The Calgary Flames’ top three prospects all made the jump to the big club early this season.
Solid camps by Rasmus Andersson, Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki were all rewarded with big league assignments that include meaningful minutes nightly.
With the exception of Andersson, who may end up being the odd man out when Travis Hamonic returns, the lads are here to stay.
Fortunately for the Flames the pipeline of prospects they worked hard at restocking is still full of players on the cusp of being capable of making similar moves. Last year the Flames graduated Mark Jankowski and David Rittich.
Here’s a look at the top five prospects who may be next in line:
Andrew Mangiapane, LW
Despite a solid NHL pre-season, the 22-year-old was the last forward to be demoted to AHL Stockton.
He thrived there last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 39 games before a late, fruitless, 10-game call up to the bigs.
He has picked up where he left off in the minors, sitting second in team scoring with a pair of goals and seven points in six outings.
The diminutive winger uses his speed and smarts to navigate around the ice, making him the most likely candidate to be the Flames’ first player promoted when necessary.
A sixth round draft pick of the Flames’ in 2015, Mangiapane was originally considered a long shot due to his size. That’s no longer a concern in today’s game.
The Ontario native, who twice surpassed the 100-point mark with the Barrie Colts (and scored 51 goals in 59 games his final season) is on the cusp of breaking through in the bigs.
The increased depth the Flames added up front this summer bumped him down the depth chart, but he’s still very much in the picture.[sidebar]
Tyler Parsons, G
The Flames’ second-round draft pick continues to be labeled the club’s goalie of the future.
Last year, his first as a pro, was marred by injuries and mental health struggles he chose to go public with in camp this year.
His days in the ECHL are over, as the Flames push to see how he can develop with a significant workload in the AHL.
Despite a solid pre-season with the Flames, the former world junior/Memorial Cup winner hasn’t had the start he was hoping for on the farm. Then again, neither have the Heat as a whole.
Parsons has one win in three starts with a 4.91 GAA and .830 save percentage.
The Flames’ goalie situation moving forward will be a fascinating study as 36-year-old Mike Smith is looking to prove he deserves another contract and David Rittich is looking to solidify backup status at the very least.
Jon Gillies, Parsons’ AHL tandem-mate, is also currently ahead of Parsons on the depth chart, making it unlikely the Flames would consider using his services this season for any extended length of time.
This is an important year for Parsons to prove himself.
Spencer Foo, RW
Acquired as a hotshot college free agent in 2017, Foo chose Calgary over a host of NHL teams bidding for his services.
The Union College sniper arrived in Flames camp last fall with high expectations, but was unable to adjust to the speed of pro hockey – something it took him almost half a year in the AHL to figure out.
A second-half surge in Stockton saw him score 20 goals in his first pro campaign, leading to a late-season audition with the Flames where he scored twice in four games. Yet, his camp with the Flames wasn’t good enough for him to outplay the long list of right wingers ahead of him.
He has started well in Stockton with three goals and five points in six games, albeit with a minus-7 rating on a 2-3-1 squad that has been heavily outscored.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Foo in the Flames lineup at some point.
Spencer Foo with a two goal night pic.twitter.com/USgmWzO9AE
— Stockton Heat (@AHLHeat) October 7, 2018
Oliver Kylington, D
His lot in life has him behind a deep Flames blue line that will need several injuries for him to get a chance to prove himself as an NHLer.
An offensive defenceman, whose knock has long been his defensive play, Kylington is the defensive leader in Stockton where he had seven goals and 35 points last year.
The 21-year-old Swede has come a long way in his three previous AHL seasons and is off to another good start with two goals and five points in six games thus far.
The second-rounder would likely have seen more than the one NHL game he’s dressed for if there wasn’t such a logjam of solid defencemen ahead of him, especially on the left side.
Jon Gillies, G
Gillies would be the first man to get the call should a Flames netminder go down.
He played 11 games for the Flames last year when he and David Rittich tried holding the fort during Mike Smith’s injury. Gillies’ 2.88 GAA was respectable, as was his play while compiling a 3-5-1 record on a then-sinking Calgary club.
He too is off to a poor start in Stockton as part of the team’s early struggles, posting a 4.79 GAA and .852 save percentage in four games.
A former national champion at Providence, the six-foot-six backstop had long been pegged as Calgary’s goaltending solution in the long-term. However, injuries and inconsistent play have many wondering what the future holds for the Flames’ third round pick from 2012.
He should get the majority of starts on the farm this year, giving him ample opportunity to show what he’s capable of.