Sunday, August 13, 2017

31 Teams in 31 Days - Calgary Flames

The last Canadian team to be covered this year.

1. Tyler Parsons - London Knights
What more can you say about Parsons at this point? This kid is a winner. An OHL Championship and Memorial Cup last year. And a World Junior Championship this year. Not to mention another terrific OHL season under his belt.  First thing you immediately notice about his game is how quick he is in the crease and how he never gives up on a play. His lateral movement is fantastic. Just a really tough guy to beat low with how well he tracks the play. Did a really good job working on his positioning this year, scrambling a little less and being more conservative in his movements. He's not a huge goaltender, but he's ultra aggressive in challenging shooters, trusting his athleticism to keep him in the play. He's ready for his next challenge, which looks like it will be the ECHL. Certainly not uncommon for top flight goaltending prospects to spend time there. Calgary has Jon Gillies and David Rittich already manning the pipes in the AHL. Doubt he supplants them (unless they move Eddie Lack and use a guy like Rittich as their back-up). Would expect Parsons to be the best or one of the best goalies in the ECHL and for him to play well in his inevitable spot AHL duty as well. He's a top flight goaltending prospect and the best one from the OHL currently.

2. Adam Ruzicka - Sarnia Sting
An excellent 4th round pick by the Flames this year. He certainly has his warts and things to work on as a prospect. But he's also a kid with a lot of potential. Big forward with skill and decent skating ability. At times, he looks like he can dominate the possession game and could develop as a really tough guy to stop from getting to the net. Certainly has the puck skill to drive the play. But there's a wavering intensity level, especially away from the puck. Want to see a big guy want to go after loose pucks, but he's stagnant in the offensive end too much. I think the concerns about his hockey sense and vision are legitimate too. Want to see him get himself in better scoring position because he has a big wrist shot and a great release. Internationally, I thought he looked quite good this year, better than he did in the OHL. Obviously, it's an adjustment to playing on a smaller ice surface in a different country. He'll return to Sarnia next year and will be a big part of their offense. Likely their 2nd line center again and will see lots of powerplay time. I think he's likely a point per game player and a 30 goal scorer.

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