As we get prepared for the beginning of the Young Stars Classic Tournament, let’s catch up on some of the goings-on of the past day or two.
I was in attendance at Winsport yesterday as the Calgary Flames conducted their medicals for the players attending the rookie camp segment of training camp. Some media availabilities were conducted, so here’s the most juicy tidbits from the day.
-New Adirondack Flames head coach Ryan Huska discussed the importance of continuity between the NHL and AHL Flames, noting that if players can go up to Calgary and contribute, he’s done his job. He emphasized that the time spent working with Bob Hartley’s staff will be huge for implementing systems, as will the number of players in Adirondack who developed familiarity with Hartley’s sytems in Calgary stints last year.
-Joni Ortio is focused on making the NHL club and hopes to complicate the decision-making process with a good camp. He thinks he might get a game in Penticton – there’s three goalies and three games, so probably – and wants to get momentum going a bit before main camp. The nice thing about the rookie tournament is that players who haven’t played much can get the cobwebs out before the live-fire starts at main camp. But a lot of guys who had excellent prospect camps last year, Markus Granlund in particular, weren’t amazing in main camp. The key is to not peak too early.
-Bill Arnold changed his training a bit in the off-season, focusing more on speed than on size. He noted that the biggest take-away for him from his Flames stint was that in the NHL, everyone’s big. He noted he thought he was big coming from college – and he probably was compared to the average NCAA player – but it’s probably good that he learned right away that he cannot rely on a size advantage in the NHL.
-Morgan Klimchuk really enjoyed his AHL stint at the end of last season after Regina was knocked out of the WHL playoffs. His roomie in Abbotsford? Brett Kulak, who in a similar situation the year before joined the Heat after his Vancouver Giants got knocked out, and who’ll likely join the AHL farm team full-time this year. When I spoke with Kulak last season, he credited the AHL experience for helping him step up his game for the following season, so perhaps Klimchuk can take what he learned in Abbotsford and apply it to his remaining time with the Regina Pats.
-Michael Ferland confirmed that he was in Calgary rehabbing since his December knee injury. He’s been working with Flames coaches and going over video and systems while rehabbing, and mentioned that his approach isn’t similar to Lance Bouma’s by accident – he was in contact with Bouma quite a bit to see how he could make the most of his lost season. Ferland really could use a stable, injury-free season after bouncing around through four teams two years ago and going down with his injury before Christmas last season.
-Johnny Gaudreau said he’s 5’9″ and 160 pounds as of this weigh-in. I’m not sure I buy that height. He seems very focused. He emphasized how much getting cut from a team sucks, mentioning the last time he was didn’t make a team was the first time he tried out for the American World Junior team two years ago. (Kenny Agostino also tried out and didn’t make it.) Of course, he followed that disappointment with a great second half to his season and an NCAA championship with Boston College.
-Sam Bennett has gained about 4 or 5 pounds (I think he’s up to around 190) since development camp. He did 11 pull-ups. He was unaware of the specific comments Brad Treliving made – regarding Bennett needing a miracle to make the team – but mentioned he’s been in contact with the Flames GM a lot over the summer, and he’s approaching the camp trying to make the NHL and isn’t focused on Kingston. He trained a bit with Sidney Crosby and some other NHLers during the summer.