PGD: Flames and San Jose

It’s our Young Stars version of FGD in Penticton, as it’s Flames Prospects Game Day tonight when Calgary’s top young players hook up with those of the San Jose Sharks.  The game can be seen live on www.calgaryflames.com and we’ll have a full recap following the matchup.  It’s a pretty veteran looking Flames squad as they take part in the first game of the tournament.

The facility in Penticton is gorgeous, with two pristine sheets of ice and a main facility that most WHL teams would drool over.  The South Okanogan Events Centre can hold 5200 people for Penticton Vee’s games, and some pretty nice crowds are expected tonight, especially for Vancouver’s game against Oilers prospects.  You’ll see a lot of familiar faces in the lineup for the Flames tonight, with a lot of guys who have played together.

The Lineup

It’ll be our first look at 2011 first round draft pick Sven Baertschi in Flames game action, as he’ll suit up for the game tonight, looking to see time with Roman Horak and Carter Bancks to start things off.  Baertschi scored 34 times in the regular season, helping him to 85 points in his rookie WHL season.  He was flying during gameday skate, and there’s no question he has deadly finishing ability.  His skills might be heavily displayed tonight.  Here are the forward lines:

Lance Bouma-Mitch Wahl-Greg Nemisz
Sven Baertschi-Roman Horak-Carter Bancks
Patrick Holland-Max Reinhart-Ryan Howse
Gaelan Patterson-Blake Gal-Michael Ferland

A couple of interesting combinations to watch for tonight, starting with that first unit, which could be called the "08 Draft Line".  Going left to right, Bouma, Wahl and Nemisz went third, second, and first round in 2008 and all have spent time with the Abbotsford Heat last season.  Look for them to get a ton of ice time, because all three players will be heavily used by the Heat for the coming year.  Bouma is by far the most experienced, having suited up for 16 games with the Flames last year.

I’m wondering if Howse and Bancks might switch spots at some point during the game tonight, just because of the natural connection between Howse and Horak, who were teammates in Chilliwack.  Reinhart and Holland playing together really intrigues me, and I’m going to be heavily focused on them and what situations Troy Ward puts them in.  They’re both strong two way players, and they both have shown an ability in junior to move the play north even when put in tough defensive situations.

I wasn’t able to catch defensive pairings for the Flames, but they’ll go with 6 on the blueline tonight, and a pretty veteran look at that.  These are not pairings, but I’ll put them down in that format.

Chris Breen-T.J. Brodie
John Negrin-Reid Jackson
Joey Leach-James Martin

Again, those are not official pairings, just the six guys playing tonight, but you might just see Leach and Martin end up together in this one, as they’re teammates with the Kootenay Ice.  Breen and Brodie are going to be given plenty of opportunities in all situations, while Jackson and Martin are both playing on tryout offers.

In net, the Flames have brought in Strathmore product Adam Avramenko to take the spot of Laurent Brossoit, who injured his groin last week.  Avramenko played a pair of game with the Floride Everblades of the ECHL last year, but spent most of his time in the SPHL splliting time with Fayetteville and Augusta.  He likely won’t see any playing time tonight, as it looks like Joni Ortio will get the start; Andrew Engelage will be his backup.

The Opponent

We don’t know a whole lot about who the Sharks will dress tonight, as their skate was going on at the same time as Calgary’s this morning.  Last year, their group of prospects went 2-1 in the Young Stars Tournament, and will bring a number of players back this time around.  Two of San Jose’s 2011 draft picks will also participate in defencemen Dylan DeMelo and Justin Sefton.  They’ve brought eight defencemen overall.

  • Konrad Abeltshauser, Halifax (QMJHL)
  • Sena Acolatse, Price George (WHL)
  • Zach Bell, Brampton (OHL)
  • Antoine Corbin, Prince Albert (WHL)
  • Dylan DeMelo, Mississauga (OHL)
  • Taylor Doherty, Kingston (OHL)
  • Justin Sefton, Sudbury (OHL)
  • William Wrenn, Portland (WHL)

Michael Sgarbossa lead the Sharks in scoring one year ago at this tournament, and finished second overall with four points in two games.  He returns this year after a year split between Sudbury and Saginaw in the Ontario Hockey League, and joins a fairly sizeable group of returning forwards including Freddie Hamilton who’s coming off a great year in Niagra.  San Jose brought 16 forwards to Penticton.

  • Joe Antilla, Kootenay (WHL)
  • Trevor Cheek, Calgary (WHL)
  • Mike Connolly, Minnesota-Duluth (WCHA)
  • Curt Gogol, Chilliwack (WHL)
  • Freddie Hamilton, (OHL)
  • Chalres Inglis, Prince George (WHL)
  • James Livingston, Plymouth (OHL)
  • Tony Lucia, Worcester (AHL)
  • James Marcou, Worcester (AHL)
  • Nathan Moon, Kingston (OHL)
  • Brodie Reid, Northeastern (HE)
  • Michael Sgarbossa, Sudbury (OHL)
  • Ben Thomson, Kitchener (OHL)
  • Scooter Vaughan, Michigan (CCHA)
  • Marek Viedensky, Saskatoon (WHL)
  • Dylan Wruck, Edmonton (WHL)

Forward Benn Ferriero took part in this tournament last year and made a very good impression, so much so that he saw 33 games with the Sharks in the regular season.  He also scored an overtime winner against Detroit in one of his eight games in the postseason.

In net, both J.P. Anderson and Thomas Heemskerk return for another year, joined by Harri Sateri from Finland who saw seven games of action in the AHL last season.  Sateri is the oldest of the three.

  • J.P. Anderson, Mississauga (OHL)
  • Thomas Heemskerk, Moose Jaw (WHL)
  • Harri Sateri, Worcester (AHL)

The Story

The common narrative over the past few seasons has been how bare the cupboards are for the Calgary Flames.  It’s true, there are very few blue chip, high end prospects in the system right now.  That said, as I believe this tournament will flesh out, there are some bonafide NHLers in the system.  Over the past couple seasons, names like Reinhart, Holland, Howse and Brodie have emerged as players to be excited for; combine Baertschi with that group, and there’s plenty of reasons to watch tonight’s game online.