Prospect Tournament Post-Game: Shots but no goals? Yes, you are Flame prospects.


MISSISSAUGA, CANADA - AUGUST 26:  Mikael Backlund #60 of the Calgary Flames kneels on the ice during the Upper Deck NHL Rookie Debut at the Hershey Centre August 26, 2009 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)



I’ll keep this fairly short tonight. There are nights when things just don’t quite work out in spite of a decent effort, and for the Heat-in-waiting this evening, that was the type of evening they endured as they dropped a 5-3 decision to the baby Grease in Penticton. A shaky first period and five minutes of serial defensive ineptitude in the second allowed the Oiler kids enough chances to seal matters, despite being out-shot 37-35 by the Flame prospects in a reasonably entertaining tilt for a practice game.



For the Flames, I enjoyed the work of T.J. Brodie again, and I’m at the point where I hope he gets a game or two in the main camp, mostly to see how he’ll attempt to adapt to stronger players. He’s nowhere near ready physically, IMO, but he does appear to think the game in a way that 20 year old defenders normally don’t manage. As much as anything, I’d like to see if his obvious skating ability against his peers translates when he faces his elders. He and John Negrin are the best of the Flame D prospects at this tournament by a fair margin.


Leland Irving was also acceptable. He really got hung out to dry by his teammates a few times, with Edmonton’s second goal coming on a 2 on 1 after a particularly egregious neutral zone turnover. He looked better than Matt Keetley did yesterday, at any rate. As for the forwards, Mikael Backlund improved as the evening progressed, and he and Jon Rheault were likely a bit unlucky that they didn’t manage a goal in the third. Greg Nemisz was better than in his opener, with a nice goal after some good Lance Bouma work and a pretty fair night on the PK. 


I didn’t notice Mitch Wahl quite as much, as his line made a good push in the second, then fell off somewhat. A game like tonight’s also underscores why Keith Seabrook will likely have a hard time moving higher than the A. His size is certainly a factor, but it’s his somewhat enigmatic decision making that will keep him one rung below the elite. 


For the bad guys, Chris Vande Velde was pretty fair, as the former Fighting Sioux showed what having a bit of experience on your side can do in this environment. Edmonton got a good night in net out of Tyler Bunz, and Alex Plante managed a pair of goals to lead the Oily attack. I don’t expect any of the players the Oilers iced tonight to make the bigs as a regular any time soon, so the fact that they played the Flames even is good on them, and maybe not quite so good on Calgary’s group, although the Flames did look the better side the last period and a half. 


The Flames wrap up efforts in the Okanagan with a businessman’s special Thursday afternoon versus the Canucks, starting at 1 PM MT.

  • Greg

    I know it’s only 1 game, but it’s still really disappointing that our best prospects lost to Edmonton’s even without their 3 best. Doesn’t give me warm fuzzy feelings…

  • icedawg_42

    Im also curious to see how Brodie’s skating compares to NHL skaters.
    I thought Bouma was good last night. Couple of really crafty passes/plays from Backlund but I was hoping for him to stand out a bit more.

    Feel ripped off not getting to see the Coilers “big three” in action.

    Definitely a loosey-goosey game.

  • BobB

    Darn, I really wanted to see this game but I was evaluating at the rink.

    I was interested in seeing Irving. If you’ve said he was acceptable, I’ll take you word for it. As well, from what I’ve gathered today, he was 19/20 in the first period alone, and two of the four GA were on the EDM PP.

    Boxscore doesn’t have PP shots, but the mini-grease had 9PP so probably 9-15 shots on the PP. Let’s say Irving was between 20/22 to 26/28 at evens. .909 – .929 ev sv%. Not bad in a 37SA loss.

    We’ll see when he gets in pre-season action. Last year he had the best stats in two games, this year he’ll probably get 2 games max again.

    I don’t think he’s challenging for a roster spot, but I think he needs to start pushing Keetley out of the picture.

  • Got to see a fair share of the game. The baby Flames did a far superior job working the puck around and keeping it in the Oilers zone, they just couldn’t capitalize on enough chances.

    TJ Brodie looked great out there, Backlund looked pretty good as well, a couple times he made some nice moves but just couldn’t bury anything. I’m excited to see what he can do in the main camp.

    There are definitely a lot of bright spots on this roster, watching last nights game gave me some optimism for our future. With a good season developing in the A we might have a few guys ready to step up next year.