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Photo Credit: Stockton Heat/Jack Lima

Who’s going to play in the Penticton tournament?

The hockey world is a quiet place in mid-August, but it’s about to start getting a lot louder. The start of rookie camps is just around the corner, with players reporting in the first week of September to participate in rookie tournaments scattered across the continent.

For the seventh consecutive non-lockout year, the Calgary Flames will be participating in the Young Stars Classic Tournament in scenic Penticton, British Columbia. The tournament exists as a showcase for the existing prospects of the participating organizations, as well as a chance for players on tryouts to make an impression. But with a few weeks remaining before the event, which young Flames can we expect to see at the event?

Generally speaking, the Flames have been pretty consistent on how many players they bring to the three-game, four-day event in recent years. Last fall they brought four goaltenders, nine defensemen and 16 forwards, all falling within the reported eligibility requirements of having played 100 pro games or fewer.

Goaltenders

The Flames took four goalies last year. This year, expect the same four: Jon Gillies, Mason McDonald, Tyler Parsons and Nick Schneider are probably destined for the event.

Defensemen

There are five blueliners that are essentially locks: Rasmus Andersson, Kayle Doetzel, Josh Healey, Adam Ollas Mattsson and Juuso Valimaki. All are North American players with contracts within the Flames system. They’ll probably bring three or four tryout players to fill out their roster.

Here’s a brief projection of the left/right shot balance.

Valimaki – Andersson
Healey – Doetzel
Ollas Mattsson – TBD
TBD – TBD
TBD

Forwards

The projected forward group is arguably the most star-studded, featuring a big free agent add, three 2017 NHL Draft picks and two WHL standouts. The names to expect to see are Mark Jankowski, Spencer Foo, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Brett Pollock, Hunter Smith, Austin Carroll, Matthew Phillips, Adam Ruzicka, Zach Fischer and D’Artagnan Joly. With the Flames taking 16 forwards a year ago, expect four or five tryouts.

Here’s how the group could shake out – and immediately start feeling sorry for Joly or Phillips, who seem to be the odd guys out of that top six forward group.

Mangiapane – Jankowski – Foo
Ruzicka – Dube – Joly
Pollock – Phillips – Smith
Carroll – TBD – Fischer
TBD – TBD – TBD
TBD

Probably available

The Flames had a lot of tryout players at development camp, and aside from the college players it seems likely that some (if not most) of these walk-ons will return in Penticton.

  • D Sam Ruopp (Prince George, WHL)
  • F Samuel Dove-McFalls (Rimouski, QMJHL)
  • F Brad Morrison (Vancouver, WHL)
  • F Mark Rassell (Medicine Hat, WHL)
  • F Glenn Gawdin (Swift Current, WHL)
  • F Ben Hawerchuk (Erie, OHL)

The tryout group is fairly lean on blueliners, so expect one or two surprise names when the Young Stars roster is set in early September.

Probably not going

There are a few prominent prospects that are technically eligible for the tournament but, for various reasons, are probably not going to Penticton.

  • F Matthew Tkachuk – he’s an NHL regular now
  • F Daniel Pribyl & G David Rittich – they have played too many pro games
  • F Pavel Karnaukhov, F Linus Lindstrom, F Eetu Tuulola & F Filip Sveningsson – the European seasons are about to begin, or will have already begun
  • F Mitchell Mattson & D Adam Fox – their school years will have begun and they’re not able to jet off to B.C. for a semi-pro tournament
      • OKG

        Eligibility is flexible; if Van/Wpg/Edm okay it, Kylington should be allowed to participate. Which is a no-brainer for a 20 year old who will be younger than four of five Flames defensemen at the tournament.
        I could also envision a special request for Emile Poirier (due to his off-ice issues) and Morgan Klimchuk (22yo, didn’t get to participate last year due to injury, hasn’t played an NHL game yet, and his 1st year pro was a writeoff).

        • McRib

          Yeah, I could see Poirier going considering he missed so much time late last year, plus staying busy is a good thing for someone in the early stages of fighting off addiction. I’ve actually seen Poirier a couple of times this summer at Winsport practicing with other current or potential Flames and he looks great. I think he has a real chance of cracking this lineup.

  • McRib

    Glenn Gawdin would be an interesting invite again, hope he is extended another offer, but he’ll surely have a few teams trying to get him.

