FlamesNation Prospect Profile #16: Brett Pollock

FN16

Although he’s one of the newest members of the Calgary Flames organization, sometimes I forget that Brett Pollock only joined the fold at the end of February. Since 2016 began Pollock has been traded from Dallas to Calgary, has completed his third full Western Hockey League season (and third trip to the playoffs) with the Edmonton Oil Kings, and made his pro debut and scored his first pro goal with the Stockton Heat.

One of three assets acquired when the Flames sent Kris Russell away, Pollock is the 16th-best prospect in the Flames system in this year’s FlamesNation prospect rankings.

A brief history

Originally drafted in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft by Dallas, it’s easy to see why the Stars would’ve liked Pollock – and why the Flames likely pushed to have him included in the Russell swap. His 6’2″, nearly 200-pound frame and his wide stature make him a fairly imposing figure. Combine that with his steady, strong production in junior?

Read more: A deeper look at Brett Pollock

Pollock had 55 points in his draft season, and has quietly increased his production since then: he had 62 points in his draft+1 year and 70 points in his draft+2 season. After having his rights traded to the Flames on Feb. 29, he finished his season and was on an Oil Kings club that beat out the Medicine Hat Tigers in a single-game playoff (he had three points). After the Oil Kings were ousted from the playoffs, he went to Stockton and had a goal in three games with the AHL club.

Read more: FlamesNation Player Evaluations: Brett Pollock

Quotable

Guy Flaming of the Edmonton-based The Pipeline Show has seen a ton of Pollock during his junior career. He provided us with this scouting report:

“The former Edmonton Oil King has a lot of assets to like but it’s a bit
of a trade off at times. For one thing, he’s got the size but for a guy
listed at 6’2 and almost 200 lbs, he looses more puck battles than you’d
expect and often ends up on his butt because he’s been out-muscled.
When that happens, he’s susceptible to being undisciplined; he’s prone
to take penalties well behind the play. He can get off a terrific shot
with a lot of power and accuracy, or he’ll miss by a foot from an awful
angle on the power play and the puck ends up in his own end. To me he’s a
project but there is a lot of potential there. When he’s on his game,
he’ll put together a 10-game scoring scoring streak but then he’ll go quiet for five games too. I think he tops
out as a complimentary, 2nd-3rd line winger ala Teddy Purcell.”

Stockton head coach Ryan Huska noticed that Pollock gradually developed a comfort zone during his brief stay in the AHL.

“He was a little quieter early
on. He was trying to find his way. He didn’t know anybody who was
with us in Stockton at the time. I think the longer he was with us
the more comfortable he got, and I noticed a huge difference in him
from when we had him in Stockton to development camp, and I think the
time he spent with us is going to be great for his confidence level
and giving him an understanding of what we expect, what his teammates
are going to be all about, and how he has to play and compete in
order to be a guy that contributes to our lineup all the time.”

What comes next?

Pollock is under contract and while he’s eligible to go back to the WHL as an overager, it’s incredibly doubtful that happens given his success at that level. So it’s likely he’ll spend the year in Stockton, fighting for ice time on the wings. The likely hope for him is that he can establish himself as a reliable top six AHL forward in his first pro season and perhaps push for a late-season call-up.

Read more: Catching up with Brett Pollock

Given the Flames’ depth on the wings and the presence of names like Morgan Klimchuk and Emile Poirier on the farm, there won’t be a ton of pressure for Pollock to become a fully-rounded pro player right away. He’ll be given time to mature and flesh out his game.

Previously

#20Ryan Culkin #19Linus Lindstrom
#18Morgan Klimchuk #17Mason McDonald
  • freethe flames

    Looking at the depth on the wings suggests he will be a third or fourth line lW for the Heat, meaning his chances of being a late season call up are slim. IMO he is behind Klimchuk and Mangiapane on the Heat depth chart and if for some reason Shinkaruk does not make the big club he falls even further.

    My concern for the Heat is at the center ice position. They currently only have one AHL experienced center Hamilton and although he has been qualified he is not yet signed. They then have Janko who has 8 AHL games to his credit and by all accounts played well(he is the Flames top prospect at center at this moment). They then have some other guys who have played center but were drafted to play on the wing.(Mangiapane comes to mind) Any other centers that have been drafted will be either in the NCAA or going back to the CHL. IMO they need to sign some undrafted players, some AHL vets, or bring in someone on a PTO. For this reason I still question the purge of the center ice position.(Grant, Shore and Arnold may no longer be true prospects but they added depth to the organization)

    • Parallex

      They signed Mike Angelidis to an AHL deal so that takes one C spot, Jankowski + Hamilton is another two and I highly doubt that both Vey and Pribyl make the Flames out of camp so that’s 4. The Heat are fine at Center.

      What they could probably use would be a veteran blueliner. The Heat’s D will be rather young/inexperienced without one.

      • freethe flames

        All my readings suggest he is a lW not a center. But if indeed he plays center then that is a good thing. However that does not change the fact we still could still use one more quality center in te organization.

        I think the D is actually in better shape: Kulak, Culkin, Spoon,(these 3 are veteran enough) Morrison and Kylington have a year in and Andersson is a high end prospect. But the right veteran would not hurt.

          • freethe flames

            Again I would be okay with that for the Heat but who in the organization is ready for the NHL at center if something happens? We have Monahan, Backs, Bennett, and Stajan; Bouma is an alternative but has spent most of his NHL time on the wing. Who will it be? Do you think F Hamilton did enough last year or that Janko is ready? I hate being the darkside guy in this discussion but it seems so obvious to me that we could use another NHL ready center.

          • OKG

            Jankowski should be playing top six, not bottom line.
            Freddie Hamilton is unproven at centre in the NHL, but showed he’s a nice RW.

