Penticton FGD: Flames vs. Jets (5pm MT, Flames.com)

The Calgary Flames have had a long summer. After making it all the way to the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs to cap off a whirlwind season, the club came crashing back down to Earth and they’ve had a long time to ponder what went wrong.

It’s been 160 days since the Flames played an organized hockey game. Their road to potential redemption begins tonight at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia, as they suit up for the annual Young Stars Classic Tournament.

Their opponents to kick off the event? The scrappy Winnipeg Jets, who are also coming off a disappointing 2015-16 season that saw them miss the playoffs. For a view from the other side, wander over to JetsNation.ca!

The puck drops on the 2016-17 (pre-pre-)season at 5pm MT and you can catch the action streamed live on the Flames site (or listen on Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

Click here to link directly to the Flames YouTube channel, which will stream the game live.

THE FLAMES

Courtesy Pat Steinberg (via Twitter), tonight’s lines:

Tkachuk – Jankowski – Klimchuk
Mangiapane – Lomberg – Tuulola
Pollock – Dube – Carroll
Smith – Kravchenko – Phillips
(Doucet – Aagaard)

Culkin – Andersson
Kylington – Dyukov
Kanzig – Morrison
(Bruce)

(There will be some extra bodies rotating in and out of groupings during the games, since the Flames brought 29 guys with them.)

Gillies and Parsons are between the pipes, presumably with Gillies starting. Last year in Penticton, Gillies started twice and had a .930 save percentage and 53 saves over the two games. There are high hopes for him this season, and he’s expected to go the distance tonight.

Lomberg had 9 shots in 2 games last year, while Klimchuk (2 goals) and Mangiapane (1 goal, 1 assist) were part of a four-way tie for the team scoring lead. Jankowski and Tkachuk are arguably the two shiniest new toys in the Flames entry-level system (and they’re on the same line), but also keep an eye out for #82 Eetu Tuulola, who had a good pre-season with Everett and was really impressive at development camp.

All of the forward lines look pretty interesting, with a nice mix of size, speed and skill. Heck, that fourth line has big person Smith with the speedy/small/skilled Kravchenko and Phillips. The defensive pairings are a bit more all over the place, but I’m sure they’ll mix them around a bit during the game as well.

THE JETS

Here are the project lines for Winnipeg, via their official site:

Connor – Lodge – Roslovic
Lemieux – De Leo – Fronk
Spacek – Harkins – Denham
Blomqvist – Gennaro – Stallard

Murphy – Green
Wilson – Kostalek
Stanley – Nogier

Berdin and Phillips are the goaltenders for the Jets in the tournament.

Jimmy Lodge and Michael Spacek are the highest-scoring returning players from last year’s tournament, while Kyle Connor tore up the NCAA’s Big 10 Conference last season with the University of Michigan. He put up 71 points in 38 games (roughly equivalent to a 53.6 NHLE), so keep an eye out for him and that entire top line.

WHEN LAST WE MET

At last year’s Young Stars Classic, the Flames and Jets each lost two of three games.

  • Calgary beat Winnipeg in regulation, lost to Edmonton in regulation and to Vancouver in overtime.
  • Winnipeg beat Edmonton in overtime, but lost to Vancouver and Calgary in regulation.

SUM IT UP

Meaningful hockey is still a month away, but for two teams that have been sitting on their behinds pondering last season for way too long, tonight is a first step towards redemption.

And hey, September hockey with prospects beats the heck out of whatever else we’d be watching otherwise.

  • T&A4Flames

    So far my impressions at the game:
    Janko- confident and you can see why he’s smart defensively. Great little plays.
    Lomberg is a bulldog
    Phillips has good vision and passing ability. Had some great back hand passes.
    Gillies- posed and confident. Great glove hand.
    Morrison seems to be getting lots of playing time.
    Kanzig actually showing decent skating.
    Culkin is looking pretty good as well. On the way back I hope.

  • Arminius

    Score is finally turning to reflect the shots. Calgary has been all over them start to finish. It could be 7 or 8-1 and with Gillies you never get the feeling like the game is in doubt. Rock solid.

  • Parallex

    My thoughts…

    Jankowski & Tkachuk look very good. No goals bit a ton of scoring chances and territorial advantage.

    Kylington needs more time but he could be something special.

    Hunter Smith… is tall. And slow, mostly slow.

    Lomberg. For an ECHL guy very noticeable.

  • Sobueno

    Lomberg and Tkachuk were chirping Lemieux non-stop while they were in the box there. Of course the smallest guy (Lomberg) has the biggest mouth of the crew haha

    • McRib

      I believe Lomberg got kicked off the University of Maine team because he beat the crap out of someone in a bar and wherever he has gone he has been among his team leaders in PIMs. Don’t let his size fool you he is a super pest in the making. Lemieux one as well though, he deserves everything that is done to him, when he played in the top prospects game in Calgary his draft year everyone on the ice wanted to fight him, even in all star games he still is always stirring the pot. However I actually like having players for once that are willing to stir the pot back.

      • Sobueno

        From my limited viewing of both Lomberg and Lemieux tonight neither of those assessments surprise me. Seems like both of them have some skill to go along with the attitude at least. Likely Lemiuex more than Lomberg in that department though.

