[ed. The following is a guest piece from @sdh0809, an Oil Kings diehard who has seen a ton of Brett Pollock over the years. I asked her if she’d give us a greater perspective on him, and that’s exactly what she’s done below. Happy reading!]
There are a number of different ways for
teams to acquire talent. They can draft players, trade for them, or negotiate
with players without a contract. One of the most dramatic ways of obtaining new
talent is trade deadline day deals.
The Flames acquired Brett Pollock in a deadline deal that saw them move Kris Russell
to the Stars and the Stars send back Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Pollock, and a conditional
2016 second round pick. Though Jokipakka has spent this year with the Stars,
Pollock has been with his Major Junior club – the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Pollock was a
second round draft pick, at 45th overall, of the Stars in 2014
his entry level contract with the Stars during the current WHL season.
Pollock has had a scoring touch with the Oil Kings over the last two seasons; he
recorded a 32
goal season and top scorer honours with the Oil Kings last season, and has already surpassed last season’s point total with 67 points compared to
last year’s 62.
Brett Pollock has spent the last four years with the Edmonton Oil Kings
of the WHL. During that time, Pollock has been part of an Oil
Kings team that made it to the WHL finals in 2012-13,
won a Memorial Cup during
the 2013-14 season, and made a first round exit in
the 2014-15 playoffs. During the last two seasons, Pollock has worn an
“A” for the Oil Kings.
Pollock has been the main offensive threat
for the Oil Kings since many of their notable offensive threats from
their Memorial Cup-winning team have moved to either the NHL or the AHL. During
Pollock’s rookie season, he played a limited role for the team. Pollock played
only 40 games in his rookie year,
but his sophomore year saw him on Curtis Lazar’s wing and saw a 51 point jump in his production.
A solid player for the Oil Kings on their run to the Memorial Cup, Pollock saw
his role grow and capitalized on his new importance to the team.
This last year has seen Pollock on the Oil
Kings’ top line and a major
component of the Oil Kings offense. If Pollock isn’t producing, chances are
good the rest of the offense isn’t producing much either.
Pollock works best with his most common line mate – Lane Bauer. Between them and the
third place scorer, there is a 19 point difference.
Pollock has produced consistently
more points each year that he’s played in the WHL. Though the difference
isn’t as extreme as between his first and second years, there has been consistent growth. Even if
Pollock were to score no more points, which seems unlikely, he would have
increased his points once again this season.
Pollock isn’t a traditional sniper; he has
worked diligently to develop a more complete game on both sides of the puck. Pollock
has worked to improve his skating, using his size to protect the puck, and
becoming a more complete two-way player. As the current WHL season has
progressed, Pollock has found himself with more time on the penalty kill; he
has been a staple of Oil Kings power play for the last two years. With his enhanced special teams role,
Pollock’s role as a forward who understands how and when to play defense has
become more apparent.
Though it is to be expected that Pollock’s
offensive production will dip when he moves into his first pro season, he
should have all the components required to remain an offensive threat. Beyond
that, he should be able to transition to his new environment and, much like in Junior,
see an increase in points produced year after year.
Pollock will not fill the role of elite
point producer, however, but will be more of a power forward and a two-way
player. Pollock is a player who can use
his two-way game – a
powerful forecheck, improved
playmaking and stick handling, and ever-developing vision for where to put the
puck – for the best results.
Game Experience and Leadership
Pollock has gained experience over his time
with the Edmonton Oil Kings when it comes to playing big games. With two WHL
championship series, one Memorial Cup, and a playoff race which was hotly
contested in the 2014-15 season, Pollock has played his fair share of
While big game experience in Junior doesn’t
always translate to success at a professional level, Pollock’s ability to
contribute during big games is promising. Part of the
Oil Kings first goal in the Memorial Cup, Pollock can contribute when he’s
Pollock used his Memorial Cup experience
and his time playing with some notable Oil Kings leadership (Lazar,
to become a leader himself. On ice, the Oil Kings are driven by Pollock in
large part. During periods where Pollock
is playing well, the whole team is playing well. If Pollock is having a bad
game, the rest of the team follows.
Pollock has also learned during his two
years wearing an “A” what kind of
attitude is needed to be successful. His desire
to develop his game and willingness to work reflects positively on him. In
a young team, experience in big game situations and experience being a leader
in a room (during wins and losses) has a value beyond the obvious. One only has
to look at the Oilers over the last few years to see what a lot of talent and
not a lot of leadership can produce.
The final, major positive about trading for
Pollock is that it fits with the Flames’ current strategy. The Flames seem
intent on collecting pieces for a solid team in the future. In this respect, everything they acquired for
Russell in this trade is geared towards future development – the long game.
Pollock is a player who won’t be NHL-ready next season but has a lot of
potential. Furthermore, Pollock looks to be a good fit for the Flames’ bottom
six in the future.
The Flames already have superstars in Gaudreau, Monahan, Brodie, and
Hamilton. That’s not what Pollock will be. But something else the Flames need is players who can
complete their roster. They need players who will add depth to their roster in
the future: this is the place where Pollock fits and the reason why he’s a good
fit for the Flames. He can provide secondary scoring, play a defensively
responsible game, and contribute much like he did during the Oil Kings Memorial
Cup run: in the spaces left by superstars.
The trade which brought Brett Pollock to
the Calgary Flames was one of the least dramatic of the trade deadline.
However, Pollock’s potential to contribute to scoring, his apparent good fit
with what seems to be Calgary’s plans for the future, and his experiences
through his Junior career mean that he should be a decent prospect for Calgary
to develop. Pollock
isn’t the calibre of prospect who causes outrage amongst a fan base when he’s
traded, but he is a solid prospect.
The watchword with Pollock will be what it
is with many young players: consistency. While he has games where he puts up
multiple points, he also has games where he looks like he’s not motivated to
skate. Hopefully, this unpleasant aspect of Pollock’s game is one which will be
ironed out during his first pro year.
The Flames have taken a risk on trading one
of their veterans for prospects, but there is a lot of potential in the trade
for the Flames to develop prospects to fill holes that will allow their team to
be a stronger force in the future. All in all, this is a safe developmental
trade for the Flames as they would have had several opportunities to watch Pollock
as the Hitmen are a Junior team in the Edmonton Oil Kings’ division and the
Hitmen are part of the greater Flames organization.