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.
The struggles of the Calgary Flames in the 2015-16 season have been high-profile. They have failed to build upon a Cinderella run last year that saw the team beat the analytics and crash out after getting to the Division Finals. With struggles coming from the big club, you would like to at least see some good coming from their AHL affiliate in their inaugural season in Stockton, California. Unfortunately, it that has not been the case.
The Calgary Flames are just now beginning to reap the rewards of patience with the prospect group. After three consecutive quality drafts, there are a number of quality prospects already signed with the team that are either on the verge of playing in the NHL or already there. Among them, Sam Bennett is at the top of the heap, and for good reason.
Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving has acquired an embarrassment of riches in the course of his tenure, and recently started to see results from past drafts and acquisitions. After a surprising 2014-15 season, the Flames should shed the label of underdogs, as former prospects like Josh Jooris and Sean Monahan graduated along the way to leading the scrappy Flames into the playoffs.
After completing an exceptional regular season and never giving up, the Calgary Flames have found a way to win and return to the playoffs after six years without a post-season appearance. Coincidentally, Lance Bouma and TJ Brodie were drafted the last time the Flames were in the playoffs. Since then the Calgary Flames have stockpiled a group of talented prospects which includes Michael Ferland, Markus Granlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and most recently, Sam Bennett. Collectively, they have been an integral part of the team and the success found this season.