The Flames Fifteen: #11 – Greg Nemisz


Ah, Nemo. We meet again.

Selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Greg Nemisz came into the Flames’ world as a possible-maybe-kinda-sorta replacement for Jarome Iginla.

That was 4 years ago.

Nemisz improved upon his counting stats after his draft year, where he scored 34 goals and added 33 assists in 68 games. However, his NHLE totals since graduating from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires have gone from 33 in the team’s Memorial Cup season to 17 last year and 20 this year. That is troubling, because that’s a drop off of nearly 50% coming out from the OHL to the AHL. That must mean he has some trouble with something, because well-rounded players do not just drop like that.

It’s not size, as various places around the net have him listed between 6’3, 202 and 6’4, 209. That is more than big enough to hack it in a professional league. It’s not as if he doesn’t have some dangles, either. So logically, we have to conclude that his skating is not up to par.

Player Kent Justin WI Scott VF
Greg Nemisz 9 13 N/R 5 15

[HockeyDB] [EliteProspects] [Hockey’s Future]

*Reminder – The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he’s already a bona fide NHLer).

Although, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that if you’ve watched Nemisz play. Obviously there are many mechanics you need to focus on while you are skating – arm movement, head positioning, upper body positioning, and knee bend – Nemisz struggles with a lot of them. Just watch his stride and you’ll see that it looks like he’s working twice as hard to get to some place on the ice half as fast.

Skating is really a case of the less you do, the faster you’ll be. Nemisz, to me, is one of the great examples of guys you draft because “you can fix their skating” or whatever. It’s never that simple, though. Skating is by far the hardest thing to correct in a player because of how much movement it takes. Generally, by the time you hit 16 or 17, you either have it or you don’t.

Now, I’ve been extremely critical of Nemisz here, but I don’t think I’ve been unfair. The guy does have some great hands, and he throws his body around quite a bit (although his coaches often say he could always be more aggressive). Word out of the OHL and AHL is that Nemisz is a versatilve player who can skate on both the wing and at center because and at both special teams. So when he plays to his strengths, he can be a useful player out there.

Last year I wrote that the 2011-2012 season was Nemisz’s make-or-break year, and I feel like I was probably a year premature with that declaration. Nemisz will finish his entry-level contract this year, and he’s going to have to show Flames management that he’s worth keeping around. To be honest, I’m not sure how he does that, aside from upping his scoring beyond the rate of a replacement level guy.

And that – for both Flames fans and Nemisz – really sucks.

The List

Player   Kent   Justin   WI   Scott   VF   Final Rank
Greg Nemisz   9   13   0   5   15   11
Paul Byron   12   10   0   12   11   12
John Ramage   14   12   0   0   12   13
Chris Breen   0   15   0   13   0   14
Tyler Wotherspoon   0   14   0   0   10   15

  • I’ve felt that the biggest issue with Nemisz as a pro is that he doesn’t seem to know what kind of player he wants to (or is ABLE) to be.

    Lance Bouma has easily surpassed Nemisz as a pro, and it’s not because he’s got more talent. It’s because Bouma figured out what he needed to do to become a regular contributor (and get call-ups) and committed 110% to that role.

    Nemisz is turning heads in the AHL playoffs, but I’m not sure if it’s enough.

    • Vintage Flame

      I’ve felt that the biggest issue with Nemisz as a pro is that he doesn’t seem to know what kind of player he wants to (or is ABLE) to be.

      That’s a fair observation I think Ryan. I think he is comfortable, perhaps too comfortable in the AHL and therefore produces better. When he get up with the Flames, he seems to try to hard and look for too many opportunities, in the meantime he gets caught watching. As Justin said in the article, that is probably a result from his poor skating.

      Nemisz is turning heads in the AHL playoffs, but I’m not sure if it’s enough.

      Unfortunately, I think that is the only place he will turn heads. It seems that short of some kind of miracle for Nemo this year, the only ones left turning heads, will be the Flames management, turning to look in a different direction. With the likes of Reinhart, Ferland and of course Bärtschi coming up, Nemo might just find himself out of opportunities.

      Thus why I had him ranked at #15

  • Nice writeup Justin.

    My ranking of Nemisz at 5 is a little misleading.

    I’m not a fan of Nemisz and firmly believe that the Flames scouting staff and Darryl Sutter were blinded by junior stats instead of focusing on the actual player.

    However, as it stands he very well may end up being a goal-scoring top 9 winger. And, at this point I’m not ready to give too many other Flames prospects that label… which speaks more to a lack of elite prospects than it does of Greg Nemisz himself.

  • Graham

    My first real exposure to Nemisz was the world juniors a few years back, all I remember is Nemisz skating around slowly in big circles, not really being able to keep up with the play.

    He does have the size and strength for a 4th line role (and maybe some scoring), so he might be worth at least a look, but his skating and mobility put even this in question.

