One of the bigger pieces of news from a recent season tickets holder’s event was that the Flames were preparing to announce a European signing.
Some reports from Germany indicate that it’s likely to be Nurnberg Ice Tigers player and Olympic silver medalist Yasin Ehliz, a 25-year-old left-handed winger who can play both sides.
As reported by Bild and Welt, the Flames are, at the very least, heavily interested in Ehliz. It’s translated via Google, but Ehliz appears to have confirmed that the Flames are working on a contract with him.
“I can confirm that they have contacted me and that my advisor and I are currently in talks,” said the newspaper’s 25-year-old striker. “I’ve always said that it would be a dream for me to play in the NHL at some point.”
Ehliz has been one of Germany’s most promising homegrown talents. He’s been a consistent scorer for the Ice Tigers in the DEL (playing alongside former Flame Steven Reinprecht) and a regular in Germany’s World Championship lineups. He made his Olympic debut earlier this year, picking up three assists in seven games during Germany’s shock run to the silver medal. The reports say that he was recently awarded with the Silbernes Lorbeerblatt (Silver Laurel Leaf) with the rest of the German Olympic squad, the highest athletic award in the country.
Ehliz isn’t a big guy, clocking in at 5’10” and 185 pounds. He picked up 10 goals and 21 assists in 46 DEL games this season and added five goals and an assist in 12 playoff games. He appears to be more of a playmaking winger than a goalscorer, having usually picked up more assists than goals throughout his career.
The major connection is through new Flames associate coach Geoff Ward, who was a coach in the DEL for many years and an assistant for Germany’s international team, including at the most recent World Championships. Ward has coached Ehliz at three different World Championships, so there’s some familiarity there.
However, Ward is probably not going to be coaching Ehliz again right off the bat. If the team signs him, Ehliz would likely be headed to Stockton to start the new season and acclimatize to North American hockey, as they usually do with European imports.
The Flames’ most recent foray into the German market was winger David Wolf, a player with a similar yet less decorated resume. He picked up 38 points in 59 AHL games and saw four games of NHL action (one in the playoffs).
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