Young Stars FGD: Meet The Jets (5pm MT)

The last time the Calgary Flames played an organized, official game of ice hockey, it was May 10. They were improbably in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, facing off against the Pacific Division-winning powerhouse from Anaheim. Despite a scrappy effort and some timely goal-scoring, they lost 3-2 in overtime and went home, eliminated from the playoffs. Their whirlwind 2014-15 season ended.

Four months and a day later, the Calgary Flames begin a new journey, as they begin the 2015-16 hockey campaign with the annual Young Stars Classic tournament in scenic Penticton, British Columbia. Their first opponent? Another sentimental favourite that returned to the post-season in 2014-15 – the WInnipeg Jets.

The puck drops just after 5pm MT and you can catch the action streaming live from the Flames official site.

THE FLAMES

The Flames announced a roster of 31 players – 3 goalies, 11 defensemen and 17 forwards. That means they’ll be rotating bodies in and out of the line-up. For reference (presuming they go 6 defenders and 12 forwards each game), there are spots for 18 defensive games and 36 forwards – so expect every defender to play once and every forward to place twice, and I’d also suspect each goalie in camp gets one start apiece.

Here’s the projected line-up for tonight’s game:

THE JETS

I must admit, I really like the Jets prospect base. Granted, I’m a WHL follower, so I am thoroughly biased, but here’s a quick glance: Nic Petan, Nikolaj Ehlers (who is awesome), Brendan Lemieux, Jansen Harkins, Jan Kostalek, Josh Morrissey (who is awesome), plus goalies Eric Comrie and Connor Hellebuyck.

The Jets have talent everywhere, and are bringing a relatively restrained roster of just 24 bodies, so they’ll get more in-depth chances for evaluation here at the camp.

Not a lot of specific line breakdowns for the Jets, but here’s what we’ve sussed out:

SUM IT UP

Hockey is back! Granted, it’s pre-pre-season hockey featuring prospects, but tonight’s game features a bunch of high-end draft picks from two Canadian teams that just made their returns to the playoffs. In terms of two fan-bases that absolutely cannot wait for the season to start, I think tonight will be a welcome respite from a long summer away from the game.

    • McRib

      I’ve actually really liked Pavel Karnaukhov he is one of the youngest players in the game (1997 birthday), constantly finds open ice in the slot. Obviously didn’t expect him to dominate, but compared to another much more hyped 1997 prospect Jansen Harkins he didn’t look far off.

  • Mezzo

    Not that my observations are worth much but here is what I saw:

    1. Agostino is not the same player he was last year, he looks good. Like very impressive. He fit in with Bennett, made strong passes, forces turnovers with his speed and physicality, and has a very solid shot. He saw the ice really well all game and I was impressed.

    2. 88 (Mangiapane) was very good. He is a poor man’s Gaudreau. I think Baalzamon called him a Desharnais type player, which is probably more accurate. Nonetheless, I liked him. Whether his game can translate to the next level who knows, but he has skill.

    3. Arnold, Andersson, and Porier were impressive. Van Babrant (or however it’s spelt) also had a surprisingly good game. Andersson is better than I expected him to be. What I like the most about the pick is that physicality is one of the easiest/fastest ways to improve your game. To be that good of a player with poor fitness, it’s exciting to see what he can potentially become.

    4. Bennett is chippy and really really good. Dumb penalty at the end of the game but I like that he doesn’t take cheap shots. For reference: He nailed Petan (who had his head down), and Morissey came after him and slashed him to his knees. He back-checks, steals the puck, sets up Agostino for a break-away and heads straight to Morissey and gets a roughing penalty (I think it was roughing?)

    5. Gillies was our best player tonight. He had one incredible save, but more than anything he makes most saves look simple and routine. He moves so well in net that he seemingly is always in position which is quietly impressive.

    6. Culkin/Kulak I liked. They don’t stand out as amazing but they do make good plays when the opportunity presents itself. Kulak jumps in the play really well, and Culkin quarterbacks the offensive zone very smartly. Has a good shot as well.

