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Standouts from the Flames’ 2017 development camp

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.

Standouts

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.

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.

Tryouts

The Flames had a lot of tryout players at the event ā€“ 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.

  • Atomic Clown

    Thanks Ryan. I really wanted to go to dev camp, but close to 60 hours between 2 jobs doesn’t give a person much time to do anything other than sleep lol. I love the depth we have for D. If the flames let these guys season for about 3 more years, and they progress upwards, they can easily be slotted into a top 4 position, or traded for an excellent return, as we know good you’d defensemen are at a premium. I’m happy to see Foo play to his hype, he still needs a couple of months in the AHL. Parsons needs a lot of minutes, with good competition. I’m not sure what would be abeeter fit, ECHL or AHL, but he’s definitely leapfrogged MacDonald. And lastly, I hope Poirier blows everyone out of the water.

  • Zalapski

    I’ve been waiting for this thread. On my side of the ice during the scrimmage I was impressed with the shutdown work of Healy and AOM. Healy seems to have a blend of an old and new school type player. He isn’t the largest guy on the ice and was more of 2 way player with a mean streak. Valimaki as far as decision making went was way above average. I was happy to see Porier was noticeable on a few shifts, I expect his tenacity to ramp up when he isn’t playing his future teammates. I was hoping Foo would drive the play a little more, but you can see the potential top 9 forward in there, the hands and speed were evident. Mangiapane looks like a he has solid NHL potential and could be an effective top 6 playmaker. He was also slightly bigger than I expected. Parsons was by far the most noticeable player on the ice and showed he was on a different tear as far as McDonald and Schneider are concerned. The way he tracked pucks and his love positioning to go with his extreme athleticism make me believe he’s got star potential. I love how the Flames are building from the back end. The depth is ridiculous. Kylington may be the first of the crop to be traded to recoup picks or land a bigger fish. The kids got insane talent, but he relys on it a bit too often, though his scrimmage game was on point.

    • everton fc

      I think you’re right about Kylington, and I think the words coming out of the organization seem to “hint” the same. Then again, he’s still a kid.

      Read my man Fischer looked good. Nice to hear. And I like what I’m reading about Healy.

    • McRib

      “Valimaki as far as decision making went was way above average”

      I’ve watched Valimaki a fair bit in the WHL and I have NEVER seen him make a mistake. I know some people on here wanted us to draft Timothy Liljegren, but Liljegren’s game is a lot like Kylington. Where he is supremely skilled, but he has a tendency to have a mental error from time to time. If we didn’t already have Kylington, I think drafting Liljegren would have made more sense, but with Valimaki’s decision making process, I think he is going to move up levels very quickly (which is kind of why I don’t like the Mark Stone signing, after 1-1.5 years I doubt we need Stone, but depth isn’t a bad thing I guess).

      It’s kind of funny, before the draft I was talking with friends and they asked me if I thought anyone outside of Hischier and Patrick could make the NHL from this draft class right out of the gate and the two names I gave were Valimaki and Yamamoto, it’s interesting that they both ended up in Alberta.

  • Alberta Ice

    After the Knights were taken out by the Otters in game 7 earlier this year, I commented Parsons reminded me of Carey Price. He was a difference maker to make that WHL series get to game 7. (Look up what he did in game 6 of that series. Wow.) Yep, pretty excited to have him in the Flames organization and I hope they can give him lots of development time and give him a few shots at the NHL level this year.

  • Puckhead

    I think the 3 most likely forwards from Development Camp with an outside chance of getting an NHL game in this season are Poirier, Foo and Mangiapane (and possibly Lomberg if there is a need for some grit).

    If we make the assumption that Janko will get a spot, this only leaves room for one more player. Expect a battle for that spot.

    • HOCKEY83

      If Janko gets a spot…which it will more than likely be Foo over him…then which spot is left open? There is only one available spot and that would be Freddie Hamilton’s spot. All the other forward roster spots are taken. You are saying 2 roster spots will be open to prospects so who won’t be playing?

  • Just.Visiting

    Given the depth on Dand some of the concerns about Kylington’s lack of consistency on the defensive side of things, is it time for the Flames to consider a potential position change that better utilizes his offensive skills?

    • Puckhead

      Kylington is still young for a defenseman. He’s definitely improved from the first time I saw him. He’s fast, smooth and looks like he could be a PP specialist. Best to wait and see how this year goes before doing anything too drastic.

      He kinda reminds me of a wild horse. If the staff can figure out how to tame him he has the potential to be amazing.

    • Flamethrower

      Finally, I’ve had the same feeling. This would not be the first time a player had been converted! He is loaded with talent so I hope that this topic had been or will be discussed among Flames management.