Development Camp 2013: Day One Impressions



The first day of on-ice work is complete at Calgary Flames Development Camp 2013. While it’s incredibly difficult to say who was good or bad based on a series of skating and puck-handling drills, here were my general impressions of the first few sessions.

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The recent draft picks generally looked good. Sean Monahan appears to be physically ready to compete for an NHL job. For reference, he’s a tad bigger and wider than Max Reinhart, Roman Horak and Sven Baertschi. He’s unlikely to face the same concerns from on-lookers about getting muscled off the puck. He also displayed a very accurate wrist shot.

Emile Poirier is fast. Really fast. His stride does appear to be a bit odd, in a mechanical sense, but he gets up to speed really quickly and retains maneuverability. Very impressive. Similarly, Keegan Kanzig is incredibly big and his skating appears to be better than advertised. He’s by no means the best skater on the ice, but he was more mobile than I expected him to be.

Arguably the biggest surprise from the new batch was sixth rounder Tim Harrison. He’s big, but plays like a smaller guy. He’s quite mobile and uses his body surprisingly well. He’s a project, but I was very impressed with the small sample size I got from him.

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I didn’t particularly notice Morgan Klimchuk, but to be fair, there were a lot of guys on the ice.


Johnny Gaudreau is a tad more filled out than he was a year ago. He’s not taller, but he appears to be living in a dorm near a gym and eating regular meals. Similarly, Mark Jankowski has physically progressed pretty well. According to the Flames website’s Torie Peterson, he’s up to six-foot-three (and a half) and gained 14 pounds from this time last year. It shows on the ice.

Both Flames goaltenders in Group A – Reto Berra and Jon Gillies – looked strong. Berra made a handful of really strong desperation saves, while Gillies just did what he does – being huge and blocking off the net. Brossoit and Ortio were both solid in Group B from what I saw.

Corban Knight and Kenny Agostino both looked strong in the puck-handling and two-on-one drills. Turner Elson did a fairly good job creating traffic in front of the net during several drills, to the point where one defender (I couldn’t tell who precisely) shoved him into the net and knocked it off its moorings in frustration.


Lots children circulated around the Winsport complex, many of whom wrangled with each other for Flames prospect autographs. FN fave Mikael Backlund also appeared, doing a few interviews about his fancy new contract and signing autographs. Kids really wanted autographs from Monahan, Sven Baertschi and Gaudreau, it seems, but they were buzzing around all the players whenever they were off the ice. Hockey market.

Hard to say if Ryan Howse and/or Michael Ferland are in appreciably better shape than last year. A lot of guys were huffing and puffing late in the sessions, but that can easily be attributed to the coaching staff pushing them hard, as well as the fact that it was a lot of the players’ first times on the ice in awhile.

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Players with low numbers today: Sean Monahan with #23, Roman Horak with #21, Corban Knight with #10. And due to the hard work of Flames equipment manager Mark DiPasquale, all the jerseys had numbers crested on them. Three cheers!


There’s scrimmages at 10am on Saturday and Monday. So plan your absences from work and/or families accordingly.

Last day for Got Loob? Shirts

Today is the cut off point to buy your limited edition Got Loob? FN shirt. If we can close out sales with a bang and sell out the first batch inventory, we’ll be sure to print and sell other designs in the near future. Leading contenders are Intellectual Honesty and GRITCHART in my mind…

Click here to buy.

    • Avalain

      Lower number usually means they are close to being NHL ready. Brodie got switched to 7 a year or so back and Backlund got switched to 11 when he was ready to make the team.

      I liked Horak in #51 also

  • Avalain

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been waiting eagerly to hear what you have to say about the prospects. Actually, it all sounds quite good!

    How would you compare Jankowski to our 3 1st round picks this year? I’m only interested because, well, he was really close to be in this years draft.

    I’m really excited about Poirier. Fast players can make for some exciting hockey and I really love to see things happen in transition.

  • gotommygo

    Speaking of Jankowski, did anyone notice that he’s been added to the Canada Junior Team summer development camp roster? Maybe this has been mentioned in previous comments.

    Now that’s two of the Flames draft ‘reaches’ that are invited to the camp.

    Of course, the man selecting the team, Ryan Jankowski has probably seen him play a few times — it’s his uncle I believe.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I have a few thoughts about this whole deal:

    These are Calgary’s prospects (plus free agents) so because Monahan, Gaudreau look really good compared to THEM is kind of good, how do they compare to other teams’ best prospects? I mean just look at the FN prospect rankings. However, the fact that a lot of kids got time in the show against NHLers last year allows one to compare younger prospects to those with NHL time is really very good.

