35Merrick Rippon
Photo Credit: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

Meet the 2018 development camp invites

The Calgary Flames filled out their 2018 development camp roster with 19 players attending on invites. Some may go on to have notable pro hockey careers. Many of them will not.

Here’s a quick rundown of the players in camp on invites.

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LW Erik Brown – R.I.T. (NCAA)

A senior at the Rochester Institute of Technology, the 22-year-old Brown is a left-shot winger from Peterborough, Ontario. He had 29 goals and 42 points in 37 college contests last season and could be one of the top college free agents this coming spring. Keep an eye on him. (#74, Group B)

D Jake Christiansen – Everett (WHL)

A left-shot blueliner from West Vancouver, this 18-year-old has three full WHL seasons under his belt and has improved his offensive output in each of them. He had 31 points in 72 games this past season for the Silvertips, but was passed over in the NHL draft for the second consecutive year. (#57, Group A)

C Callum Cusinato – St. Lawrence University (NCAA)

A big-bodied forward listed at 6’2″ and 205 pounds, the 19-year-old Cusinato put up rather pedestrian numbers in his first college season – seven points in 29 games. But he’s got size, and he’s a future teammate of fellow camp attendees David Jankowski (see below) and Flames fourth round selection Martin Pospisil. (#94, Group B)

LW Jordan Ernst – Sarnia Sting (OHL)

As a 21-year-old from major junior, Ernst is looking for a place to play this season after aging out of the OHL. He had 27 goals and 54 points in 68 games for Sarnia last season and his offensive output might make him a useful AHL or ECHL depth body. (#97, Group B)

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G Justin Fazio – Sarnia Sting (OHL)

Like Ernst, the 21-year-old Fazio has aged out of junior. He’s played four full seasons in the O, finishing up with a .918 save percentage in 51 games with Sarnia last season. There’s no obvious place for him in the Flames organization, but he gets a shot anyway. (#40, Group A)

RW Ben Freeman – University of Connecticut (NCAA)

A 22-year-old right-shot forward, Freeman is heading into his junior year with U. Conn. He had 21 points in 35 games last season. He’s also big, listed at 6’4″ and 209 pounds. (#79, Group A)

G Matt Galajda – Cornell University (NCAA)

This kid might be legit. The 20-year-old Galajda had great numbers with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies two seasons ago (.926 save percentage), and followed up with a sparkling .939 save percentage as a college freshman. For comparison’s sake, Jon Gillies had a .931 as a freshman. With Mason McDonald’s contract expiring after this season, maybe keep an eye on Galajda. (#31, Group B)

D Dalton Hamaliuk – Spokane (WHL)

Hamaliuk is 20 and big. He’s 6’2″ and 216 pounds. He’s never scored more than 16 points over three seasons in the Dub. (#96, Group A)

C David Jankowski – Hawkesbury (CCHL)

Jankowski is 21 and is the Diet Coke version of Mark Jankowski, his older brother. He’s shorter (6’1″) and smaller (165 pounds) and not quite as offensively dynamic, I’m told. He’s committed to St. Lawrence University for the fall. He captained Hawkesbury last season and had 90 points in 60 games, good for the scoring crown. (#46, Group A)

D Joe Lakusta – Prince George (WHL)

A right-shot defender, the 20-year-old Lakusta is coming off his third full WHL season. He had 42 points, more than tripling his previous season’s offensive output. (#51, Group A)

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RW Jimmy Lambert – Vernon (BCHL)

A right-shot winger from the BCHL, the 21-year-old Lambert is headed into his freshman year with the University of Michigan. He’s not huge but he was a point-per-game player in junior A. His uncle is Washington Capitals assistant coach Lane Lambert. (#95, Group B)

LW Michael Little – Mississauga (OHL)

Passed over in the 2018 NHL Draft, the 18-year-old little isn’t huge but posted respectable numbers in the OHL. He had 28 points in 65 games and could have some future upside. (#90, Group A)

C Bobby McMann – Colgate University (NCAA)

A 22-year-old product of Wainwright, Alberta, McMann is headed into his third year at Colgate. He had 30 points in 40 games last season, building off a very nice three-year run in the AJHL with the Bonnyville Pontiacs. (#84, Group B)

D Igor Merezhko – Lethbridge (WHL)

This Ukrainian import is 6’4″ and 220 pounds and is a right shot. He’s 20, was an alternate captain for the Hurricanes last season and had 33 points. NHL size, unsure about NHL skating. (#98, Group B)

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C Luke Morgan – University of Michigan (NCAA)

Morgan, 20, is an interesting case. He played his freshman year in 2016-17 for Lake Superior State, then decided to transfer to Michigan. Because of the NCAA’s transfer rules (and because his old school didn’t sign off on immediate eligibility), he had to sit for the entire 2017-18 season to be eligible to play for the Wolverines this season. Wild, eh? He had 22 points in 36 games as a true freshman (two years ago). (#89, Group A)

D Brayden Pachel – Prince Albert (WHL)

An Estevan, Saskatchewan product, Pachel (18) was traded to the Raiders two seasons ago after spending time with the Victoria Royals. He had 26 points (and 100 penalty minutes) for the Raiders last year. (#73, Group A)

D Merrick Rippon – Ottawa (OHL)

Overlooked in the 2018 NHL Draft, Rippon had 23 points in 68 games split between Ottawa and Mississauga. He’s a solid left-shot defender who was ranked 99th by Future Considerations. (#87, Group B)

D Egor Zamula – Calgary (WHL)

Another overlooked 2018 NHL Draft prospect, Zamula had 18 points in 69 games split between Calgary and Regina. He’s a dependable player, but doesn’t have a ton of flash. He was ranked 105th by Future Considerations. (#92, Group B)

D Bogdan Zhilyakov – MHK St. Petersburg (MHL)

A rare undrafted Russian lured over for a camp, Zhilyakov had 12 points in 43 games in Russia’s main junior league last season. He was eligible for the draft but not selected. He didn’t have a ton of major buzz, but he was part of Russia’s Hlinkas, Under-18 and Junior-A Worlds teams. (#86, Group B)

Keep your eye on…

Pay attention to the two big college stars, Brown and Galajda. They might be interesting projects down the road. Jankowski, Rippon and Zamula are also intriguing players.

