Main training camp announcements are just around the corner, so we’re going to quickly put the final lid on the 2016 Young Stars tournament with the overall fancy stat recap of the weekend.
Note: remember that three games in a tournament mostly comprised of kids still in junior is not a sturdy base for further projections. We’re just analyzing what these players did in the tournament, and what they need to improve when main camp opens.
The tables are here, but today, I have something even better for you folks!
Low-Rent Usage Charts
If you forgot which number was whose, Pat Steinberg is here to help.
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) September 13, 2016
Simple usage charts: OZS% along the X axis, CF% on the Y. The dots are sized by games played.
My Three Stars of the tournament
1. Ryan Lomberg
I think I speak for all of us when I say that Lomberg was, without a doubt, the best the Flames had to offer. Armed with a big mouth and a small body, the feisty forward scored three times in the tournament, the highest among Flames forwards. As a whole, he was on the ice for five 5v5 Flames goals for and none against. He’s probably earned an invite to Flames main camp (unreleased at the time of this writing) based on his growth from last year, but a good showing in this tournament probably helps his case.
2. Roman Dyukov
This is my bold pick, but allow me to explain. Like Lomberg, Dyukov was also on the ice for five 5v5 goals for with none against. Oliver Kylington and his flashy style of play probably overshadowed Dyukov’s sturdy yet boring style of play, but when you focused on him, he really was one of the best defenders the Flames had.
3. Eetu Tuulola
He loves to score goals, and his defensive game isn’t all that bad either. He was on the Flames’ best production line with Andrew Mangiapane and Lomberg, but he was an equal parts contributor. He is still a bit far away from the pros right now (his skating looked off to me), but there was a lot of raw talent on display at Young Stars that can only get you excited.
- I was always very underwhelmed by the Flames’ first line. Featuring two of the team’s bluechippers (and Austin Carroll), this was the line that was supposed to bring the noise and make other teams tremble. That didn’t happen so much. It’s true that Matthew Tkachuk and Carroll were almost always in the box, but looking at the data together, they just weren’t what you expect from a first line. They put up numbers similar to other forwards with 40% easier zone starts (see charts above). When Ryan Huska finally broke up the line – albeit, for the third period in the final game – it didn’t make me feel more assured. Mangiapane moved up with Jankowski and Carroll and saw his possession numbers immediately drop (game three recap here) while Tkachuk remained around the same on line two. If Jankowski and Tkachuk are aiming for an opening day roster spot, they are going to have to make major improvements in the next week.
- Mangiapane impressed, but I feel his overall game still needs work. At 5v5, he was on for four goals for and no goals against. In other situations? One goal for, four goals against. He did get tasked with penalty kill and 4v4 time, but Huska also trusted him with heavy defensive zone starts so, theoretically, those should be no problem. For whatever reason, they were. He has time to iron out those wrinkles in Stockton, so I don’t think his main camp visit lasts very long.
- Dillon Dube was my favourite player from the tournament, and it was a tough internal debate not to give him a star. Considering his zone starts (20% OZS), he produced the second highest CF% at 5v5. I’ve talked about him enough in other articles, so I think I’ll stop here.
- The overall corsi leader was the diminutive Matt Phillips, who also excelled with terrible zone starts. It’s hard not to get excited for the kid, who looked very adept despite also looking like a 12-year-old.
- Hunter Smith wasn’t as offensive a player as I thought. Absolutely still not worth the second round pick, but I felt that he at least had a handle on the game, and didn’t look as lost as his pugilist peers.
- Of the invite forwards, I feel that Mikkel Aagaard, Dennis Kravchenko, and Brayden Burke should get contracts. They were pretty formidable on the fourth line, and looked eager to prove that they still had more to offer. I hope they stick.
- With regards to defencemen, I think the stats speak for themselves. There is a lot of talent on that blueline, especially from unlikely sources. Perhaps Ryan Culkin can rise from the bottom a la Brett Kulak. Even Keegan Kanzig didn’t look that bad (but still not worth that third round pick).
- I didn’t track any actual stats on them, but the gap between Tyler Parsons and Mason McDonald and Nick Schneider is bigger than I thought it would be.
And that’s all for the Young Starts tournament. Main camp announcements are just a few hours away, meaning we’re, once again, inching closer and closer to actual hockey.