    On an unrelated note, I’m excited to see how Mitchell Mattson does away from his old fashioned boring defensive minded coach in Bloomington the last couple of years (somehow the coach still managed to end up in Everett, a place that loves them some old fashioned defensive trap coaches).

    • Just.Visiting

      Like you, I find Mattson an intriguing blend of skills. There’s no guarantee, of course, but you can’t easily find size and hands at that stage of the draft. Thought I saw something that there is a possibility that he could be spending an extra year in the junior league instead of going to school this year.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Relax….you make it seem like Brouwer ran over you dog… The guy under achieved last season nothing more. I have not heard anything bad about him off the ice. He needs a bounce back year…. No different than other players.

      • BurningSensation

        No different except;

        – He’s at the ageneral where when you fall off the cliff you don’t climb back up

        -He’s paid like a end line scoring winger, on a deal that runs forever

        -He personally sewered Bennett so badly we now wonder if the kid will ever recover

        Other than that, he’s no different than anyone else

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          Sure…I will save my disdain for players that are poor ambassadors of the sport…E.Kane or Kessler. Brouwer is this sites whipping boy some is deserved but there was a bidding war for his services at the time.

          • Sound_Defence

            I’d take E.Kane in a hearts beat. Flames should have tried to make a move for him. I vividly recall a 19 year old Iginla in the days of electric Avenue on 11th Ave. He wasn’t the role model and franchise player he turned out to be, trust me. E. Kane needs to mature, that’s all that’s keeping him back from reaching his full potential.

        • HOCKEY83

          That’s an incredible over reaction to a player you obviously dislike. Brouwer went 3 years in a row from Washington to St. Louis to Calgary learning a new system each time. I think he deserves at least a second season before the extreme hate. The entire team sucked last season learning a new system with a new coach. It took what a little over 20 games for the entire defensive corps to start getting the +/- out of the toilet. Brodie never recovered. Gaudreau played like a scared little boy in the playoffs no one is calling for his head. Brodie was an incredible detriment to the team most of the season. Brouwer will never be more than a 35 to 40 point guy and gets paid as such just like frolik. if it doesn’t work out this season they either trade him for a bag of pucks or buy him out. a deal that runs forever…3 years left on his contract. Brouwer will be given every chance to prove himself…if he doesn’t he’ll be sitting. Bennett personally sewered himself. If he was as good as his supposed #1 overall ranking in his draft year he should be able to carry a line. His own lack of effort has put him in the position he’s in today.

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            My sentiments exactly. Bennett was tried every where last year and never dominated. It is pretty tough to blame this entirely on Brouwer, Bennett has to own this or he won’t learn from it. As for Johnny, he was never the same after his injury he still put up points but was not a game breaker. I think he plays bigger with Ferland on his line. I am hoping he added some zip to his shot so he is more difficult to defend.

  • everton fc

    I see Carroll playing over Pollock on that third line. And I would love to see Fischer with Phillips, over Hunter Smith. Carroll-Phillips-Fischer would be a very interesting line.

    Joly was 17 in the “Q” last year. It’ll be interesting to see what we may have, in Joly. And I see Ruzicka as a potentially brilliant pick.

    Pollock better have a wail of a tournament. Of the invites, Gawdin, Rassell and Roupp interest me.

    • Stockton's Finest

      I would also put Carroll on that 3rd line. He has a solid game. He definitely is better than Hunter Smith. I only saw Phillips for a few games during his PTO signing and was not hugely impressed. But it was the first time for him on crappy ice and in the A, so I can’t judge the kid fairly.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    Screw the article for the moment.

    I gotta rant.

    I just read an “article” on Sportsnet about the Flames, and it was LITERALLY just a retype of the interview GG did yesterday.

    It’s amazing how much the Calgary Flames are up against. Firstly, Rogers married Gary Bettman and then Bought Hockey. But, every game we see; “Telus Flames Hockey” . This p**ses Rogers off, to the point that during last year’s playoffs, the clips of the; “Bring Stanley Home” commercials with Canadian teams contained LITERALLY three times as much content for the non-Flames entities. The ONLY player shown in the commercial was-guess who-Johnny.

    On Sportsnet, you see about one article of substance on the Flames per week and a half, at best(the app, I mean).

    Then you have Bettmann HATING us. In his last town hall with us he was smirking with delight and lording Edmonton’s brand new, gonna-save-half-of-Canada arena over us, which, by the way, has ROGERS WIFI EVERYWHERE OMG DUH WYE FYE. So, all last season the Wideman Punishment was issued.

