Corey Pronman’s NHL Pipeline Ranking: No. 28 Calgary Flames

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The 2020 and 2021 drafts brought talent to Calgary, but they’ve had a few recent drafts that added very little as well, with the most recent being the worst in that regard. His first-round picks at forward should help his team, and Dustin Wolf also looked very strong at the net in the AHL.

Key Graduates: Juuso Valimaki, Adam Ruzicka, Dillon Dube

2021 ranking: No. 26

NHL Draft 2022 grade: C-

Complete NHL Pipeline Ranking 2022-23

Player Rating

1. Jakob Pelletier, LW

21 years old | 5 foot 9 | 165 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 26 in 2019
Level: middle player in the lineup

Skating: NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey Sense: Above NHL average
Compete: Above NHL average
Shooting: Above NHL average

Analysis: Pelletier had a great rookie pro season, being a close to point-per-game player and playing a big role on a top AHL team. He doesn’t always seem like the most flashy player in terms of speed and skill, but it seems that Pelletier scores in big numbers wherever he goes. He is a super smart player with the puck who plays bravely despite the size of the puck. He creates in the high-percentage areas while also being a threat from the perimeter. You’d like to see him spread further with feet that size, but given how good he looked against the men this season, he looks to be on his way to becoming a top six one day.

2. Connor Zary, C

20 years | 6 feet | 178 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 24 in 2020
Level: middle player in the lineup

Skating: Below NHL average
Puck Skills: Above NHL average
Hockey Sense: NHL Average
Compete: Above NHL average

Analysis: Zary didn’t put up big numbers this season in his first full year as a pro, but I still see a lot of things I like about his game. His puck skills are excellent. He can make defenders miss one on one at a high rate. He also doesn’t shy away from making skillful plays on the hard areas of the ice. He is a worker who wins battles and projects as a two-way advancement as a professional. His skating gait is choppy and will be his biggest problem as a pro. With time and physical maturity, I think the rest of his game is good enough to get past that and become a good NHL player who can drive the offense with plays and effort. Zary projects as a third-row center for me, and I could buy him by playing higher up the lineup as a winger.

Dustin Wolf (Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images)

3. Dustin Wolf, G.

21 years old | 6 feet | 155 pounds | catches on the left

Drafted: No. 214 in 2019
Level: Starting goalkeeper

Skating: Above NHL average
Hockey Sense: Above NHL average

Analysis: Wolf had a breakout pro season as a rookie, being named the AHL Goaltender of the Year as a 20-year-old. Wolf’s IQ and poise have always impressed me, but as a pro, he was really impressed by how dynamic he looked at the net with how quick he was, showing an ability to make tough saves at high pace. If anything, his technique deteriorated more than when he was a junior to make those tough saves. Wolf’s frame is the big blow for him, but he rarely allows soft goals, to go with strong, if unexceptional play in the plate region. He projects as a legitimate starting goalkeeper despite the size of him.

4. Mateo Coronato, OR

19 years old | 5 ft 10 | 183 pounds | shoot well

Drafted: No. 13 in 2021
Level: middle player in the lineup

Skating: Above NHL average
Puck skills: NHL average
Hockey Sense: NHL Average
Compete: Above NHL average

Analysis: Coronato was a point-for-game freshman at Harvard and an important part of the US U20 team. His game is full of speed, energy and creativity. Coronato is capable of pushing the pace down the flank and isn’t shy about going straight to the net despite the structure of him. Coronato wasn’t the deadly goal-scoring threat this season in which he was a junior, but he still showed excellent hands, hockey sense and looks like a player with the tools to be a second-tier winger over time.

Have a chance to play (in alphabetical order)

Jack Beck, LW

19 years old | 5 ft 11 | 162 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 168 in 2021

Analysis: Beck is a very skilled and creative striker who can make a lot of plays. He’s not that big or that fast, but he looked pretty good this season.

Mathias Emilio Pettersen, LW

22 years | 5 ft 10 | 175 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 167 in 2018

Analysis: Emilio Pettersen has talent. He is a highly skilled striker with elusive feet and a creative brain. For a smaller one-way forward type, he needs to be more consistent and score more to be on the NHL track.

