STOCKTON, Calif. – The ultimate goal of any minor-league hockey player is to make it to the NHL, even if just for a single game. In the 2019-20 season, there were a handful of Heat players that not only made it up to the NHL’s Calgary Flames, but also stayed a while. Let’s take a look at their performances last season.
Perhaps the most notable player that made scattered appearances in Stockton was Dillon Dube. He did not start in Calgary but definitely ended there. His first game with Stockton last year was on October 4 and by November 15 he completed his last game with the heat and joined Calgary until the end of their playoff run. He earned 16 points in the regular season (6G,10A) and five points in the postseason with four goals and one assist. Based on his performance last year, there is a good chance he may not be seeing much time in California next season.
Kylington was another regular among the Flames roster last season. He played a total of 48 games for the Flames and only came down to Stockton for a trio of games in November of last year. He earned a total of seven points on the blue line and often paired with former Heat regular, Rasmus Andersson. After a few new additions for the Flames, he saw a little less ice time and did not play in their playoff series. His contract was up at the end of the season and he has yet to sign an updated deal with the Flames. He is currently a restricted free agent.
Czarnik was a regular Flame in the 2018-19 season, but ended up being filtered out a bit last season. He went from 54 games to eight where he put up a total three points with two goals and a single assist. He was on the 31-man roster for the playoffs, but did not see any ice-time. Czarnik was a free agent at the end of the season and was picked up by the New York Islanders
Rinaldo split his time between teams playing 19 games with Calgary last season and 14 with Stockton. In his NHL games he earned five points (3G, 2A) and 34 PIMS. He did play in five of the playoff bubble games, but did not earn any points. With Stockton, he earned seven assists in 14 games to average a point every second game.
Buddy Robinson played five regular-season games with the Flames last year and was fortunate to score a single goal. Robinson was also on the Flames bubble squad and got a single game of action in the final game of their playoff run.
Yelesin played in four games on the Flames blue line and contributed with a couple shots and a handful of hits recorded on his NHL stats.
Quine was in and out of the lineup for the Flames in the regular season with nine games recorded under his belt. He had a single goal in that time. Quine also played in three games in the playoffs last season, and earned an assist for a single point. Quine will join the Edmonton Oilers for the upcoming season after signing a one-year deal with the Calgary rivals.
Davidson played in six games for the Flames in the regular season before being traded in a future considerations deal with the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 24th. Davidson also played in 34 games with the Heat earning 20 points off three goals and 17 assists. He will likely join the San Jose Barracuda for the upcoming season.
On the Cusp
Artyom Zagidulin, Jon Gillies, Adam Ruzicka, Glen Gawdin, Byron Froese, and Matthew Phillips were all called up at some point in the season last year but unfortunately, did not get any ice time. The Flames were pretty lucky with injuries and depth for the majority of the season so they did not require a lot of bodies to fill in the lineup. However, any of these guys were one scenario, injury or blowout away from stepping on the ice as a Flame and hopefully, will find themselves in that same situation in the upcoming season.
What Stockton Heat players will make the move up to the NHL next season? Time will tell.