    The refs cost us games. And everyone reading this f***in’ knows it. There were multiple times during last season when we should have gotten a late-game call and didn’t. Our own coach said he; “[didn’t] know the rules anymore”. Our GM had to do a mini-press conference to say; “Maybe you could call a penalty after two dozen heinous, brutal slashes just a suggestion?”

    Oh, still don’t believe me? Go watch Wideman’s last goal. He got it stepping out of the box. Go and watch the penalty and everything that led up to it. Then come back here and tell me nothing was up last season with the officiating. Oh, you watched it? Yeah. Now you see.

    So you can reward a franchise that profits off of a decades-dead legacy while inflicting limitless agony on its fans through a childish, deluded owner with dreams of hanging with his childhood heros.

    You can make all the needless, biased calls you want. You can have an arena as big as Jesus. You can shut us out of your broadcasts and podcasts and all that sh*t. Our GM took time and pride and built something here that is going to ERUPT next season and we’ll FORCE the rest of Canada to watch with our ACCOMPLISHMENTS, not one draft pick, who’s career highlight will be his inevitable trade demand in a couple of years because NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN EDMONTON BUT THE ARENA AND EVERYONE KNOWS THIS.

    So go on, Oilers, you live out that deluded fantasy Rogers and Bettman are selling you, wherein you have a competent, savvy GM and the cap space to make you a consistent contender.

    Oh but I forgot!!! You already are consistent contenders!!! That’s right! In the space of one season you’ve completely revamped your franchise and ta-f**ckin’-da!! Who needs four or five years to build when you can do it with one draft pick and corporate money?

    So, at the end of the day, I hope you guys are able to re-watch last season’s games. I hope a lot of other entertainment acts come to that big shiny arena you have up there. Because next season?

    We are going to DESTROY you and everyone else in the West. And we’re going to do it in our sh*ty little arena with everything against us.

    The way it should be.

    I’m out.

    * drops mic *

    • madjam

      That’s the spirit . Finally some passion worthy of the old days of bitter Alberta rivalries . A reminder – It took Oilers only three years to build their last dynasty . Which way will they go is the question ?

    • Northernlights

      Something has changed for the Oilers,and it was a 33 point improvement from the previous year and two rounds of the playoffs before losing out in game 7 to a team that obliterated your team in FOUR straight.
      The one thing that hasn’t changed is another bitter Calgary Flames fan spouting off about the Oilers on Flamesnation and showing nothing but jealousy.
      Quit your whining! The league is not out to get the Flames.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        You are right something has changed….Troillers coming out of the wood work after 10 year of suckitude . Spouting off about how he Oilers have turned the corner and McD will lead you to the promise land is both humorous and concerning.

        It is funny how suddenly Oiler fans have such short memories but equally concerning that the fans are about to go back into deep depression after not recognizing that last season was a season where the planets aligned… Nothing more.

        As a concerned Calgarian, I don’t want to see the disappointment and despair in Oilernation and as a Flames fan I don’t want you guys to be out of a job as Trolls especially after 10 years of unemployment. Looking forward to your next post.

    • class1div1

      Nice rant. When it comes to petty and vindictive ,Bettman leads the pack.His interference in the quality of officiating is bush league and a disgrace to sport.He could have called off the bias officiating in Calgary,but he chose to support it. That’s not something a professional CEO should be doing.He should be re-visiting his oath to ethical behavior.

  • Autobot

    Can not wait for this tournament. Last year was such a blast.

    I do hope they find a way to bring Kylington or Porier just to get a closer look. But pumped regardless just a great event.

  • Abagofpucks

    its sure gonna be fun watching the oilers slice thru your defenses this year and when conner or dri deke your destined for the glue factory goalie smith out of his jock it will probably land on puckheads face and a bromance will be born lol

    • Northernlights

      How many goalies have had their career’s ended by coming to play in Calgary’s goalie graveyard?
      Caused by the highest paid and most overrated D in the league.

      • Slowmo

        Aww thats so funny Im curios how many the Oilslicks have burned over the last 7 or so yrs isn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black . Where the Hell do you guys come from we have dominated your team for the last 7 yrs and 1 season you finally get us due to a new system and below average goal tending. But mr NL you live that dream for another few months. To Funny