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        I know I can be a sarcastic prIck sometimes, but I know when to be serious. Originally had something like underneath (if you are looking for some hidden level of sarcasm, there isn’t any. I’m being serious) but I’d used the pointy arrows instead of parentheses and the comment disappeared.

        Then I write a petty, disrespectful post on the same page, tying to sound cool.

        Anyway, wanted to give props where they are due.

  • FL?MES

    I like the sound of the following:

    Erik Brown – LW college free agent with 42 points in 37 games

    Matt Galajda – goalie with wicked good .939 college save %

    Bogdan Zhilyakov – Russian d-man with impressive tournament resume

        • Baalzamon

          Schneider and McDonald. And sure, it shouldn’t be too hard to beat one or both of those guys out for regular minutes, but where does the guy who loses go? Those guys are both under contract as well.

          Really the only option is loaning someone out to another organization. And I mean that could happen, but who and where? Or maybe they could do the Tom McCollum thing and trade someone for nothing? And this is all assuming they don’t bring in another NHL goalie.

          I don’t know, it’s just a bit crowded organizationally, that’s all. I’d love to have Galajda in the fold too.

      • cjc

        Keep in mind that they haven’t signed either Rittich or Gillies yet (though both were qualified). If they don’t end up signing Rittich they could use another goalie. If they do end up signing Rittich, there are no roster limits in the AHL or ECHL, so they can carry as many goalies as they want. They could sign Galajda to an AHL contract and carry 3 goalies at the AHL or ECHL level.

        I can’t help but think they sign another goalie to play backup at the NHL level after last year’s fiasco, but all of the good options have signed already. Maybe you take a flyer on Mason, Lehtonen or Pavelec? As much as those names stink, they all put up better numbers than Gillies and Rittich last year.

    • LannyMac

      I’m not sure there are many on this vine that have ever heard Maher and Barclay on the radio but if you have you know how minuscule Wills and Lou are. Not even in the same league

    • McRib

      I don’t want to criticise our drafting too much because at least Treliving is better than any other GM the past three decades, but we took Martin Pospisil waaaayyyyy too high with legit 2000s like Aidan Dudas, Cole Fonstad and Xavier Bernard still on the board. Hopefully I eat crow though and I think he’ll at least be a pro, but passing on Cole Fonstad three times isn’t advisable, I see a lot of similarities in his game to Brayden Point, he’s got a fantastic ability to lose men one-on-one. Plus go rematch the Top Prospects game if you doubt Aidan Dudas. He’s one of the best stickhandlers in that draft and will explode offensively with more opportunity coming in Owen Sound, he was a gift falling to us.

      I don’t mind the Milos Roman pick though and Demetrios Koumontzis is growing on me despite being taken a little too high, I hear he struggled in his one USHL game, but he was great in Minnesota High School. Mathias Emilio Pettersen is offensively gifted, but he is sooooofffftttt as butter, though where we took him he is still a decent gamble, but it’s funny that a team reaches on Pospisil and then drafts likely the softest player Kent he entire draft. He did outscore first rounder Dominik Bokk in a U18 B Tournament recently though and DU used to produc players, we’ll see if they still do with a new coach. Dmitri Zavgorodny was a solid seventh round flyer.

      Anyway I’m most excited to see Mr. Joly. He could be a steal for us if he keeps getting better. The 2018 Fraft is growing on me, hopefully it continues at camp.

  • McRib

    Egor Zamula really came on late with the Hitmen posting 10 Points in his Final 15 GP. He along with D-Merrick Rippon and D-Bogdan Zhilyakov are the most interesting prospects for me. Matthew Galajda Is also interesting, but he’s not 6’0”, I’ve seen him play he is barley 5’11” if that.

    Luke Morgan seems interesting as well, but what a weird situation that is. How bad does Lake Superior State have to be to leave and lose a year of Hockey? Why wouldn’t he have just played at Cedar Rapids an extra year? Strange. Those numbers were fairly impressive for a true freshman though, but good luck getting a Michigan kid who gave up a year of Hockey to go to UM to sign before he is a senior and the Red Wings are calling.

    Erik Brown is really old to just start putting up numbers in a secondary NCAA league.

    • McRib

      Yeah, it’s too bad Noah Dobson won’t be here and is going to NYIs camp for some strange reason.

      I am just excited to see how D’Artagnan Joly looks, apparently he was highly impressive in the second half last year, could be a steal. If he has a strong start to the QMJHL season he could get a look for the World Juniors come Christmas, also interested to see what Adam Ruzicka does with Kyrou feeding him this year.

  • cberg

    At Friday morning A drill session, near the seats, both Pachel and Jankowski did some nice things. Also impressed with Ehliz’ tenaciousness on the puck. Dube and Valimaki clearly here for a reason, and Zagorovski(sp?) quite dynamic.

    It was also interesting to see several different drills from the past several years.