The Dev Camp Misfits

It’s time to unwrap the new toys from last week’s draft. The Flames announced their development camp roster and schedule today and this year’s crop is bound to garner as much attention as last years (and last year was shockingly busy for a summer prospect camp at Winsport). Development camp is a fun time because it is a chance to see the highly touted prospects in the Flames system along with an interesting supporting cast of NCAA players, CHL players, and sometimes overseas draft picks.

The focus of this post isn’t the Flames picks, whom have had oceans of interweb ink spilled on them, but some of those attending on a tryout basis. 

Over the past few seasons, the Flames have signed quite a few players who attended dev camp on a tryout, the most famous obviously being Giordano many moons ago. Last season, the Flames invited Josh Jooris, Bryce Van Brabant, and Austin Carroll among others to development camp, all of whom are now with the organization in some capacity. So here’s a look at some of the 18 names that may find their way into the organization some day.

As Darren Haynes observed, the Flames seem to have only invited big,strong players to camp which at this point should surprise no one. Unfortunately, a lot these invites are essentially excess ‘beef’ (i.e PIMS are their most valuable stat) which doesn’t exactly excite me a great deal. However, there are a few that can hopefully surprise management, much like Jooris did with his strong dev camp which led to an invite to main camp, a solid pre-season and eventually a pro deal. You can find a full list of the camp invitees here, but here’s some of the notable ones that I’m interested in seeing. 

Lukas Zejdl

6’3 207 – LW  22 years old – Slavia Praha 

Lukas Zejdl is an interesting invite because he isn’t completely the archetypical Flames invite (in that he isn’t North American, or 6’6, I suppose). That being said, Zejdl is still a big kid at 6’3 and likely that contributed a great deal to getting an invite from Flames brass. Offensively, Zejdl had 26 points in 47 games last year playing in the Czech Extraliga and has played there since 2010-11. Like everyone on a tryout deal, Zejdl is a long,long,long shot but at least he seems like an interesting player to watch out for. Oh, and here’s a not-so-helpful video in czech which I think has some of Zejdl’s brief highlights. But I could be wrong..

Adam Chapie

6’1 175 – RW 22 years old – UMass Lowell 

The Flames have been paying a lot of attention to players in NCAA hockey over the past few seasons with a seemingly laser-like focus on Hockey East. Chapie is entering his Junior year at UML and last season scored 23 points in 38 games. I will defer to Lambert’s expertise in this area but I am a little interested to see what he can do. Here is Chapie scoring on a penalty shot…because why not:

Chris Dienes 

6’2 180 – D 21 years old – Western Michigan University

Dienes is entering his second year at WMU and seems like a defender with some offensive upside, at least during his time in the USHL. During his second year in the USHL, Dienes scored 27 points for the Fargo Force and ended the year +28 (do with that stat what you will). However, in his freshman year, Dienes didn’t exactly blow the doors off. He finished with five points in 33 games. However, freshman defencemen rarely sparkle and maybe there is some untapped potential in Dienes.

Jason Fram

6’0 195 – D 19 years old – Spokane Chiefs

Fram is one of the names I am most intrigued to see at dev camp. This past season in the WHL, Fram had 57 points in 72 games. For the most part, Fram is known for his leadership qualities but has also put up some decent numbers in junior. It would not surprise me in the slightest if Fram impresses onlookers at development camp this year and earns an invite to main camp. Oh, and it seems as though he isn’t afraid to fight which I am guessing will improve his standing among Flames brass:

Colin Valcourt

6’2 216 – LW 21 years old – P.A Raiders/Abbotsford Heat

The Flames have had their eye on Valcourt for a while now as evidenced by the fact that he signed an ATO last year and appeared in exactly one game for the Heat. In his last season of junior, Valcourt put up some decent numbers splitting time between two teams. However, Valcourt was playing as a 20 year old, so the numbers are really as impressive. I suppose I am curious to see how much skill, if any at all,  is in Valcourt’s game or if he projects to be, at best, a bottom sixer for the Heat. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, BASIL?

Once again, I’m not looking for much out of most of these guys. Dev camp is fun to watch for the invitees because they are playing for their hockey lives, if not with the Flames then with other teams elsewhere. Last year, Jooris and Linden Penner were some of the best forwards at dev camp and we all know the origin story of our newly minted fearless leader/captain so if you’re heading down/up to Winsport in the next few days, keep your eyes peeled.

Also, take a look at the full list and let me know in the comments if I have missed some other intriguing names from the invitees. I am obviously not familiar with them all.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Chris Dienes is the only one that intrigues me.

    The rest, I just wonder why? It’s like BB and BT are so some sort of magical quest to find a literal white whale who is 6’8″, 245lbs, can beat the crap out of anyone while racking up 150PIM during a year and yet pot the team 20 goals.

    I really hope this absurd obsession to get bigger ends soon and we can all go back to getting excited about skill development again.

