Development Camp 2013: Morgan Klimchuk



Of the three first round picks that the Calgary Flames made in the 2013 NHL Draft, Morgan Klimchuk may have been accompanied by the least pomp and circumstance. Sean Monahan was chosen with the highest draft choice the club has had in years. Emile Poirier was chosen a bit off board when high scoring, Calgary-born Hunter Shinkaruk was still available, so he gets some special attention for that.

Klimchuk? He’s a local boy that plays a strong three-zone game for the Regina Pats, steady and generally unflappable. When he held court with local media following the first scrimmage of development camp, that genial, calm demeanour continued to show through. He shared his excitement about getting his first opportunity to don a Flames jersey at the camp.

“I was talking to people coming into the camp, asking what to expect, but it’s tough – like you said – you’re doing two-a-days, not a lot of sleep. But it’s great to be wearing this jersey and get this experience going, kind of getting my feet wet and what to expect from the Flames,” said Klimchuk.

The 18-year-old Klimchuk didn’t dazzle with offensive flair in either camp scrimmage – that’s not really his game, he’s more of a strong positional player who sets things up in each zone – but noted the scrimmages were positive experiences. He discussed how the fan support made the games exciting for those involved.

“I came to the scrimmage last year and it was a pretty good turnout for that one, too. It’s great to see fan support. It means a lot to us players, and it’s a pretty good atmosphere for the games, so I was pretty happy to see that,” said Klimchuk.

Despite living in town, Klimchuk opted to stay in the team hotel during the camp, rooming with Sean Monahan. He noted the opportunity available this year in the Flames organization, as noted by Flames GM Jay Feaster when things opened, and how it framed his approach to the week-long camp.

“You come here to earn a spot on the team, I think that’s the ultimate goal. So when you’re playing against other guys that are trying out for the same position, or trying out for the team in general, you want to make sure you out-play them. But there’s a lot of great players here – it might take awhile or it might happen pretty quick, you just want to play your hardest every night,” said Klimchuk.

With the log-jam of established pros and older rookies he’s likely facing at main training camp this year, don’t expect to see Klimchuk wearing the Flaming C this season. However, with an improving Regina Pats club looking to rebound from a disappointing season and Klimchuk motivated to improve his game he may be poised for a break-out year in the WHL.

As of now, Klimchuk is the only one of the Flames first round picks from the last two years not attending Team Canada’s World Junior summer camp, with Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier and Mark Jankowski headed to Lake Placid in August. If he gets off to a strong start, that may change by December.

Flames development camp profiles

  • NHL93

    Is he the first Calgary native we’ve had since Vernon? He’s not on the roster yet, but it’s crazy to think how many good Calgarians have been in the league and this team has only managed to acquire Vernon.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think Klimchuck has a very high ceiling. I get the impression that he’s the kind of kid that will do the work in order to reach his potential. The best is yet to come.

    • McRib

      I think your bang on last offseason he apparently spent the entire summer in the gym with Jordan Eberle getting stronger! He just seems to be putting in all the effort needed to reach his ceiling. Next season I think he will start to dominate like he did for Canada at the U18s, as he has a great release with an uncanny ability to slip into the slot unnoticed. Once he adds a bit more explosiveness to his game this offseason, he is in a select handful of players that I think will be amongst the WHL scoring leaders. Didn’t expected him to dominate developmental camp this season as he is four-five years younger than most with all the college kids, but if he puts in the effort this offseason don’t be surprised if he gets off to a strong start at the Rookie Camp before heading back to Regina. Love that the Flames are only focusing on drafting character kids!! This kid just seems to get it!!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    One of the reasons for not drafting too local is all the added pressure. Klimchuck might be the exception as he seems like a well grounded kid. Here’s hoping he has a good season in Regina and grows stronger.

  • beloch

    Good personalities often contribute more to a teams success than people might expect. Skill isn’t everything. The Flames definitely seem to be drafting with this philosophy in mind. Letting problematic personalities like Akim Aliu walk helps too. One has to wonder if there’s any truth to some past locker-room rumours, like those surrounding Phaneuf.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      You are bang on! The Flames don’t need disruptions, especially during a rebuild. A quick story I got from an aquatence, who is close to the Hitman. At the end of Phaneuf’s last year with the Red Deer Rebels, the team had a year end party (apparently it’s a team tradition). The whole team kept the location a secrete from Dion, everyone. He was the team captain, and not a single teammate let it slip. That’s not a simple dislike, that’s hate.

      We don’t need Pheanuf, Avery’s, Alui’s or anyone else that fits the mold on any Flames team.