Flames Prospects Camp Day 2



I managed to make it to the afternoon session of the Flames prospects camp today. Luckily it was a scrimmage so I got to see the kids in game action, which makes it easier to evaluate them.

For my first look I usually don’t spend too much time trying to keep an eye on individuals, preferring instead to sit back and see who jumps out. This report won’t be terribly in depth as result since most of the skaters sort of faded into the background. A couple of names stood out to me in both the good and bad sense though:

The Good

John Gaudreau – the might mite was outstanding his afternoon. Quick, crafty, Gaudreau showed excellent instincts on both sides of the puck. He pursued puck carriers and was always getting in lanes or stealing the puck from their sticks. He scored the two nicest goals of the afternoon – for the first, he banked the puck off the boards near his own blueline, blew past the defender (John Ramage) escaped to the outside and the roofed a wrist shot over the goaltender.

He scored his second goal on a penalty shot. He turned the unfortunate ‘tender inside out and then slipped the puck between his legs. It was a silky smooth display that drew an audible gasp of admiration from the crowd. Craig Conroy was sitting nearby and he had big grin on his face whenever Gaudreau was doing his thing.

The 4th rounder is, of course, the smallest dude on the ice so some issues remain there. He got flattened once and it was clear at times that he’s not comfortable engaging in the physical aspects of the game. Not that he shied away from the puck or traffic areas, just that he preferred stick checks and quickness to using the body. His biggest obstacle to making the show will be the down-low, cycle, grind game that tends to dominate areas of play in the NHL.

That said, I came away incredibly impressed and I’m guessing most of the other observers did as well.

Sven Baertschi – The most consistently dangerous guy on the ice. Baertschi should have had at least 4 points, but the puck wouldn’t go in for him for whatever reason. He had multiple break-aways and set up his linemates multiple times. It was clear when he had the puck in contested areas that his skill level and poise is a cut above most of his peers.

Mark Jankowski – The latest Flames first rounder was a lot quieter than the other two guys, but at times he flashed the skills that no doubt caused Calgary to jump the queue and take him at 21. He’s got a smooth stride and pretty slick hands. He almost buried a goal after driving wide around a defender.

Mark was probably the youngest guy on the ice and it was obvious on occassion he needs to put some weight and strength on his lanky frame.

The Bad

Greg Nemisz – Really rough afternoon for the AHL vet. I didn’t notice Nemisz much in the first half of the game, but in the second half I did – for all the wrong reasons.

It’s still clear as day that Nemisz isn’t a good skater (in terms of both pace and mechanics), even in a game against non-NHLers. On top of that, his instincts were poor at times – there was shift near the end of the match where the play died on his stick on three separate occasions, each for different reasons – hanging on to the puck too long, passing to the wrong guy or poor execution. He was eventually granted a penalty shot of his own and the difference between his effort and that of Gaudreau was profound – whereas the kid was smooth and effortless, Nemisz was awkward and clunky. He didn’t score. 

At 22 and with two seasons of pro hockey under his belt, this is a setting in which Nemisz should dominate, but he just didn’t. Quite the opposite in fact. 

John Ramage – Was victimized on the Gaudreau goal and on a number of other occasions. Had problems all over the ice, except for his penalty shot goal which was an impressive snipe into the top corner.

Pat Sieloff – I was back and forth on the physical defender – there were shifts where he’d look totally comfortable and his aggression was evident and there were others where he looked like he was struggling to make decisions and execute with the puck. He’s not a big guy by any means, but he loves to throw the body around, even against potential future teammates in a practice setting. He’ll need some seasoning though.

The unnoticable

Markus Granlund –  I expected to see a lot more of Granlund given the league he played in last year, but he was nearly completely invisible. He made probably two noticeable plays in the offensive zone, but otherwise it would have been easy to think he wasn’t even dressed. 

Max Reinhart – Max Power was another guy I expected to see more of, but he faded into the woodwork a bit too. I only made note of his number maybe once or twice. 

Roman Horak – Horak opened the game well, setting up the game’s opening goal for team white. After that, I maybe saw him once or twice more, which was mildly disappointing. 

I should note that one scrimmage against kids and hopefuls hardly constitutes a meaningful scouting report. Some guys may have had bad afternoons, which is human, while others may have been riding high. It happens.

I came away very impressed with two of Calgary top-5 prospects though – Gaudreau and Baertschi looked like the two most commanding guys on the ice quite often, despite not being the oldest of biggest dudes out there.

Some other names and numbers popped up here and there, but never consistently enough for me to make a note of them. Turner Elson, Michael Ferland and few of the try-outs had a decent shift or two, but that was about it.

FlamesNation’s own Ryan Pike and Heat PbP voice Ryan Pinder were also in attendance, so expect their takes to pop up.

