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.
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.
|#20 – Ryan Culkin||#19 – Linus Lindstrom|
|#18 – Morgan Klimchuk||#17 – Mason McDonald|