My second game of the Young Stars tournament was a mirror image of the first, with the Flames ending things in OT with a breakaway goal. Calgary’s roster didn’t change too much, but there were definitely some differences in the performances, at least from my seat in the stands.
Here’s the guys who stood out one way or another.
Ryan Lomberg – After a decent performance versus the Oilers kids, Lomberg upped the ante against the Canucks, constantly stirring the pot as well scoring a couple of key goals (including the game winner). Lomberg also added a fight and a drawn penalty to his busy night, easily standing out as one of the more impactful players for Calgary.
I don’t know what kind of realistic ceiling the 21-year old has, but he has earned himself a longer look in main camp after his effort this weekend.
Andrew Mangiapane – He was relatively quiet on Saturday night, but Mangiapane was far more noticeable this time around. He had several shifts where his speed and creativity were on display and frequently looked like one of the Flames’ more dangerous players. He was moved up to play with Jankowski in the third period as a result.
Mark Jankowski – Not as good an evening for the Jankowski, Tkachuk and Carrol trio this time. They had one or two chances in the first but sort of collapsed in the second – at least at even strength, where they looked out of sync. Jankowski was maybe the best of the trio, generating some chances on special teams in the middle frame, including a short-handed breakaway (and penalty shot) that he unfortunately failed to convert on.
That said, at 5on5 the Flames’ de facto top line was ineffective at best. I was glad to see them broken up in the third.
Matthew Tkachuk – A rough evening for the Flames’ blue chipper. The 18-year-old appeared to be thinking a bit too much, resulting in a lot of giveaways and failed executions. Although his strength and aggression are always on display, Tkachuk had a lot of problems turning his abilities into effective plays this time around. He also took another ill-advised penalty, a bad habit that was on display in this tournament. I like his panache and eagerness to mix things up, but he needs to find a way to channel those inclinations without ending up in the penalty box.
Dillon Dube – I noticed Dube a lot more this time around. Although he’s young and not the biggest guy, Dube plays a very clean, capable game already. He always seems in the right position and isn’t afraid to make plays in traffic or drive the net. He dropped his shoulder and generated a grade-A chance in OT, only to see his chance clang off the post.
Oliver Kylington – Kylington seemed to have a much calmer evening, displaying his slick skating and puck handling without giving up chances the other way. I’d like to see a but more finish out of Kylington when he’s in a scoring position, but baby steps.
Dennis Kravchenko – Another pleasant surprise was tryout Dennis Kravchenko. Just 5’9″ and 170 pounds, Kravchenko is nevertheless solid on his skates and even threw a thunderous check in the offensive zone. He added a goal in the first period and was a consistent presence throughout the game for the Flames. Of course, at 22 years old Kravchenko is one of the older guys at this tournament, but kudos to him for playing well nevertheless.
Eetu Tuulola – A goal and an assist for the big Finn, Tuulola seemed a bit more involved and engaged in this contest. He’s not the fastest guy on the ice, but he gets around well enough and can play a strong, sturdy game down low. His goal, which featured the player grabbing his own rebound in close, showed a good nose for the net as well.
By my eye the Flames have some intriguing tryouts to consider heading into the main camp. None of the hopefuls in either of the two games were dominant enough to suggest any of them are shoe-ins for a job on the big club, but there was a lot of varied and intriguing talent on display across the various positions.
Lomberg might be the biggest standout for me relative to expectations. We’ll give him the Josh Jooris award for now. The Jankowski – Tkachuk duo was dominant for about a period and half, but couldn’t sustain that level of performance either in-game or across games in the contests I saw. I wasn’t disappointed with Tkachuk’s performance, however – he was clearly one of the better players despite some struggles with consistency and discipline. He might need a bit more development and seasoning before he can make the jump, but parts of his game already look pro level.