Ryan (Pike) here with a quick run-in: I attended the Tuesday morning sessions as well as the afternoon scrimmage. The morning sessions were a bit smaller and more focused and allowed for a bit more detailed viewings. I thought that Max Reinhart and Dustin Sylvester were good in their drills, particularly a 2-on-2 half-ice scrimmage they ran at the end of the session. Carter Bancks wasn’t noticable in the morning sessions, but was effective in the scrimmage. And I also really liked Brady Lamb and Pat Sieloff as a blueline pairing in the scrimmage; both of them had some nice plays and some physicality, but they also looked a bit shaky in their own zone at times. That said, the scrimmage itself didn’t lend itself to much defensive prowess, so a lot of usually stingy defensive players looked porous on this occasion. Other than that, I concur with Kent’s take on things.

As always, anyone else who took in the action is enouraged to share their thoughts in the comments as well.

  • Truculence

    Your thoughts on a lot of players like Ramage, Sieloff, Reinhart, and others differ from Ryan Pinders`. Not a shot at you, by any means, just an intriguing confirmation of how subjective scouting can be when there are 12 bodies flying all over the ice at any one time.

    Reinhart and Baertchi remain my two favorite prospects, with Ferland a close third.

    Hopefully all three get a chance at the big leagues as bottom 6 forwards next year.

  • Truculence

    Dear Lords,

    Welcome ladies and gentlemen to The Svensky & Johnny Goo-Show.


    Gret’r was small but Mr.Big on stick checks, wrecked pucks into gaping nets and top decks.

    A more realistic affirmation locally has Goo finishing with his foot on the gas, while St.Louis was a blast, Nicol had no flash, and Fleury was an AAAAAll Star.

    Suffice it to say but not to slay,
    Watching Nemisz painfully reminds me of my first encounter with the third kind. While in the bowels of the dome, after his first call up, off the side of his mouth he slattered: “I was only on the 4th line so it doesn’t really matter.” I immediately had to say this ___. And that was that. 2yrs later even his skate laces resemble the floppy the bar fly now known as pussy cat. Yes I am PG13 even in the throws of adulthood my lords.

    Allow me to end with this with a tweet to be blipped on twitter for my friend the twit named fan960boomer.

    @fan960boomer When your pride is low put on a good glow as a pro saves the whining for after the show. #waitwhat you didn’t know? _BV

    I am still square, but I was there,

  • Got to disagree with Kent a bit. Gaudreau I didn’t notice except for his goals – which were awesome, but aside from them, he was slightly better than invisible. Jankowski impressed heavily compared to yesterday. Reinhart for the first half brought me out of my seat with every shift – he just seems to have something special. Ferland – I’ve got high hopes for, but didn’t see anything today to justify them. Granlund – some good puck sense helped him set up a goal, but otherwise unnoticeable. Howse – suprisingly effective on most of his shifts. Schaller – was touting him highly yesterday, but outside of a really good goal scorers goal, didn’t notice him. Sven – sven, as expected, he could have skipped this camp. Sieloff – play of the day when he tried to lay out Elson and in spectacular fashion, took the worst of it. Elson – one tough hombre. Ramage – didn’t know he was the one that got beat on the Gaudreau goal, was very impressed with him compared to yesterday. Lamb – looks like he’s a couple years older than everyone else.

    Overall, very entertaining scrimmage. I’ll be back on Thursday!

  • RexLibris

    So the next question is “when” for a lot of these players. Presumably Gaudreau goes back to college, Jankowski as well. Reinhart, Horak and Ferland move on to the AHL while Granlund goes back to Finland.

    But what timetables does anyone suppose these players to be on?

    My guess is that Jankowski and Gaudreau are the furthest away, three to five years perhaps.

    Reinhart and Ferland are probably at least one year, preferably two. Probably the latter for Granlund, I would guess.

    Sieloff would obviously be going back to junior.

    Horak has shown he can be a decent call-up for this season.

    Nemisz might want to ask for a trade or just wait the season out and try like heck to impress if he ever gets a call up. You feel sorry for these guys, but if they don’t have the tools…

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    To this day, I have no idea what the Flames , or Hockey Canada ever saw in Nemisz. He is gawd-awful and not getting any better by the sounds of it.

    They need to stop wasting a roster spot on this guy and quick.

  • I'm Just Sayin'

    I can agree with most of what kent said. I will say I thought Reinhart was more impressive than he was given credit for. He seemed to always be around the puck, and I noticed him (not in the flashiest of ways) more than most of the other prospects.

    I was also very impressed with Granlund passing but besides a little in between the legs move he was pretty invisible.

    Though its been said Gaudreau was probably the most noticeable prospect in my eyes.

  • Truculence

    Anyone know what Gaudreau’s current height and weight are? Last I heard was like 5’6, 160… I’m guessing he won’t get much taller but if he can get to 180 or so he would be Fleury size at least.