    Because Calgary’s college prospects can’t play in Young Stars tourney it’s easy to get carried away in their projections with the org. When you take the draft pick pedigree away or the stature they have on their non pro teams (their stats) does one see good NHL talent?

    What I’m hoping develops is that the prospects love the quality of the potential teammates they could have. I don’t just mean Gaudreau liking familiar face Agostino is in the org rather, there are good, smart, skilled players here and we could have a lot of fun. Also I’m hoping the character and work ethic of guys like Sven, Monahan and Klimchuck rub off on the other guys.

    How can you not feel optimistic?

    -I’ve been google video searching ‘John Weisbrod Calgary Flames’. He seems like a really, really thoughtful guy. I would love to see a FN in depth interview with him. FN often asks interesting questions in the articles, would love to see Weisbrod’s take on a wide range of topics.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    So if Monahan makes this team I see our lines as follows:


    Injury replacements would be:
    McGratton, Horak, Bouma, Hanowski

      • Christian Roatis

        It could be ok if the team is run is run a bit differently and all 4 lines are given more equal ice time.

        As long as Cammy and Stajan An stempniak get their time to maximize trade value i am happy… after that it should depend on performance regardless of which line is supposedly slotted as 3rd or 4th line or whatver.

        I would like to see players put together that complement each other forget about numbering the ljnes and then let them fight for ice time.

  • Scary Gary

    I went to a game at the end of the year and after the game I went to the parking lot to try meet the players Sven stopped (he was very nice) and signed my jersey…. Anyway he had what I’m assuming as friends with him because they didn’t look like any players I knew, the passenger had a cup of beer in his hands and Sven had a cup fill in his drink holder. I love sven and its most likely because he is young and gaining fame but people are talking about his character and I just don’t know if he is really that great of a person but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt right or wrong.

  • flamesburn89

    Watching some Morgan Klimchuk highlights, and the guy reminds me alot of Mike Richards. His style, the way he plays. Is that an accurate description of him as a player?(not saying he’ll be Mike Richards, just saying that I think they play the game similarly)

    Maybe it’s just because he wears number 18 with the Pats, and Richards used to wear 18 with Philly back when he was good. Go figure.

    Here’s the video for reference:

  • flamesburn89

    People are getting me all wrong I love Sven I think he is going to be great I max out his stats on nhl13 And snipe with him all the time he was the only player I really wanted to stop. As for “ratting” him out last I checked this is a hockey blog and I was just sharing what I saw wasn’t meant to be negative furthermore I know what it’s like to lose someone from a drunk driver, I’d hate for him to have his career messed one way or another and more there was people/kids around I don’t think that is how the flames organization would want him to show himself…. Just saying. I’m excited for he future just like the rest of you and I know Sven is going to be a big part of it.

  • McRib

    People really seem to be underselling TJ Galiardi…. He always was worst case a third liner for me who could step up into a Top. 6 role or jump into the Second Unit PP and produce. The Flames are not nearly as deep as his former club, who knows he might end up being a capable second liner for us, but in no way is he a fourth liner for me. The thing I like about the Flames this season is our players are going to have to earn their ice time, sometimes that can be a really good thing.

  • McRib

    Mikael Backlund has to stay healthy this season, because Sean Monahan & Corbin Knight could end up putting a lot of pressure on him if he misses time.

    Sean Monahan’s situation will be very interesting if he makes the club, by the end of the season who knows he could already be our first line centre the guy just makes good players better with his Hockey IQ. Michael Cammalleri clearly recognizes this having spent time with him this offseason the trade rumours seem to have gone away at least now that he sees whats coming up. People look at Monahan’s 78 points on a weak club and thankfully are starting to give him more credit for offensive potential, but he also missed 14 games he was on pace in a 72 game season for 96 points on a weak club. He is a Top. 3 talent and could surprise people who weren’t even critics of his to start with.

  • MC Hockey

    Well..interesting comment trail….Just ignoring the Sven comments as perhaps that story is just made up. Just a note to McRib, it is confusing when you type “Top 3” as “Top. 3” because it seems like two sentences with that period and no reason to put a period after the word “Top”. But I digress….! My only real comment is that people who never saw Porier or Kanzig play should be quiet. It seems ( based on this article) those who were very critical of those draft choices are starting to be proved wrong or at least shortsighted. Maybe Kanzig has future potential (the next Chara) and Porier is certainly fast. Go figure eh?