            Linden Vey is probably your best bet for 4C. I would say Stajan is better though.

          • freethe flames

            IMO the game is beginning to pass Stajan by. I have actually been a Stajan supporter in the past and still see his value in the locker room but less so as an every game player. His counting stats have been on the decline over the last few years: 3 years ago he played 63 games and had 33 points(if played at that level for the last 2 years of his contract I would not be critical of him) 2 years ago 59 games and 17 points, last year 80 games and 17 points. I also believe his possession stats are also on the decline. The only time I saw him being relatively effective last year was near the end of the season playing with Backs.

            These are the reasons I think we need an upgrade on Stajan. If we are a team that is just in the rebuilding stage and need veteran leadership fine but I don’t think you fire your coach, sign two upgrades in goal, sign and expensive free agent if your goal is just rebuilding. IMO BT wants this team to contend this year and to do so they need more depth at center than is currently available to them.

            IMO I think the salary cap and possession stats era are changing how teams view their line ups; gone are the days of having a 4th line that is not very effective. You need 4 lines that can play if you want to be a contender. 12 forwards who can either play PK or PP or both. You need to lines that can take advantage of Ozone starts and produce O and two lines that can take on the Dzone starts and drive possession and still be able to produce their own scoring chances. Currently I see the cornerstones of three lines: Johnny/Monny and Bennett/Brouwer for the Ozone starts and 1 Dzone line Backs/Frolik but struggle with Stajan as the center for another Dzone grouping. I would love to wrong and have Stajan be that guy but I am doubtful. I also don’t see anyone in a position to fill that role.

          • FireScorpion

            When have Backlund and Stajan played together? Never to my knowledge. I know it’s popular to say Backlund is the only reason for X players numbers but you are incorrect

          • freethe flames

            I am quite certain that the last number of games Stajan played with Backs when Frolik was injured and they had the young guys up. I don’t really intend to go back and watch the games to prove it. Maybe it was that they played a lot on the PK together at that time. But if you have the time maybe you could.

          • RealMcHockeyReturns

            Many C options in-house, solid in NHL, no reason to go outside unless injuries…and looking at the Free Agent lists there are just names available who are mostly quite old, have attitude or behaviour problems, or already been tried by Flames or too many other teams. Names include David Legwand, RJ Umberger, Antoine Vermette, Jiri Tlusty, Cody Hodgson, Brandon (Chicken Pirri) Pirri, Mike (Pain Killer) Richards, Paul Gaustad, Corban (Day is Hot so Gladys) Knight, Bill (Do it, Do It Now!) Arnold, Drew (The Short Stick) Shore, and even Jiri Hudler listed as a Centre some places. Other guys like Max Talbot and Nick Spaling already signed in other pro leagues.

          • freethe flames

            The funny thing is most of these are guys I have discussed as not being good enough. Hamilton’s time with the big club was not inspiring, Jankowski has 8 games in the AHL and while I am hopeful he will be an NHL center I don’t see it happening overnight(maybe mid season), Bouma is an adequate center who is better on the wing and is in a dire need for a rebound year, Vey is a reclamation project who could not help the Canucks at center, Thachuk drafted as a LW and a rookie, Frolik another guy moved to the wing because his experience at center earlier in his career did not work. So the names remain the same or views on their ability remain different. So again you have yet to convince me that we could not use an upgrade at center.

  • Stu Cazz

    Hope this kid develops well and I’m sure he will given his young age….Kenny Agostino had 4 takeaways against him in one of his two call-ups and he was 24 years old….these kids particular the older players have very limited time to prove themselves when / if called up….

  • The Fall

    This kid is free money; the last piece of one of the best trades this franchise has seen. Can you image what BT could have got for Iginla, Bouwmeester, or Cammalleri…?!

    • OKG

      Iginla had a NMC giving him full control over his destination, and Bouwmeester had a year left of term on a 6+ million dollar cap hit for a #2/#3 D.

      Burke shopped Cammy but the market wasn’t interested enough.

      • FireScorpion

        A NMC indeed. Luckily it’s veery seldom a player completely handcuffs a team by limiting the list of teams to 1. Unluckily for us his name was Iginla and he screwed us.
        Before everyone says he deserved to pick his landing spot I say screw that. He pulled a low down dirty move on us and showed his true colors. Sure He was great for us and one of the best Flames ever but I’ll never forgive that. Sure it was perfectly by the book but only a real slime would do something like that

        • Parallex

          That’s so stupid. You don’t blame a player for using his NMC… what good is it if you don’t use it?… you blame the GM that gave it to him or you blame no one at all.

          • FireScorpion

            Lots of NMCs are given out. How many times is the GM told you will trade me to this one team and this team alone. Rarely if ever. If that was commonplace no GM would give them out . And not only that but he had his list down to 2 and when Feasterville had a deal with Boston Iggy says you know what? Actually my list is only 1 team. Low. .

            But nope Iggy had no problem taking full advantage, big pout can now enjoy the rest of his career without a ring and it’s just fine by me

          • Stan

            So let me get this straight…

            The guy spends pretty much his entire career playing for the Flames. Never once complains about the shoddy management or the lack of skill on the team around him. Becomes the all time franchise leader in pretty much every major offensive statistical category. Does a ridiculous amount of charitable work and is absolutely loved by the community.

            And what? Because he exercised his LEGAL right to a NMC, he is “slime”, “low” and “doesn’t deserve a ring”? Take a hike bud, honestly. If your gonna talk shit about the best person and player to ever wear the flaming C, maybe don’t do it on a flames blog.

      • Parallex

        Yeah, people forget that Bouwmeester had been the whipping boy for the entirity of the teams slow painful decline and that Iginla had ultimate control over his future.

        I disagree about Cammy though… that was just Burke screwing up.