After a shorter absence than usual around these parts – the byproduct of a two-round Stanley Cup Playoff run by the Calgary Flames – hockey will officially return later this week! The Flames begin their prospect camp on Thursday and then head over to Penticton, BC for the annual Young Stars Classic tournament starting on Friday.
Here’s what you need to know about the next week or so.
The Flames will be bringing 30 individuals with them to Penticton.
- Jon Gillies (2012 3rd rounder): back-stopped Providence College to NCAA Title, named championship MVP, now he’s going pro.
- Mason McDonald (2014 2nd rounder): a year removed from being drafted, McDonald is signed to an entry-level deal and thought to be a contender for the starting job at the World Juniors. He’ll be headed back to Charlottetown this season.
- Nick Schneider (try-out): an 18-year-old Leduc native who suited up for Medicine Hat last year. Had decent numbers, but seems like an invite to pad the camp’s numbers a bit.
- Rasmus Andersson (2015 2nd rounder): Swedish import really impressed with Barrie last season. Right-handed shot, good mobility.
- Jason Bell (try-out): big bodied 18-year-old from the Saint John Sea Dogs. Decent numbers in the Q.
- Riley Bruce (2015 7th rounder): really tall kid is youngest person at the camp (he turned 18 in July). Mobility isn’t amazing and he’s a work in progress.
- Ryan Culkin (2012 5th rounder): second year pro, was very good last season in Adirondack before gnarly wrist injury eliminated chance of late-season NHL appearance.
- Jason Fram (try-out): invited for seemingly the umpteenth year, Fram had very good numbers for Spokane. He’s 20 now and can be signed, but the Flames do have a lot of deals on the books for blueliners already.
- Keegan Kanzig (2013 3rd rounder): gigantic human being and Calgary Hitmen blueliner. Has a contract and is likely turning pro, though he can also return to the WHL as an overager.
- Brett Kulak (2012 4th rounder): solid all-around defender, was good enough in Adirondack as a first year pro to get a game in the NHL. Good shot, good skater, good passer. Just not great at anything.
- Oliver Kylington (2015 2nd rounder): impressive talent who free-fell in the 2015 Draft, falling to Calgary. Very good skater. Has a contract and can play in NHL, AHL or WHL this season.
- Kenney Morrison (college UFA signing): Western Michigan product signed with Flames in the spring and was impressive in short AHL stint. Good shot, strong instincts.
- Eric Roy (try-out): originally a Flames pick in 2013, he went unsigned and now hopes to get a deal somewhere in the organization. Offensive smart, defensively iffy.
- Patrick Sieloff (2012 2nd round pick): technically going into third pro season, but has only played 50 pro games. Physical energy player who’s had durability problems (and horrible injury luck).
- Kenny Agostino (trade with Penguins): second year pro. Speedy winger who’s logged some NHL games. A dark horse to get NHL time this season.
- Bill Arnold (2010 4th rounder): another second-year pro, former NCAA champion, Johnny Gaudreau’s center in college. Strong 200-foot player and developing.
- Tyson Baillie (try-out): speedy, talented Kelowna Rockets winger. Struggled with consistency.
- Sam Bennett (2014 1st rounder): highest draft pick in Calgary Flames history. Was good in playoffs.
- Taylor Burke (try-out): big body from the QMJHL, teammates with Emile Poirier two seasons ago in Gatineau.
- Austin Carroll (2014 7th rounder): WHL power forward was able to physically over-match junior defenders, but will need to be more strategic at higher level. Has a contact, turning pro this season.
- Pavel Karnaukhov (2015 5th rounder): project pick from Belarus is pretty decent at everything and improving, but needs to work on his consistency.
- Morgan Klimchuk (2013 1st rounder): smart 200-foot player. Isn’t huge, so he may have problems with bigger bodies in pro. Has a contract; can return to WHL as overager but probably going pro.
- Ryan Lomberg (AHL deal): another interesting development path, bouncing from USHL to NCAA and back, lacks size but has some skill.
- Andrew Mangiapane (2015 6th rounder): Small, speedy and very talented OHLer. Teammates with Andersson in Barrie.
- Mason Marchment (try-out): Bryan Marchment’s son. Solid hand, but doesn’t seem to be overly strong in any areas.
- Louick Marcotte (AHL deal): another Gatineau/QMJHL connection. Excellent offensive numbers at that level, but perhaps a product of teammates.
- Emile Poirier (2013 1st rounder): second year pro, had strong rookie campaign in AHL and spent a couple weeks in NHL.
- Julien Proulx (try-out): can play wing or defense, listed here since I think they’re heavy on natural blueliners. He’s big.
- Hunter Smith (2014 2nd rounder): late-blooming big man was very good in OHL playoffs and Memorial Cup. Mobility isn’t amazing, but he seems to have good instincts on the ice. Has a contract, most likely going pro.
- Tomas Soustal (try-out): another Kelowna Rockets import. This one’s a toolsy Czech import who somehow didn’t have great offensive numbers on a strong offensive team.
- Bryce van Brabant (college UFA signing): second year pro, this big-bodied Alberta native is below the games-played cap for this event. And his inclusion gives him a few more reps. Still a project.
Outside of the big names like Bennett, Klimchuk, Poirier, Andersson and Kylington, I’d keep an eye on Tyson Baillie, Jason Fram and Louick Marcotte. Baillie’s got some skill, Fram is hoping for a contract, and Marcotte has a deal but probably wants to become this season’s Garnet Hathaway and upgrade it to an NHL deal over the next few months.
The whole prospect crew does medicals and fitness testing in Calgary on Thursday, then heads out to Penticton!
- On Friday night, the Flames take on the Winnipeg Jets prospects, starting at 5pm MT.
- On Saturday night, the Flames face the Edmonton Oilers prospects, beginning at 7:30pm MT.
- On Monday afternoon, the Flames finish off their tournament with a date with the Vancouver Canucks prospects, starting at 4:30pm MT.
The Flames website will be streaming video of each game.
And the prospect camp finishes off next Wednesday with the annual game at Winsport’s Markin MacPhail Centre against the University of Calgary Dinos men’s hockey team, which is full of pretty good WHL players that decided to get a university degree rather than take their chances in the minor-pro leagues. (That game goes at 7pm MT.)