    Future fan favorite for sure… As soon as a Gaudreau jersey is available, I’m buying it! Love everything I’ve read about this kid and I’ve read quite a bit now.

  • Truculence

    The Flames Twitter had a picture of Gaudreau with Breen and there is like an 11-12 inch difference between the two I believe. It was quite a comical picture actually.

    Gaudreau is probably the farthest away for me for the Flames, he is going to play at least another 3 years of college and then at least a year of AHL hockey before he attempts his careerer as an NHLer. I think he has a great shot at being an NHLer though despite his size, if you were able to put im on a line with say, Jankowski and Ferland, two guys with size, and Ferland using his size in a nice mean way, it could create time and space for a guy like Gaudreau.

    Good to hear Baertschi and Jankowski being menioned in the posistive bracket again, hopefully get a few more people on board the Jankowski pick after the Hate train went full speed ahead. But for a guy who came out of High School hockey to not only hang but play very effectively against his peers, some of them seaoned AHLers is either very ENCOURAGING for him, or very very BAD for our other prospects/.

  • Truculence

    at the start of the season last year (or maybe it was july last year–curse this memory of mine!) Gaudreau was an inch shorter than Alex Ruiz. So, if you know how tall she is, you get a good idea. Of course, Johnny grew about 2 inches with BC..

    as another tiny, tiny person, I feel Gaudreau’s pain. and root for him even more than most people!

  • SmellOfVictory

    @DangleSnipeCelly: According to the article in the Herald today, Gaudreau is now around 5’8, but still sitting at ~155 lbs. From my perspective, that puts him solidly in the small-but-not-terrifyingly-so category of players were he to make the NHL; now he just needs to add 15-20 lbs (easier said than done at that height).

  • McRib

    Honestly think some people’s projections of Gaudreau / Janokowski reaching the NHL are worst case scenario, they are already showing they can compete with people like Sven who are days away. If Gaudreau can’t put 20 lbs on in two years he will never be able to and think about how much he will be ripping up NCAA in three seasons he had 44 points as a freshman. Is he really going to go back for three more years?

    Mark Jankowski reminds me of Chris Kreider who came out of New England Prep School a lanky teen straight into three season at BC and joined NYR in the playoffs this season. Also for those of you who don’t know why the flames and a lot of other teams had Jankowski in the bottom of the first its because he played in a tournament called the Beantown Classic against all the top NE Prep school kids and tore it up. The reason he was ranked so low by NHL Central Scouting is they release their rankings a month earlier than when the tournament took place.

    Sven Baertschi – This Season

    Max Reinhart – 1 Year

    Micheal Ferland – 1 Year

    Brady Lamb – 1 Year

    Johnny Gaudreau – 2 Years

    Mark Jankowski – 3 Years

  • McRib

    The NCAA kids cannot play in pre-season games and also have to pay their own way to this prospects camp, which is the only involvement they are allowed with NHL organizations while still in school.

  • McRib


    “Also for those of you who don’t know why the flames and a lot of other teams had Jankowski in the bottom of the first…”

    actually, what vexes people is that the Flames would have taken Janko if they’d stayed at 14 (ahead of Teravainen, in other words), not that they took him at 21st. Though I have little in the way of empirical evidence, I believe the Flames had Jankowski in their top 5.

  • everton fc

    Good to hear Jankowski looks so good, so early. I was clearly not a fan of his being our first pick in the draft. Certainly want to be proven wrong on that one.

    Also good to hear Ferland looks like the real deal, though Conroy mentioned he has to learn to get into professional shape. I still think Ferland’s a top 6 forward in this league, with Lucic-type potential. I hope I’m right, and I still hope we poach his Brandon teammate, Eric Roy, as a defenceman next draft.

    How did Schaller look? Ditto Vatrano?? Two guys with some size and girth, not to mention touch whom I’d like to see signed for Abby. Vatrano’s simply thick, not fat. He’s a good prospect. I’d rather see him ink a contract at the expense of Nemisz. Ditto Schaller. But I haven’t seen these two play at the camp…

    Sieloff could be too small for his style of play. I get the sense he’s a hard hitter who may end up on the DL “lots” in Windsor. We shall see, soon.

    Horak should look like a men amongst boys w/this group. Does he? And I am really happy to hear Howse has turned it around. Or so it seems. I like this kid, and wouldn’t be surprised if he is at the top of the scoring list for Abby this season.

    I am not sold on Granlund, for many reasons, most of them “gut”. I have this feeling he’ll never play in the NHL.

    Seems Ramage has had two bad days in a row. Could he be a bust??

    Hope we sign Irving and give him the chance I think he deserves.

    That’s all….

  • PHG

    As I can recall , last year there were a lot of cons’ about Gaudreau on here , but this year looks like a few things have changed , good to hear !!!!! And hopefully he makes it in the NHL and plays for the Flames !!!!!!!!!!