Prospect FGD: Flames vs. Jets (5pm MT)

It begins!

The long march to respectability – well, eventually – kicks off tonight as the Young Stars Classic begins in scenic Penticton, BC. The Calgary Flames face-off with the Winnipeg Jets tonight, kicking off at 5pm MT. Our Sportsnet 960 friends have the call, with the debut of of Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias as a radio tandem, with the Flames site streaming the game (with Pat Steinberg calling the action).

THE FLAMES

Our local team has fielded a roster that both greatly reflects just how far their drafting has come in recent years, and more or less resembles the projected Adirondack Flames roster. Both Ryan Huska and Todd Gill (of the Adirondack staff) are going to be behind the bench.

Calgary’s roster includes two first round picks (Sam Bennett and Morgan Klimchuk), the reigning Hobey Baker Award winner (Johnny Gaudreau) and 16 draft picks. Patrick Sieloff and Michael Ferland look to get their first in-game action in since 2013. Joni Ortio hopes to complicate decision-making in net for the big club. Several players are hoping to make a good first impression, either on Flames coach Bob Hartley or Adirondack’s Huska.

Not playing (but traveling with the team) are Tyler Wotherspoon (injury), Emile Poirier (injury) and David Wolf (too old to play). Per Pat Steinberg, sounds like the Flames will be deploying folks like Gaudreau, Bennett and Bill Arnold tonight. No word on lines, goalies or scratches as of yet.

THE JETS

The boys from Winnipeg may have the group of prospects I’m personally most excited to see, if only because they’ve mined the Western Hockey League quite a bit. Nine different WHL prospects are appearing with the Jets team in this tournament, including top-flight goaltender Eric Comrie, defender Josh Morrissey and forwards Alex Blomqvist, Chase de Leo and Nic Petan.

Morrissey and Nicolaj Ehlers are the Jets first rounders appearing and like Calgary this is a home-grown group, with 15 picks represented. The Jets have a good mix of skill and size, with tiny fast guys (like J.C. Lipon, de Leo and Petan) mixed in with bigger players like Blomqvist and Adam Lowry.

SUM IT UP

The Flames kids get their feet wet with a test against a very underrated prospect group in the form of the Winnipeg Jets. The locals may get their blood up a bit more for battles with their traditional heated rivals in Vancouver or Edmonton, but tonight’s game should be quite a good measuring stick for the Flames’ kids.

  • Skuehler

    Bottom line:

    The guys who were supposed to show skill, did.

    The guys who were supposed to show developmental improvement, did.

    The guys coming off serious and long term injuries who were supposed to show they still remembered how to play the game, did.

    Oh, and we won. So eat that Jets fans.

    • Craig

      Dude; we have been through this; Feaster selected Poirier at 22 over Shinkaruk at 24.

      Klimchuck didn’t go until 28.

      The interesting “we could have had” comparison is Poirier (injured) vs Shinkaruk.

      WW

      • Skuehler

        Oops you’re right. And Poirier looks like a great pick. But Vancouver could’ve picked Klimchuk instead of Shinkaruk. And Edmonton could’ve picked Bennett. So it’s just interesting to see the progression of the selections.

  • Craig

    I thought Granlund looked the most impressive out of all the prospects, his line was very good and it was driven largely by his smart decisions. Gaudreau just crackles everytime he touches the puck. Sam Bennett is going to be a very good prospect, I think the thing to keep in mind with him is that he is almost the youngest prospect in the tournament, and he and Klimchuk looked dangerous.
    Lots of big boys now, thought Kanzig looked ok, Smith looked slow.

    fun game to watch.

  • Craig

    I actually thought Bennett was quite good. On his worst shifts he was merely acceptable, but on his good shifts he was the best player out there. By far.

    I wouldn’t say Ehlers looked better than Bennett, WW. Far from it, actually. The only thing that kept Bennett off the scoresheet was Austin Carroll. Ehlers was terrifying when he had the puck, but when he didn’t? Even when one of his linemates was carrying, he had no idea what to do or where to be.

    Can anyone honestly say they saw Ehlers receive a pass above the center line?

    • Craig

      Ehlers could easily end up exactly like Baertschi. Great promise early with real offence in his game that gets the fans out of their seats. That said, he is vulnerable to criticism about his 200 foot game. At this point, that’s probably okay as long as he works on it. I just hope the Jets don’t do to him what Burke did to Baertschi.