The Calgary Flames’ annual development camp is now complete and the 40 young prospects and tryout players are now preparing for their summers. The event featured three days of on-ice action punctuated by a scrimmage, as well as several off-ice activities aimed at developing teamwork, camaraderie and some life skills.
Since we can’t judge the prospects’ cooking for ourselves, here’s what we thought of what we saw on the ice this past week.
Without a doubt, the standout player was goalie Tyler Parsons. The London Knights netminder doesn’t know where he’s playing in 2017-18, but man, he was lights out this week. He made several impressive glove saves in both drills and the scrimmage, and turned heads (and caused shooters to look up to the heavens in frustration) with his mobility and unwillingness to give up on a shot.
Among forwards, three names stood out. Spencer Foo came into camp with a great deal of fanfare given his status as the team’s biggest free agency add. He proved up to the task this week, particularly in terms of his dazzling handiwork with the puck in the scrimmage.
holy crap, this Spencer Foo shootout move vs. Tyler Parsons pic.twitter.com/WWeU1PHHRb
— Blinn Manuel Miranda (@NHLBlinn) July 8, 2017
However, some of the best work Foo did came in a few lengthy puck battles during pursuit drills with Andrew Mangiapane, who also impressed this week. The best sequence was probably a series of steals of the puck by each player, to the point where one would barely get two strides away before the other yoinked it away. Matthew Phillips sped around, as usual, while Emile Poirier seemed to look like the player we saw two years ago at the same event.
The defensive prospects were, in a word, what onlookers hoped they would be. Adam Fox, Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson all had some nice moments throughout the week, far more than their face-palm worthy moments. Kylington was probably the most uneven, with potentially the best highlights and most frustrating gaffes during scrimmage and battle drills. Fox, Valimaki and Andersson were less flashy, but very solid.
The Flames had a lot of tryout players at the event – several of them will be appearing at the Young Stars Tournament in September. A handful stood out from the crowd, primarily for their compete level: Glenn Gawdin, Sam Dove-McFalls, Jeff Malott and Mark Rassell. Honourable mention to Ben Hawerchuk, who sometimes looked like he had some pep in his step and sometimes looked like he was a bit lost out there. He’s only 19, so perhaps he can harness that pep more consistently.