Midway Through


MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 26: Tim Erixon of the Calgary Flames poses for a photo after he was selected #23 overall by the Flames during the first round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft at the Bell Centre on June 26, 2009 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)



Wednesday on ice sessions have wrapped up as Calgary Flames development camp continues at the Saddledome.  While it’s tough to get an accurate read watching drills and power skating, the FlamesNation crew continues to post their observations.  I’ve got thoughts on Mitch Wahl, Greg Nemisz and Tim Erixon (pictured) after today’s sessions.

In the comments section of my development camp preview post, FN’s Kent made the point that Mitch Wahl was one of the top guys he’s excited about in the organization right now.  I think I’m right there with him.  The scouting reports on the former Spokane Chiefs captain are varied, but count me as a fan.  From watching him on the ice this week, you’re not going to get a whole lot of a read…watching him today, he can skate, he’s got a good burst, and a fairly good shot.

However, talking to a few guys who watched Wahl in his brief time with the Abbotsford Heat this past season, they were very impressed.  He’s one of those guys who doesn’t get fazed very often, he’s very easy going and is ready to step up and fill any role that’s asked of him.  Heat Head Coach Jim Playfair was impressed with him during his time there, and Playfair certainly played him in varied roles.  His final WHL season was strong, putting up 96 points, and I’m very excited to see a full AHL season from him this coming year.

Greg Nemisz is also expected to start the year with the Abbotsford Heat, and listening to the 2008 first round pick today, you can tell confidence is growing.  After a 34 goal season with the Windsor Spitfires, you can tell Nemisz is growing into his frame more, and he’s added more strength to his game since June of ’08.  But it’s the confidence and comfort level that I’ve noticed…it’s his third development camp, and he really felt like he had a lot to show this time around.  Eventually, a first round pick is expected to make the big team, and that expectation will be there with Nemisz.  I’m intrigued to see a full season with him in the Heat lineup, even though there is the very slim chance he could return to Windsor as a 20 year old.  Although, with two Memorial Cups…there’s not a whole lot to do there.

Finally, I know a lot of people are intrigued by 2009 first round pick Tim Erixon, the blueliner who played the entire season in the Swedish Elite League last season.  What’s really interesting about Erixon is just where his ceiling is at.  The book on him seems to be a good, all round defenceman for where he is in his development…but what is the high end offensively for him?  And what is the high end in his own zone?  Director of Scouting Tod Button wasn’t necessarily sure in Montreal when they drafted him, and the team is still getting a read on him.  From what I’ve seen, which is VERY limited, he seems to be a fairly smooth skater and he transitions well.  He’ll play in Sweden again this coming season, so it’s going to take a little longer for us to get a real read on him.

  • marty

    ya i can’t wait to see how the first year pro’s do in abby. wahl seems to be the best chance at being an offensive threat in the nhl down the road (excluding backlund) but time will only tell. the goalies is where alot of my curiosity lies. hope irving or keetley steps up. i dont think it will happen but i agree with what you and robby were talking about today about how it would be nice for someone to come out of left field and make the team this year but with all the bodies around it is doubtful.

      • Bob

        i’m pretty sure karlsson’s name was omitted here for similar reasons that guys like pelech and keetley are: development camp is for dudes on their first pro contracts and those guys aren’t in town this week…

        i’m gonna swing by for the afternoon sesh tomorrow, but i think that’s when you’re on air…?

      • marty

        i think the team will be fine there are some good mid 20 players on the team and i think the prospects that are in the 19-21 are promising (wahl, nemisz, ortio, erixon, ortio etc.) the issue will be who will be the face after iggy is done. thats a few years down the road but maybe it will be a giordano? aren’t you a big giord fan?

  • Grant F

    Another thing to keep in mind with Erixon – as much as this organization has struggled to develop skilled forwards – they have shown the ability to bring blueliners along.

    I agree with leaving Erixon in Sweden for now – but at the same time I wonder what impact Playfair could have if given the opportunity to spend a season with him.

    It was tough to see the Flames not have a 1st round pick this season but I think the decision to keep their ’09 pick instead will prove to be a good one if Erixon continues on his current development path.

    • Bob

      Hindsight is 20/20. If Erixon takes too long and Brandon Gormley rounds into shape in quicker time, people will remember the 2010 draft as a missed opportunity.

      But that will be at least a couple of years…anything can happen in that time. If Erixon does prove to be a capable NHL’er then it would help Sutter’s legacy which has been on shakey ground the last little while.

      • Grant F

        Yeah Gormley dropping was unexpected-heck Fowler almost dropped that far. Not sure what caused both to fall.

        That being said – I don’t think there is much of a gap ceiling wise between Gormley and Erixon.

        • Grant F

          I disagree with u Grant. Some experts had Gormley going in the top 5, and almost all the experts had Gormley going in the top 10. Erixon, however, was drafted top 25, and some scouting reports didn’t even have him going in the first round. I expect Gormley will become an elite level defender, while Erixon will be a top 4 d – man at best

          • Grant F

            Too much value is placed on all the lists that come out prior to the draft – that in this case had Gormley in the top 5. The only lists that matter are the ones that NHL teams use. Gormley could very well end up better than Erixon – we won’t know for probably years. But I don’t think the Flames should be second guessed on the decision to keep the ’09 pick (at least not until both guys establish themselves in the NHL). They had a guy there they liked and they took him. Nothing wrong with that.