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Flames 2020 Top 25 Under 25: Best of the Rest

Looking at Flames players ranked #40 through #26



After a few days of voting, we have now set our order for the 2020 edition of the Flames Top 25 Under 25! I’d like to thank everybody who took the time to get their votes in to help us decide our order this year. As with last year’s format, each of the writer’s submitted their own list, and then the readers votes were average together to equal one vote as well.

For today’s honorable mention article, we will give you players #40-26, with their each of the five votes listed as either N/A (outside Top 28), HM (honorable mention 26-28), or their vote in the top 25 if they had one.

For those curious the order of votes will go: MGMacGillivray, Flashalytics, MarkParkinson14, MadelineCampbell, Gordie.Taylor, and the Reader Vote.

The Rest

#40: D Jake Boltmann

Voting: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A

Last Year: N/A

As per usual, it’s not uncommon to see new draft picks outside of the first round fall to the bottom of the barrel to start. Most of their rating seems to come from a lack of familiarity with the players which is too be expected. Boltmann did however provide one of the cooler moments of draft weekend, finding out about his selection while on the ice with his teammates. I’d recommend watching the video if you haven’t yet. Boltmann is playing with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and is committed to the University of Minnesota for 2021-22.

#39: C Lucas Feuk

Voting: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A

Last Year: #36

The main story on Feuk is that he’s a long term project out of Sweden. He has parts to his game that show potential, but it appears that his skating and defensive game still need some work. He may have a shot at cracking Sweden’s roster for the upcoming World Junior tournament, which should improve his name recognition amongst fans and therefore his ranking.

#38: C Josh Nodler

Voting: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A

Last Year: #37

Similar to Feuk, Nodler’s low ranking may be more so from a lack of notoriety than anything else. Nodler had eight points in 36 games during his freshman year at Michigan State University and will be returning this year assuming the season is played. One point to follow is that Nodler was recently invited to the United States World Junior Summer Evaluation camp, so he may have a shot at making the roster this winter. Again like Feuk, making the tournament would certainly increase his notoriety.

#37: LW/C Demetrious Koumontzis

Voting: N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A

Last Year: #22

Koumontzis takes the biggest fall out of any players in our rankings, tumbling fifteen spots from #22 last year to #37. After a very impressive freshman year with 20 points in 35 games at Arizona State University, Koumontzis struggled in 2019-20, with just eight points in 25 games. Koumontzis made it to the Team USA camp for last year’s world juniors but didn’t make the team unfortunately. It was a year of instability for Koumontzis, switching between winger and centre along with having a few injuries. Hopefully he can turn things back around this year.

#36: C Ryan Francis

Voting: N/A, #18, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A

Last Year: N/A

Like the others, Francis takes a hit being a later round pick this year, but he does have potential to become an NHLer, almost similar to a Matthew Phillips. While he is undersized at 5’9’’ he has the skills and put up the points last year to show he can make it work at the junior level. He had 72 points in 61 games last year after 32 the year prior. He already has six points in six games this year prior to the QMJHL pausing for COVID reasons. He will be a prospect to watch the next couple of years, but is also definitely a long-term project.

#35: C Mitchell Mattsson

Voting: N/A, N/A, #21, N/A, N/A, N/A

Last Year: #35

There’s not really much to say on Mattsson. It seems like he probably won’t be signed by the Flames when his deadline comes up in 2022 as he’s only put up one assist in 36 games over the last two years at Michigan State.

#34: LW Justin Kirkland

Voting: N/A, N/A, #25, N/A, N/A, HM

Last Year: HM (Honourable Mention)

At this point Kirkland is more or less what he is, a decent AHL forward. He had 28 points in 53 games for Stockton this past year, not much else to say. He has one more year left on his contract with the Flames, at which point I’d expect they either not qualify him as an RFA, or bring him back on a AHL only deal, barring a huge outburst this year.

#33: LW Filip Sveningsson

Voting: N/A, N/A, HM, N/A, N/A

Last Year: #29

It doesn’t seem too likely that the Flames will choose to sign Sveningsson before the June 1 2021 deadline. Sveningsson was drafted in the 7th round back in 2017 and played 29 games last year in the SHL with four points. He was loaned to the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan league this year where he should get more opportunities with his new club MODO Hockey. Like other players down on our list, he will need a big year to even stick around.

