STOCKTON, Ca. – The Calgary Flames organizational depth has really been tested this season. With numerous injuries and call-ups, Stockton has relied on depth players stepping up to fill a hole left from a previous player.
The following is a list of players that have had to miss games in Stockton this season due to being called-up, injured, or traded.
- Andrew Mangiapane (Called up)
- Oliver Kylington (Called up)
- Alan Quine (Called Up)
- Morgan Klimchuk (Traded)
- Tyler Parsons (Injured)
- Jon Gillies (Injured)
- Ryan Lomberg (Called up)
- Anthony Peluso (Called up)
- Dalton Prout (Called up)
While the list may not be as long as some other teams, almost everyone here played a key role on the team. Andrew Mangiapane, Oliver Kylington, and Alan Quine were the teams top scorers at the time of their calls ups. Jon Gillies was the starting goaltender before he went down with injury, and Morgan Klimchuk was a reliable two-way forward before he got traded. To not have all of these players on your roster, some depth pieces would need to be called upon to fill these holes.
Who Has Stepped Up?
Goalie Nick Schneider
The Stockton Heat’s goalie situation was a little rough when the season began, but it got even worse when Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons were sidelined due to injury. In comes Nick Schneider, a 21-year-old coming off a rough 2017 WHL season with the Calgary Hitmen. Schneider came in and played the best hockey of his career, going 6-3-0-0 with a 2.45 GAA and a .922 save percentage. The Alberta native sparked a much-needed run for Stockton, winning five of their next six games after his call-up.
Forwards Kerby Rychel and Curtis Lazar
Late offseason trade acquisition Kerby Rychel has been a large source of offense since Andrew Mangiapane got called up. The 2013 first round pick now leads the Heat in scoring with 13 goals and 21 points in 25 games.
As for Curtis Lazar, he is really turning heads in both Stockton and Calgary. Another 2013 first round pick, Lazar notched two goals on Saturday, Dec. 8, including the overtime winner, his third game-winning goal of the season. Along with his clutch play, he’s doing it in all situations, with three powerplay goals, and three shorthanded goals.
Defenseman Adam Ollas Mattsson
When Oliver Kylington was called up to Calgary, it was Adam Ollas Mattsson who needed to step up. The offensive hole Kylington left would be very difficult to fill, but Mattsson caught fans and coaches attention by his play on the other side of the puck. The 2014 sixth-round pick has the teams best plus/minus at plus-7. He’s been excellent at breaking up odd-man rushes and getting in the passing lanes, which made a big difference when Nick Schneider was still getting settled as the starting goalie.
The season started a little rough for the 22-year-old Swede, but now he’s likely the most reliable, smart and consistent defenseman currently in a Stockton jersey.
Who to Watch For:
Defenseman Andrew Nielsen
The Flames made a minor deal with Toronto when they sent Morgan Klimchuk in return for defenseman Andrew Nielsen. They did this trade to shore up the blue line and add some stability. The 2015 third round pick had his best pro hockey season in 2016-17 when he had 14 goals and 39 points in 74 games. He followed that up with 26 points in 65 games the next year.
The 22-year-old has played three games in a Heat jersey this year, collecting his first point with his new team on Dec. 8. Look for Andrew Nielsen to log some heavy minutes in all situations for Stockton, at least until Oliver Kylington comes back (if he does).
Stockton will be back in action tomorrow night for another big division matchup against Bakersfield, followed by a four-game road trip to Iowa and Tucson.