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Hockey, Sports

All-Stars and gold medals: Flames prospects thriving in 2017

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Scott Roblin Feb 09, 2017 5:12 am

With exactly two months remaining in the NHL regular season, things are heating up for the Calgary Flames as they try to hold onto a playoff spot.

Let’s first recap their most recent game… oh wait they’ve been off since Tuesday night.

No problem, at least we have some weekend hockey to look forward to… and of course they don’t hit the ice again until Monday against Arizona.

While the Flames enjoy a five-day break in NHL action, it’s a great chance to check in on a handful of Flames prospects who have been excelling in the minors and junior hockey over the last few months.

1. Tyler Parsons, 19, G, London (OHL)

26 GP 17-4-5 2.25 GAA .926 SV% 4 SO

Simply put, it’s been a successful winter for London Knights goaltender Tyler Parsons.

Returning to London following a Memorial Cup champion season in 2015-16, Parsons has done nothing but win in his third season of major junior.

Possessing a record of 17-4-5, Parsons has backstopped the Knights into a tie for first place in the OHL’s West Division with the Erie Otters and are tied for the most points in the league with 77.

Statistically, Parsons has been excellent as well as he sits second in the OHL to Windsor’s Michael DiPietro in both goals against average (2.25) and save percentage (.926%).

And of course, we can’t forget the gold medal.

Parsons put up a perfect 5-0 record, 2.18 goals against, and .917 save percentage at the 2017 World Juniors, and made 46 saves in the gold medal game against Canada while stopping all five of Canada’s best snipers in the shootout to clinch the title.

“In those types of games there’s a lot of pressure,” Parsons told Aaron Vickers of CalgaryFlames.com. “I like playing with the pressure. I think I play better under pressure and in those big games there’s a lot of pressure. I think that is what makes me successful.”

Still a few years away from the big leagues, Parsons is doing all he can this year to prove to Flames management that he can be the guy in Calgary.

2. Mark Jankowski, 22, C, Stockton (AHL)

38 GP 14 G 16 A 30 Pts 10 PIM

After years of applying his trade at Providence College (NCAA), there were some doubts about how Mark Jankowski would perform at the professional level.

Through 38 games of the American Hockey League season, the former first-rounder is putting many of those doubts to bed.

Posting an almost point-per-game clip, Jankowski currently sits ninth in AHL rookie scoring with 30 points and has led the Heat for most of the season in points.

Posting the first hat-trick in Heat history on January 20 against Bakersfield, the 22-year-old earned an invite to the AHL All-Star Game earlier this month.

Jankowski has also been earning rave reviews from his coach Ryan Huska as of late.

“You see how he can make plays with the puck and he has the ability to look people off – they’ll go one direction, he’ll go the other with the puck,” Huska told Torie Peterson of CalgaryFlames.com. “He’s got a lot to him and he’s a guy who can help us on the offensive side but he’s also committed to defending, which is something that we like.”

While Stockton remains on the outside looking in for playoffs, Jankowski will be relied upon to provide his skills in the face-off dot and in front of the net down the stretch drive.

3. Matthew Phillips, 18, C, Victoria (WHL)

53 GP 38 G 29 A 67 Pts 42 PIM

It takes a special kind of player to put up well over a point-per-game average in the WHL and still have two more years of junior eligibility left.

But, that’s exactly what Victoria Royals centre Matthew Phillips has been able to do this season.

Building off an outstanding first season in the ‘Dub where he posted 76 points in 72 games and picked up WHL Rookie of the Year, Phillips is once again terrorizing opposing netminders.

Sitting in twelfth in WHL scoring with 67 points, the Calgary native has been able to propel the Royals into a playoff spot at the time of this article.

Picked in the sixth-round by the Flames last summer, Phillips is still battling critics due to his size at only five-foot-six and 141 pounds.

Ahead of the 2016 Draft, Future Considerations had this to say about the small but explosive forward:

“Phillips is a tiny, but intelligent playmaker with elite offensive capability. He processes the speed of the game very well and operates well when in motion. He is a quick, shifty skater who brings agility, acceleration and the power to escape a check in a blink. He is a very patient player with skilled mitts who is great at anticipating plays and adjusting to produce a better vantage point.”

Due to his stature it’s a fair bet Flames fans won’t be seeing Phillips in a Calgary jersey next season, but has the potential to be a steal for years to come.

4. Adam Fox, 18, D, Harvard (NCAA)

22 GP 2 G 23 A 25 Pts 6 PIM

For a defenceman playing in his freshman season for illustrious Harvard University, Adam Fox has been able to play in some big situations.

Playing in his first season of college hockey, the New York native has been able to post 25 points in 22 games, leading all Crimson defenders by 15 points.

Fox’s sustained play in his rookie season earned himself a spot on Team USA for the World Juniors alongside Parsons, where he put up four assists over the seven games as one of the team’s youngest blueliners.

Flames Assistant GM Craig Conroy praised Fox’s point producing abilities earlier this year, and the words still ring true as the NCAA season winds down.

“He’s just an offensively-gifted guy that makes plays, makes things happen every time he’s on the ice,” Conroy told the Flames’ official website. “His vision and his hockey sense are so strong. And he’s always had skill too. I worried about the size and the speed of the game but obviously that hasn’t affected him at all.”

Another big championship is on the horizon for Fox, as he’ll square off against fellow Flames prospect Brandon Hickey and Boston University in the annual Beanpot final, which pits the four Boston-area teams against each other.


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Scott Roblin
Flames fan since 2003, news & sports reporter with CHAT TV in Medicine Hat, chocolate milk enthusiast.

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