Over the past few days, I asked my twitter followers to ask me questions related to the Stockton Heat and I would answer them. If you want to ask for the next mailbag you can follow me on twitter @JMannFlames
@JMannFlames Will Morgan Klimchuk and Emile Poirier progress into NHLers?
— Justin (@iggyfan12) May 12, 2017
Many people have been wondering about these two. Morgan Klimchuk had a very good bounce-back season this year, finishing the regular season third on the team in scoring with 43 points in 66 games. As for Emile Poirier, this season was a struggle for him. In 43 games he registered just 17 points. Poirier left the Heat in the middle of the season on a personal leave of absence and did not play the rest of the season.
I think Klimchuk will absolutely progress into and NHLer. It may not be next year, but watching the Heat throughout this season his game really began to come around, and he was a real difference-maker in the final stretch of the regular season. The playoffs were going to be his time to show Flames management that he was ready, but he got injured in game one.
Poirier is a different story, clearly struggling to find his game throughout the last year. I find it unlikely Poirier makes it to the NHL, at least not with the Flames. There could always be a surprise and he could come back next year and have a good year, but with all that we have seen, it seems a little hard to believe he will.
Right now it is hard to know what Tyler Parsons will be like. He tore it up in junior hockey with the London Knights, but the jump from junior to pro is a difficult one especially for goalies. I do think Parsons will turn out to be a terrific goalie in the future, but will he be Carey Price level, very hard to know right now. I do believe though that he has the potential to be on that level if he is developed right.
@JMannFlames Will Jon Gillies remain with the Heat next season, or will there be a push to move him to Calgary to contend for #1.
— Christopher Wald (@HighDesertOR) May 12, 2017
If Jon Gillies remains down in Stockton, there would be three promising goalie prospects down in the AHL. Gillies has shown to be almost NHL ready, I would think it would be the best for him to stay in Calgary as a backup goalie. I don’t think he is ready to be a starter this upcoming year, but a backup role would be very fitting for him.
If, for whatever reason, David Rittich or Parsons is moved out of the organization then Gillies may see another year down in Stockton, but I find it unlikely.
I am curious to know if we may see any of the players on the Flames roster next season? Out of the 3 goalies, which one is the best? https://t.co/X5azg7Dav5
— 💕🌸Lovin Life 🌸💕 (@8_BadGirl) May 14, 2017
The two players that come to mind right away are Rasmus Andersson and Mark Jankowski. Jankowski deserves to be on the roster, he dominated the AHL in his rookie season with the Heat scoring 27 goals and 56 points as well as a +19. He was by far the MVP for the Heat and also put up five points in five games in the playoffs. The lack of depth at the center position and the Flames may lose a center to expansion is all the reason to bring up Jankowski. Another important thing is Jankowski very good on the powerplay, something that was very on and off throughout the season.
Andersson being up with the team is all dependant on what the Flames do in the offseason. If the Flames bring back both Stone and Engelland then Andersson could see another year down in the AHL. Glen Gulutzan really likes his left shot on left side and right shot on right side defense pairings. If both Stone and Engelland come back they would already have three right-shot defenseman on the lineup. An alternative for that is to keep Andersson up as a seventh defenseman, sort of the role of Dennis Wideman in the second half of the season.
And which of the three goalies is better, this is very hard to answer. Parsons has not played any games in the AHL, so it is hard to know if he will be able to make the jump and still play at a high level. Both Rittich and Gillies were very solid this year, Rittich showed up better on the stat sheet but Gillies really stepped up in high pressure situations, game five is a very good example. This is almost hard to answer, as both have had some struggles but both have also had some very bright spots.
@JMannFlames What has happened to Poirier? Does he need a fresh start like Lazar? Is it line & role he is playing? Or is he just a bust?
— Jordan Richards (@jmrichards23) May 15, 2017
Poirier went on a personal leave about half way through the season. He left because of personal reasons and probably also that he was struggling mightily and needed a break. I think it is best for him with a fresh start, exactly like Lazar. Poirier still has potential to be a decent player but his clock is ticking.
I don’t really want to call him a bust yet, many people are saying that, but he still is only 22. All it takes is a fresh start and a solid year in the AHL and he could see some NHL time. I don’t think his time in the NHL will soon be over, but I think his time with the Flames organization may be coming to a close.
@JMannFlames I suppose I'd question if the coaches are actually developing the youth for the Flames, or if they're focused more on their own success.
— Not Worth The Effort (@NapsAndSarcasm) May 15, 2017
This is a really interesting thought. I think the coaches always have the development of the youth in their mind, but their job is to try to make the team successful. However, the veterans like Brandon Bollig, Linden Vey, Tyler Wotherspoon, Mike Kostka and Mike Angelidis get more ice time then the youth. Those players are always put out in the high pressure situations which helps the team’s success but doesn’t necessarily help the young guys’ development. Although they have turned Andrew Mangiapane from an almost no name sixth rounder to a dangerous player playing on the top line possibly contending for a Flames roster spot in the future. Now that is good development, also playing Matthew Phillips in the playoffs when there were alternatives shows that part of them is focused on development. I think it is about half and half, but the young, still promising prospects, I think, should be getting more ice time.
Thanks to everyone who asked their questions, if you want to ask a question in the next mailbag, follow me on twitter @JMannFlames