With their final pick in the 2012 Entry Draft, the Flames chose forward Matthew Deblouw of the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. A two-way center, Deblouw is committed to join Michigan State University in the fall, following in the footsteps of NHLers Duncan Keith, David Booth and former Flame Jason Muzzatti.
Deblouw spoke with FlamesNation’s Ryan Pike during development camp this week.
Ryan Pike: What’s your life been like since the draft?
Matt Deblouw: It’s been pretty exciting. It’s a cool experience going through it. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity being here and stuff like that, so I’m pretty proud. It’s pretty cool playing with some of the pros and it’s a good experience, seeing where I’m at.
RP: Did you expect to go where you did in the draft?
MD: Everyone expects to go higher, but I’m thankfully that I did get drafted, and to a great organization like Calgary. I’m just thankful I got drafted.
RP: What excites you most about the Flames organization?
MD: Probably that it’s a Canadian team. Canadian people love hockey more than the States, so it’s a cool experience just being with a team that I don’t know much about, to be honest. I’m from Detroit, so I’m a Red Wings fan, but it’s cool knowing that people here are so passionate for their sports team.
RP: Well, you’re probably used to passionate fans, being from an Original Six city.
MD: It’s pretty cool. And being with a Canadian team, I can’t express it enough, the fans are so supportive. It’s pretty cool.
RP: How are you preparing for joining Michigan State next season?
MD: There’s a couple of guys, like Kelly Miller, our assistant coach, he prepped me for this experience and everything, but we were up there this week with the whole team, so some of the older guys prepped me for it to, so it’s good.
RP: What kind of advice have you gotten about jumping from the USHL to the NCAA from guys here who have played in both leagues?
MD: They just say ‘just relax.’ Johnny Gaudreau, prime example, is one of the best players that I’ve ever watched or played against, so it’s a good experience watching him just be so calm with the puck. It’s his second year here but he acting like he’s a pro, too. It’s good to just watch him and you find a few tips on your own.
RP: There are a bunch of guys here, like Laurent Brossoit and Michael Ferland, who are late round draft picks who have turned out well so far. Does that give you a bit of confidence that you can succeed in hockey?
MD: It doesn’t matter where you’re picked. Everyone has a clean slate and maybe some people have more opportunities, but we’re all here now and we get to prove ourselves and that’s very beneficial on my part.