Cole Huckins, C.

19 years old | 6 ft 3 | 200 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 77 in 2021

Analysis: Huckins is a great forward with a solid skill level, but he has a lot of work to do in terms of improving his pace and creating a more consistent offense.

Rory Kerins, C.

20 years | 5 ft 10 | 175 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 174 in 2020

Analysis: Kerins is a smart, skilled center who can make and finish plays, but he’s not the biggest or fastest striker you’ll see.

Adam Klapka, R.W.

21 years old | 6 ft 7 | 245 pounds | shoot well

Signed in ELC

Analysis: Klapka is a unique player as an absolute behemoth of a forward at around 6-foot-7/6-foot-8, and he also has legitimate skills with the puck. However, his skating is far from NHL level.

Jeremie Poirier, D.

20 years | 6 feet | 196 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 72 in 2020

Analysis: Poirier has talent in the NHL. He’s a strong skater, he’s got legitimate skill, he can throw the puck and make some plays. If he competes and defends well enough as a pro it will be the litmus test for him and it will be very interesting to see how he transitions to the pro game next season.

Martin Pospisil, L.W.

22 years | 6 ft 2 | 181 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 105 in 2018

Analysis: Pospisil is a big, physical forward with some ability, which is intriguing, but he’s not a real driver of offense and his skate isn’t all that fast either.

Topi Ronni, C.

18 years old | 6 ft 2 | 181 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 59 in 2022

Analysis: Rönni is a 6-foot-2 center with offensive ability. He has very good stick skills and vision, which allows him to create a lot of chances inside the offensive zone and be able to run a power play at the junior level. He’s not electric with the puck, so I don’t think in the pros he’ll be a primary game driver, but he’ll be able to score at higher levels. The competition from him is good enough. Ronni won’t run over guys, but he uses his size to win battles and be reliable defensively. His skating is going to be the one area that stops him against better players and that’s why I can’t yet mark him as an NHLer even though the rest of the toolkit seems strong enough.

Cole Schwint, R.W.

20 years | 6 ft 2 | 182 pounds | shoot well

Drafted: No. 81 in 2019

Analysis: Schwindt is a good-sized forward with some skill and scoring ability and also a solid work rate off the puck. His skating is the big limitation with him. He produced a lot of offense this season in the AHL considering he didn’t get power play time, so I can buy him a higher rating as well.

Arsenii Sergeev, G.

19 years old | 6 ft 3 | 192 pounds | catches on the left

Drafted: No. 205 in 2021

Analysis: Sergeev was the USHL Goalkeeper of the Year this season. He is a good size netminder with NHL quickness. He can sometimes lose control a bit with his movements, but when he’s efficient he can steal a game.

William Stromgren, LW

19 years old | 6 ft 3 | 175 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 45 in 2021

Analysis: Stromgren’s toolkit is very intriguing due to his size, speed, and offensive ability. However, I don’t love his hockey IQ and he’s pretty inconsistent.

Cameron Whynot, D.

19 years old | 6 ft 1 | 180 pounds | shoot left

Drafted: No. 89 in 2021

Analysis: Whynot is a big, mobile defender who competes hard, but his ability to move the puck is a notable question at the higher levels.

Player Eligibility: All skaters who are 22 years old or younger as of September 15, 2022, regardless of how many NHL games they have played, are eligible. Player heights and weights are taken from the NHL.

Tool Ratings – Tool Ratings are based on a scale with six separate levels, looking at how you would rate this attribute in the NHL (Poor, Below Average, Average, Above Average, High-End, and Elite). “Average” on this scale means that the tool is projected as the NHL average, which is meant as a positive, not a criticism. Skating, puck skills, hockey sense and proficiency are scored for each projected NHL player. Shot ratings are only included if a shot is notably good or bad.

Tier Definitions: Tiers are intended to show roughly where in an average NHL lineup a player is projected to rank.

(Illustration: Wes McCabe/For The Athletic; Jakob Pelletier photo: Sergei Belski/USA Today)

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