        Pretty sure that was Lemiuex that Tkachuk was cross-checking in the first too wasn’t it? Definitely brings it on himself.

    • beloch

      Quick n’ Dirty Summary:

      Flames doubled the shots of the Jets and controlled play for the majority of all three periods. Final score was 4-1.

      Goals were scored by Phillips, Mangiapane, Lomberg, and Carrol. Morrison, Mangiapane, and Kylington had assists.

      • Mangiapane wasn’t too visible for a lot of the game, but his goal was very sweet, and he was the only Flame to have two points.
      • Jankowski was pointless, but centered the top line and looked like one of the most NHL ready players on the ice, which he bloody well should be!
      • Kylington showed a little bit of flash with some very nice dekes, but got caught trying to do too much at times.
      • Andersson made a lot of sound defensive plays, and had a couple good shots too.
      • Culkin looked really good, and should challenge for a roster spot. He’s not going to be as good as Kylington or Andersson will be in a season or two, but he’s more ready than they are right now.
      • Hunter Smith played a physical game and broke up some big plays, but he also created a lot of turnovers.
      • Tkachuck didn’t score, but he had some good looks and played with a serious chip on his shoulder. In particular, he seems to have a healthy amount of hate for Lemieux. It seems Papa Lemieux and Papa Tkachuk have brought their kids up to carry on the family feud! With about five minutes left there was almost a line brawl. Lemieux and Tkachuk found each other, went to the boxes (Tkachuk went with three other Flames) and, after jawing at each other for a while, all of them got the boot. As I observed above, Tkachuk high-fived a kid on his way off the ice while the announcers were saying something about the Hanson Bros.. Man, we are in for a treat with this kid! The Canucks are going to hate Tkachuk more than Ferland!
      • Gillies played the full game and, although he wasn’t that busy, was very sharp. And huge. Did I mention that Gillies is utterly massive? The lad is a freakin’ wall. He’d be a decent goalie if he just stood there, but he’s got moves!

      In short, the Flames team at this tournament is one of the best ones we’ve seen in quite a while. Either that, or the Jets’ prospects have fallen off a cliff. I can’t wait to see them in action again!

  • freethe flames

    I watched bits and pieces of the first and second and came away with the following assessment: The Janko/Tkachuk/Carroll line looked like an NHL line size wise and dominated much of the time but did not score. I hope they get some more time together in the tournie and maybe into the exhibition series so we can see them against NHLers. Mangaipane scored a great goal after hard work by Ettu; I read an article earlier on how the puck always seems to find Mangiapane and look what happened. Culkin looked sound as did the rest of the D core. The Flames young stars dominated possession for much of the time I watched the game.

    • OKG

      I would like to see Caroll replaced with a sniper like Mangiapane or Klimchuk. Setups were dying on his stick too much. Would also be interesting to see Tuulola on that line.

  • McRib

    Watching the Edmonton versus Vancouver game later last night Jesse Puljujärvi is the real freaking deal (The Taylor Hall trade was bad asset management and they could have gotten much more in return, but when you have Draisaitl and Puljujärvi waiting in the wings, they won’t be missing him for long). I also really liked Markus Niemelainen for Edmonton as well (as a comparison he was miles better than Winnipeg’s Logan Stanley). Olli Juolevi was smooth defensively, but I would rather Matthew Tkachuk any day of the week and as is aways the case with Juolevi he hardly showed any offense for me, outside of the odd subtle pinch. Olli Juolevi is going to be a real good 2-3 defender, but he doesn’t have the offensive upside to ever be a legit franchise altering number one defender. Thatcher Demko was solid, but an NHL ready talent like Puljujärvi managed to pick him apart twice. I like Jon Gillies more than Demko and lets not forget how stacked of a team Thatcher Demko has played on the last few years, before looking at his numbers. In his time at Boston College he played behind what four Top. 50 defenders (Noah Hanifin, Michael Matheson, Ian McCoshen, Steven Santini) along with another six or seven drafted defenders, I mean Boston College’s blueline was basically all drafted the last three years.

    Vancouver reminds me, so much of the Flames four or five years ago its actually sad reminiscing, as their prospect cupboard is absolutely bare (outside of Brock Boeser, not here), where they are just hanging onto aging vets that can no longer carry the ship. I really can’t see Vancouver winning any games at this tournament, when their best forward was Curtis Valk an undrafted ECHLer its saying something. Their next best forward was Marc-Olivier Roy someone who Edmonton passed on resigning last year, Lol. Considering they are still drafting nothing talents like Rodrigo Abols as early as last year, I can’t see anything turning around anytime soon, I watch the WHL closely and I wouldn’t have taken Rodrigo Abols if there was 600+ picks in last years draft. I understand he was only a very late pick, but Tyler Soy, David Quenneville, Brayden Burke, Ty Ronning, etc were all still on the board and it just highlights their scouting abilities.

      • McRib

        Don’t disagree was just using them as a 2016 Draft comparison, considering Markus Niemelainen went what 45 picks after Logan Stanley and Winnipeg traded up to get Stanley (proving that even good drafting teams make mistakes from time-to-time). In fairness the worst player on the ice, by far in our game would have looked great compared to anyone (not named Juolevi) playing for Vancouver, Lol.