    7. I thought Kanzig was not that noticeable except for when he got blown past so fast he fell over. Albeit that was only once and I’ll say not being noticeable for him isn’t a bad thing, but he still has a long way to go.

    8. I was actually fairly unimpressed with Hunter Smith. He was noticeable at times and had a few good shifts, but the play seemed to die on his stick. He looks just a tad behind the play at all times. That being said, others have remarked on his strong board play. Like Kanzig he has a long way to go, hopefully he makes another big stride this year as a pro.

    9. This one won’t be a popular opinion, but Klimchuk was exactly the same to me as the year prior which was largely invisible. He does the little things right, and usually pushes the puck forward, but he just doesn’t have any wow moments, or really any flashes of a top 6 player. He is young, and hopefully this next year he will see success as a pro and take that next stride.

    10. Lomberg was a surprise. Scored a weird angle goal and his skating/forcheck forced a turnover that ended up being a penalty shot. Baille was not good. He had a large number of turnover’s and was very inconsistent. What I mean by that (because it is a fairly vague term) is that he often glides around, especially on defense, leaving him out of position and gives the impression that he is not engaged in the play. That being said, get the puck near him and he can turn on the jets. Unfortunately he lacks some awareness and often tries to pass through Winnipeg players/makes the difficult or dangerous play, leading to a higher number of turnovers.

    11. Seiloff missed quite a few passes and looked okay to not good for most of the game. He is a guy you feel for, having such bad luck with injuries/infections. Unfortunately I don’t view him as a top 12 defender on this team (he should probably spend some time in the ECHL) or at the very least he will be a bottom-pairing guy in Stockton.

    Anyways, solid win for the Flames, I really like how our prospects seem to fit the Flames hardworking “identity”. They are all scrappy, and won this game through work not really skill (I’d argue that the Winnipeg prospects are a much more skilled team than us).

    • McRib

      Andersson was the best Flame outside Bennett and (of course) Gillies. My eyes popped out of my head when I saw the Flames got him in the draft I was so happy. Love that kid.

      • McRib

        Andersson was great you can really tell that he took his conditioning serious this offseason much better burst off edges, if he was not in questionable shape at the draft he would have easily been a Top. 20 talent, which he looked like tonight. Hockey IQ looked off the charts tonight. Brett Kulak looked impressive as well know we have always agreed on him, if he can continue to shore up defensive zone positioning he is a legitimate NHLer.

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      You made one very poor assessment on Andersson. Because of his past fitness issues you assumed he was still out of shape. What do you base this on?? Have you followed his offseason training program or have any idea where his fitness is today??

      • Mezzo

        Hmm perhaps I should have elaborated. To be that good of a player at the time he was drafted (nearly a ppg as a defensman in the CHL). What I was trying to say was simply that physicality is easier to gain than hockey IQ. I like Andersson’s decision-making and believe that he can (continue to?) make improvements much faster than others.

        It would be foolish to make a statement like that off one game (to consider him out of shape). It is quite evident that he has been working on his fitness – all writings/evidence points towards that. If you’re going to argue that he is in the best shape he can be then your assessment is much poorer. Worse if you’re saying we shouldn’t talk about it because none of us are in the weight room with him, then we are logically excluded from speculating about prospects or hockey at all. (You think Toronto will be a bad team this year? Just because they’ve had winning problems in the past doesn’t mean they won’t win. Have you seen them training? Have you been to their practices? etc.)

        Nonetheless, what I said can be taken the wrong way. I should have stated myself clearer.

  • McRib

    Before the first game I considered Winnipeg as our biggest challenge in this prospect tournament, considering we easily beat them (Comrie, Hellebuyck both looked good) it goes to show how good of a job our scouting department has done. I am sooooo glad Vancouver passed on Nikolaj Ehlers, that kid looks like a stud!!! Outside of McDavid/Bennett he is the best player in this camp hands down. Imagine if they had Kyle Connor, Jack Roslovic and we had Brandon Hickey, Mark Jankowski it wouldn’t even be close with the other teams.