#32: LW Rory Kerins

Voting: N/A, #17, N/A, #20, N/A, N/A

Last Year: N/A

Much like Francis, Kerins is an exciting prospect to follow as he plays his way through the OHL. Kerins was drafted in the sixth round this year, and will be playing for the Soo Greyhounds once the OHL eventually restarts. He is also relatively undersized at 5’10’’ but again the Flames are banking on speed and skill translating rather than just size. He had 30 goals and 59 points in 64 games last season.

#31: C Martin Pospisil

Voting: HM, N/A, N/A, N/A, N/A, #25

Last Year: #18

Pospisil also takes a pretty significant tumble down our list this year. His first season in Stockton didn’t go particularly well after he missed a number of games with a concussion as a result of a fight early in the season. He did finish with 10 points in 26 games with the Heat and 56 penalty minutes. He has been loaned to HC Kosice in his home country of Slovakia until hockey returns in North America.

#30: G Daniil Chechelev

Voting: HM, #24, N/A, N/A, #25, N/A

Last Year: N/A

The Flames chose to go back to the Russian well and selected Chechelev in the fourth round of this year’s draft. It is worth noting that this was Chechelev’s second time through the draft and is 19 years old. Chechelev had a solid season last year in the MHL (the Russian junior league) posting a .922 SV% over 49 apperances. This year has been even better as he’s undefeated over nine starts with a 1.88 GAA and .944 SV%. The Flames have only had one Russian goaltender ever suit up for them, Andrei Trefilov for 22 games over four seasons in the 90’s.

#29: D Yan Kuznetsov

Last Year: N/A

Voting: HM, #22, N/A, #22, HM, N/A

As I already mentioned, the Flames Russian Revival is alredy well underway with the drafting of Kuznetsov and Chechelev this year. Despite being Russian, Kuznetsov has already spent two seasons playing hockey in North America, spending last year with the University of Connecticut in the NCAA. He also played for Sioux Falls of the USHL the year before. Kuznetsov played in six games for the Russian U18 this past year as well, so he may get consideration for upcoming World Juniors games. Kuznetsov fits the bill of a big (6’4’’ 201 lbs at 18) defender with strong defensive play. His skating still needs work, but he projects to be a reliable shutdown defender if his development goes well.

Honourable Mentions

#28: D Ilya Solovyov

Voting: N/A, #23, N/A, #23, N/A, N/A

Last Year: N/A

I’m not entirely sure how Solovyov ended up higher than some of the other picks from his class, but perhaps it was his age and experience. Solovyov was drafted in the 7th round of this past draft at 20 years of age. The Belarusian defender came to North America for his Age 20 season in the hopes of catching an NHL eye in his third time through the draft. That was the case as he expectedly did well against younger OHL talent, with 40 points in 53 games for the Saginaw Spirit. He is now playing for Dynamo Minsk of the KHL with two points through nine games.

#27: D Carl-Johan Lerby

Voting: N/A, N/A, HM, N/A, #21, HM

Last Week: #31

Lerby had a decent season with Malmo of the SHL with 16 points in 44 games, however it was fewer than his previous season’s total of 21 points in 47 games. The plan was for Lerby to transition to North America this season and play with the Stockton Heat, but that has been thrown up in the air. So far he hasn’t been loaned back to the SHL but I wouldn’t be shocked if he was at some point if the AHL’s restart doesn’t happen soon.

#26: C Ilya Nikolaev

Voting: N/A, #15, N/A, #19, #22, N/A

Last Year: #27

One year later and Nikolaev moves up one spot. He had a pretty solid season last year with Loko Yaroslavl’s MHL affiliate with 32 points in 53 games. This year he has 13 points in 12 games so far for the MHL club and has also played a pair of games in the VHL which is the AHL level of the KHL. Watch for Nikolaev to potentially earn a spot on Team Russia at this year’s World Junior tournament.

That’s it for #40 through #26, #25 will debut on Wednesday as we run through this series. Thank you again to those who took the time to vote in our ranking poll.

by Michael MacGillivray