1. Juuso Valimaki is the best prospect in this system, and he was missed on the blueline last season. He had an ACL injury and seems to be fully recovered. He’s handling big minutes and his points are coming. His shot is above average, but that part of his game hasn’t quite returned just yet.
2. Jakob Pelletier has a nice touch from the crease. He gets rebounds and will score or give a teammate a setup for a scoring chance. It will be hard to deny him the puck at any level. The winger was a big contributor with a point-per-game effort in the U20s getting a silver medal with Team Canada.
3. Connor Mackey is a good puck-moving defenseman who doesn’t look out of place with the Calgary Flames currently. His passing is safe, and his body positioning and active stick have made him a good role player on the blueline and the Flames need that.
4. Emilio Pettersen had some buzz early on, at 14 he was being tabbed the best hockey talent to ever come out of Norway. This pivot is an excellent passer. The forward can deke around anybody to get to the net. He has a decisive shot and a great wrist shot. He still hasn’t played a game this season but should at some point now that the AHL is in session
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5. Connor Zary is a center who is dangerous down low and usually buries the puck. He’s a good 200-foot player who makes difficult passes look easy and his stickhandling is well above average. He does good things on every shift.
6. Jeremie Poirer is the ultimate boom or bust pick. He is a terrific skater with well above average offensive skills. The Flames got him where they did because he’s a risk-taker and has to improve dramatically in his own end. Poirer can score goals but he’s going to have to learn how to prevent some as well.
7. Yan Kuznetsov is a defenseman with a hard-accurate one-timer from the point and a snapshot that’s good too. He has good hockey sense; he blocks shots and can stand players up. There’s a lot to like here.
8. Dustin Wolf is a good positional goalie who has quick reflexes and a fast glove. Now that they’ve solidified the position at the NHL level, he will get adequate time to develop.
9. Ilya Solovyov is a big, mobile defenseman who is seeing regular ice time in the KHL. That’s a good sign for him and the Flames.
10. Ryan Francis is a versatile forward with two-way skills. He’s a playmaker on offense. He could be a nice surprise down the road