Aki Seitsonen raised his game in 2004-05 with 24 goals and 52
points in 67 games, making him the leading scorer on the Prince Albert Raiders.
This season he has 13 points in 21 games, just two off the team lead, and he is
a -3. Seitsonen is a smart, hard working player.

13. (16) Curtis McElhinney,

Height: 6’2, Weight: 195 lbs.,
Current team: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

A graduate of Colorado College,
Curtis McElhinney made the jump to the AHL this season with the Knights. In nine
games he has two wins, a 2.25 goals against average and a .923 save percentage.
He has outperformed partner Brent Krahn in the early going. The former sixth
senior year in Colorado was a very good showing as well, with 21 wins in 25
games, a .927
save percentage, a 2.09 goals against average and two shutouts.

14. (11) Andrei Taratukhin,

Height: 6’0, Weight: 198 lbs.,
Current team: Yaroslavl Lokomotiv (Russia)

Andrei Taratukhin has played in his native
Russia his whole life. A former linemate the of Montreal Canadiens Alexander
, Taratukhin has been known to make his teammates jobs easier by
fighting for the puck and setting them up with good passes.
Now playing for Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, he has already surpassed his point total of
11 in 54 games last season. In 23 games the 2001 second round pick has five goals and 16 points.

15. (13) Richie Regehr,

Height: 6’0, Weight: 202 lbs.,
Current team: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

The younger brother of Flames
assistant captain Robyn Regehr, Richie is known more for his offensive
abilities. A good skater
with a strong shot, he has 10 points in 18 games with Omaha in his second AHL
season. He is fourth on the team in scoring and is even.

16. (NR) Gord Baldwin, Defense

Height: 6’5, Weight: 195 lbs.,
Current team: Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)

As a rookie with the Medicine Hat
Tigers in 2004-05, Gord Baldwin didn’t see a lot of ice time until the end of
the season. When he did play he made it count, showing he could win battles in
the corners and in front of the net. Baldwin plays tough and will be even
tougher and stronger by adding pounds to his frame, something that will be
crucial to his future. The 2005 third round pick has almost matched his
point total from last season already, with nine points in 25 games. He is
-1 on the year.

17. (14) David Van der Gulik,

Height: 5’11, Weight: 185 lbs.,
Current team: Boston University (NCAA)

A senior at Boston University and
co-captain of the Terriers, David Van der Gulik has improved on his offensive
play during his college years. He has not yet played a game this season yet,
however, still out from an inflammation of the pubic bone. Last season he
had 31 points in 41 games.

18. (20) Tyler Johnson, Center

Height: 6’0, Weight: 181 lbs.,
Current team: Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)

signed a rookie contract with the Flames this summer, but was returned to
junior. The 2003 sixth rounder enjoyed his most productive season in 2004-05 with the Red Deer
Rebels where he had 10 goals and 29 points in 55 games. Now with the Seattle Thunderbirds,
he has eight points in 18 games.
A prototypical Sutter-type
player, Johnson is not known so much for skill, but for grinding, hard work and
determination. His future in the NHL might be a long shot, but could become
reality if he continues to work hard for it.

19. (19) Kris Hogg, Left Wing

Height: 5’11, Weight: 179 lbs.,
Current team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)

Small and speedy, Kris Hogg is in his
first season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes after spending three with the
Kamloops Blazers. He possesses an accurate shot and was among the scoring
leaders on the Blazers last season with 18 goals and 40 points in 68 games. His
size, at 5’11 and 179 lbs., could hinder him, but if he works on consistency and strength he could have a shot.
He has 13 points in 22 games this season.

20. (NR) Tomi
, Right Wing

5’11, Weight: 192, Current team: Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (AHL)

Maki has
been a real surprise this season, second on the Knights in scoring in his first
year in North America. The 2001 fourth rounder has six goals and seven
assists in 18 games and is -3. He trails only Flames free agent signee
Carsen Germyn. Last year in Finland, Maki had only five points in 51

the Cut

Two 2004
free agent signees are performing admirably in Omaha. Defenseman Mark
has 13 points in 18 games in his sophomore season in the AHL.
The 22-year-old had just 16 points in the 2004-05 regular season. Carsen
leads the Knights in scoring with 10 goals and five assists in 15
games. The 23-year-old had just 20 points in 60 games last season.

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