    If only Feaster’s signing and trade record had been as good as his draft record. *sigh…*

      • EugeneV

        I looked through all their stats and you are FLAT OUT WRONG about the PIM’s.

        Try again.

        Feel free to copy and paste all their names into http://www.eliteprospects.com/ from this comment.

        Scott Allen, Casey Bailey, Brendan Bell, Corbin Boes, Damian Bourne, Allan Caron, Doug Carr, Adam Chapie, Brandon Denham, Chris Dienes, Grayson Downing, Jason Fram, Cole Huggins, Dawson Leedahl, Zach Tolkinen, Collin Valcourt, Brandon Vuic and Lukas Zejdl.

        All of these are invited to dev camp on a tryout.

        • piscera.infada

          their heights aren’t the issue. the fact that they don’t seem to be proficient at hockey is the issue. under normal circumstances, they would be scrutinized a lot more.

    • Colin.S

      This absurd obsession is only getting started, don’t expect it to end any time soon. I was just thinking the other day, you know what I miss, the Darryl Sutter managed Flames and here comes BB/BT to fulfill my wish, man I couldn’t be happier.

      But on a serious note, if they wanted BEEF, this is the time and place to do it. If that’s an area they feel is that important to their vision of this team I much rather them do it with a bunch of camp invites than 2nd/3rd round draft picks. The first three rounds of the draft should be used to find the most skilled players you can have, but at the dev camp, you can see those BEEF type players against similar players and see how they stack up.

  • Interesting to see who is not at development camp, I wonder if they will be at the prospects camp and tourney, Knight, Granlund, Jooris, Sven, Rhino, nd Spoon.

    I am hoping to get to one of the scrimmages and am really interested to see Janko’s develoment, to see if Sieloff is healthy, see Hunter Smith, see Wolf and the other big guys we drafted.

    Poirier is there although he is still injured.

  • Lordmork

    Given how thin the Flames are at RW and D, I hope they take a chance on a few of these guys. Finding one serviceable NHLer would make it a worthwhile investment, especially after the draft doesn’t seem to have improved depth in those positions much.

  • Lordmork

    On a different note, according to Capgeek the Flames seem to have signed Brad Thsiessen (G) and Sena Acolatse (D). Acolatse scored single digit numbers in the AHL for the last three years, but at least he’s a right-handed D. Clearly depth moves.

    • Colin.S

      Do you mean Goals, or points, because if your talking about points, he’s gone 21,21,17 the last three years. That 17 points last year would still put him ahead of all our defensemen in the AHL last year outside of Billins and Smith. But still clearly a depth move and I don’t even expect a call up this year outside of massive injuries to our D core

      EDIT: Cundari as well, forgot about him because of his trade to the Wolves.

  • Nick24

    I think that Fram will be interesting to take a look at from the try-out group. He had a pretty darn good season as a 19 year-old, and at the same time didn’t have an absurd amount of PIM’s.

    I think its going to be really interesting to look at how our defensive prospects are coming along.
    Mattsson, Hickey, Sieloff, and Roy are the guys I’m excited to see. Maybe even Gilmore too.

    It’ll also be nice to get a look at MacDonald, and Gilles.

    Watch out for a Gaudreau-Bennett-Smith line during scrimmages!

  • seve927

    Fram was definitely the one that jumped out at me. Why hasn’t he been drafted? The scouting reports I’ve seen seem to suggest he’s solid as a rock and has a booming shot.

    Can he be signed if he does show well, or does he have to go back to the draft?

  • McRib

    Looking at the camp roster its interesting that Team B has most of the top players (Bennett, Gaudreau, Poirier) and Team A has the top two goalies (Gillies, McDonald). Team B guys (Jankowski, Klimchuk, Arnold) will have good competition to showcase abilities going against Top Team A guys. I actually like that the top talent is slightly offset to see how secondary top guys are progressing. I actually can’t believe Johnny Gaudreau is going to be playing in this camp for fourth year in a row after tearing it apart the last three years.

  • Parallex

    Just ran into Burke at the GSP charity poker tournament at Cowboys: so I asked him why he picked a G at number 34….

    He said you have to pick a G every couple of years early or you are f’ed…….

    I asked him why that G?

    He said he l liked the one Vancouver got too, but I like McDonald better.

    The good part: we won’t pick a G early next year……

    Also: zero chance McGrattan gets traded, him and BB were BFF all day long.
    Look for a big contract for McGrattan soon.

    WW

  • piscera.infada

    A 1 year deal; that puts the Flames at 21, 13 forwards, 6 defenders and 2 goalies. You carry a max of 23 on the big club, one more defender and one more forward. It will be interesting.

  • RexLibris

    Byron.

    Will he be the new Prust?

    Glad to hear the Flames signed him. I had said on another site that if another team picked him up they’d probably be pleased with his effort/work ethic.

    Listed as a C/LW.

    Maybe the Flames can get these guys to practice in front of a mirror, see if they can form some new neural networks to alter their dominant hemisphere.