    Unfortunately, he is beginning to look like another in a long line of first round busts…

    Its no wonder we don’t have a competitive team; Erixon (couldn’t sign), Nemisz (bubble), Backlund (some hope, basically scoring challenged), Irving (maybe?), Pelech
    (disaster), Chucko (disaster), Phaneuf (traded for junk), Nystrom (3-4th liner gone), Kobasew, Krahn, Saprykin, Fata, Tkaczuk…..

  • Graham

    Worth re-signing IMO. He needs 1 more full year in the AHL whther he likes it or not. A skating coach and daily work on everything from his overall strength to his first step, to top speed, mobility, etc. all need to be worked on.

    Pepper was made to push the net the length of the ice after practices and it helped a great deal.

    Calgary has so few prospects they really can’t afford to not re-sgin Nemisz.

  • Graham

    I’m getting more and more curious who the top 10 are, I would have thought Nemisz would have been a bit higher, he’s showed a bit more this year, actually being a functional call up as well.

    I agree with other sentiments, he needs to spend more time in the AHL thats for sure, but he could have top 9 potential.

  • Arik

    I find it mildly to very amusing that the reason I didn’t submit ranking (though Justin asked me to) was because I wanted to save my own rankings for M&G and now here I am.

  • T&A4Flames

    Flames should keep working with him. They new he would be a project when they drafted him. I look at Blake Wheeler; a lot of negative things were said about him. All of a sudden he’s starting to look like he’s growing into his potential. He was a monster in the game I saw against Calgary. Nemo may just be a late developer. At the very least, he can become a decent AHL vet for us, but I think he has NHL hope yet.

  • supra steve


    Agree that Flame draft history is horrible. In looking at their active roster as of seasons end, they had 4 players (whom they had drafted) on that roster–Backlund, Bouma, Moss, Brodie. Not exactly up there with Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Howard; or even Benn, Eriksson, Morrow, Ott. Let’s hope they turned a corner a year or three ago as their last 2 first rounders (Erixon & Sven)look like long term NHLer’s (so far).

    • SmellOfVictory

      Zetterberg, age 23: 44 points in the NHL

      Datsyuk, age 23: 35 points in the NHL

      Jimmy Howard, age 23: .911 sv% in the AHL, 4 NHL games to his name (.904 sv%)

      Steve Ott, age 23: 22 points in the NHL

      Etc, etc.

      Your judgements on Backlund and Brodie are saddening. Bouma is clearly a bottom 6 guy at best (probably bottom 3), and we know Moss’ ability, but your comparisons and expectations aren’t warranted when we’re looking at the other two, who have both contributed quite a bit to the team (and that 23 year old age only applies to Backlund; Brodie’s not even 22 yet).

  • supra steve

    this is a mostly fair assessment of Nemisz. My only problem is that there’s no mention of his defensive game, which is probably the best in the system outside Max Reinhart and maybe Bill Arnold.

  • supra steve

    nemisz cant skate, its blamely obvious. the knock on him in minor midget was his feet. he along with james livingstone were highly regarded in the ohl draft but both raised eyebrows with weak skating. this caught up to both, power house junior teams like the spits had can make alot of beer leaguers look good.

  • RexLibris

    I would disagree on one point mentioned, in that a player’s skating ability is more or less set by the time they are 16-17. They “either have it or they don’t”. While I would agree in terms of some natural ability, but that isn’t really the point of your statement there.

    I think a skating coach can greatly improve a player’s abilities, assuming that they match the coach’s instruction with their own level of effort. That doesn’t mean that the right coach could turn Derian Hatcher into Guy Lafleur, but you can make improvements.

    I have seen this in the development and improvement in skating amongst many of the Oiler prospects. Sam Gagner, Anton Lander, and a few others have all improved their style and footspeed.

    In Nemisz’s case I have to wonder if there are just some other intangible tools missing. He played centre on a stacked Windsor team and the more I read of him the more I am reminded of M.A. Pouliot. Looked great on paper and dominated in junior playing on a good team. But he just could never translate that to the NHL, though never for overall lack of effort.

    I suspect that when the eventual day of reckoning comes within the Flames organization and the old prospects are flushed out to make room for the new youth movement Nemisz will be one that will be let go with a “sigh, well we gave it a shot anyways”.

  • RexLibris


    worth noting that nemisz was the last canadian skater to record a point in that tourney too.


    I don’t think the top 2 will be a surprise, but there are definitely a couple from 3-9 that’ll shock people with where they’re placed.


    you could say that.


    honestly, the reason I didn’t mention it is because I really haven’t noticed it, but I’ve also only seen like 10 heat games this year.


    I felt like I had piled on the kid enough, but you bring up the coat tail effect with guys like hall and bailey and henrique. very valid point.