      • RexLibris

        I thought he moved around a bit.

        Something about his story last year reminded me of Horak – moved all over Hell’s Half-Acre in the bottom six because he could.

        Coaches love those guys.

  • RexLibris

    One thing I do wonder is that while some of these guys they invited are tall, they’re not necessarily heavy. Chapie is just 175 lbs, so does he really bring size. He might bulk up in future, but I doubt it’s his size that got him noticed.

    If this management team was all in for truculence & size, they probably would’ve brought some heavier dudes. Or resigned Westgarth

  • EugeneV

    I’m 6’2, so you better watch it if I see you in the street or on the ice. I must want to punch you in the face because I am tall. 😉

    I just went through the roster of the ’89 team which I seem to recall was “pretty good.”

    They had 5 players under 6’0

    Gilmour (Bennett, but 6’0 at 17)

    Mullen ( )

    Loob (Gaudreau)

    Fleury

    McCrimmon (TSpoon)

    All of those brought something important to the team obviously, but Gilmour, Fleury and Mullen played with a physical dimension as well as just skill. Mullen was always in front of the net and taking punishment to get the puck into the net, and Loob was Loob.

    Then you had other skill players with size:

    Nieuwy (Monahan)

    Roberts (Poirier)

    Mullen and Gilmour were on one line
    Nieuwy and Loob on another

    What I’m trying to say is that our greatest ever team was a big team. I get the feeling that some of you have SHORT memories (pun) about the actual size of that team.

    We are tracking well, but I truly believe we are looking for more complementary players ala Otto, Roberts and Patterson etc… to go along with what we have in Mony, Johnny, Sam, Emile, TJB and 2015 & 2016 top 5 picks.

    Chicago, LA, Boston, Pitts, Detroit etc.. didn’t have 4 lines of scorers (impossible in salary cap era BTW) so we will need to have complementary players who offer whatever the team needs to win. Whatever it takes to win.

    Let me say that again “whatever it takes to win.”

    Patterson was SO important to our CUP WIN, yet he wasn’t a scorer.

    TEAMS ARE MADE UP OF PARTS. Each one different but working together for a common goal.

    Some of you strike me as players who missed out because you were too small. Too small doesn’t exist though, you just weren’t good enough.

    Or lucky enough, or in the right place at the right time.

    Sorry

    Get over yourself.

    Stop taking it out on anyone over 6′.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I remember that team well. Roberts was not a bit player nor was Otto. Look at the backend of that team McInnis and Sutter; sorry as good as Gio and TJB are they are not McInnis and Sutter. The rest of the backend was significantly better than the current group.

      I have no problem with size as long as they can play. Hunter and Pepper were better players than McG will ever be. If BT and BB are attempting to rebuild in the 1989 model then great(that team had talent and depth in every position) but if it is in the post 2005 Sutter model then no thanks.

      I have no problem with Bollig as he is an upgrade on Westgarth because he can play. I have no problem with any of the kids who are big because a team will need to sift through a lot of big guys to find those who can play but you also have to have skill and talent. We are on our way with Monahan(Niewy light),Poirier(maybe Roberts), Bennet(maybe Gilmor), Johnny (maybe Theo), Bouma(maybe Patterson), Sven/Granlund/Klimchuk maybe one of them is either a Loob or Mullen.

      If we look at the team as it sits today and ask how has it changed over the off season here would be my conclusions:

      Net: The addition of Hiller is an upgrade over Joey the Goalie or Yogi Berra.

      Back End: Eng’s is tougher than Butler but is not better;IMO a downgrade. So the back end is worse than last year. Hopefully Spoon, Sieloff and the other young guys make significant strides. There is not much in the UFA market that would significantly be an upgrade and the cost of adding a significant trade to do so would be quite high.

      Up Front: Bollig is an upgrade over Westgarth as is Raymond over TJG(whom I liked) however the loss of Cammi is a downgrade offensively especially in the short term. I am a firm believer that between Johnny, Sven and Granlund we will make up those goals this year and will be better in the long run for it. The rest of the forward crew will be much the same as last years. What will be better is the young call ups from the AHL most of whom were added by the previous GM.

    • piscera.infada

      He’s been to what, three of them? There may also be a bit of a nagging injury. It happens all the time. A couple of years ago Arnold wasn’t here, and everyone thought he was poo-poo’ing the Flames. Turns out he tweaked his back in the gym.

      Or Flames management wants to give the younger prospects a better shot. Monahan isn’t here either…

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Conroy was just on the radio and reported that Burke’s new rule is that a player should not be in invited to more than 2 camps. Treliving made an exception this year for a few guys that he hasn’t seen.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The events of the past few days clearly confirm the Flames rebuild strategy for year # 2 of the rebuild. I am in violent agreement;

    1) The Flames young talent will have plenty/critical development time either with the big club or the AHL

    2) A shot at McDavid or Eichel in the 2015 draft. One of these guys will be the icing on the cake for a 2016/17 serious run at the playoffs!