Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Takeaways from the development camp scrimmage

The Calgary Flames put a bow on their annual development camp at Winsport on Sunday morning with a scrimmage. The on-ice session pitted Team Conroy (in red) against Team Gelinas (in white) in an all-out battle for camp supremacy.

Team Conroy won 6-4 in the “game” sessions, while Team Gelinas triumphed in the shootout sessions by a combined 5-3 score.

The format

The game began with five-on-five, then four-on-four, then a lengthy shootout session and a flood. Following the break, they continued with four-on-four, then went to three-on-three, then alternated periods of five-on-four for simulated power play work. Finally, they finished with a shorter shootout session.

The whole thing was seemingly designed to mix and match players, as well as try them out in a lot of different situations. Everyone’s already out of their comfort zone given it’s hockey in July, but this really served to keep everybody on their toes.

Who scored?

Dillon Dube opened the scoring for Team Conroy at five-on-five, as he battled after a faceoff win to recover the puck, then cycled to the top of the slot and beat Mason McDonald through traffic to make it 1-0. Walk-on player Bobby McMann beat Nick Schneider on a partial breakaway to tie the game.

Brett Pollock made it 2-1 Conroy during the four-on-four segment, cutting to the middle on an odd-man rush and beating Matthew Galajda inside the far post.

During the first shootout section, Spencer Foo, D’Artagnan Joly and Zach Fischer beat Galajda for Team Gelinas while Pollock, Michael Little and David Jankowski scored for Team Conroy on Justin Fazio.

Martin Pospisil extended Conroy’s lead to 3-1 early in the next four-on-four section, tapping in a very nice pass from a line-mate – the sight-lines at Winsport are such that I missed the passer unfortunately. But Milos Roman of Team Gelinas made it 3-2 with a tap-in off a nice passing sequence that ended with Joly finding Roman in front of the net.

Scoring up-ticked during the ensuing three-on-three sequence. Emilio Pettersen of Team Gelinas tied it up at 3-3 after a nice pass from Demetrious Koumontzis. Eetu Tuulola’s one-timer (of a Juuso Valimaki feed) made it 4-3 and put Team Conroy back on top, but Merrick Rippon went top-corner off a pass from Foo to make it 4-4 once again.

Team Gelinas couldn’t score during five minutes on five-on-four, but Matthew Phillips and Yasin Ehliz scored for Team Conroy to give them a 6-4 victory in the main on-ice sequence. Callum Cusinato and Rippon scored during the shootout for a measure of revenge for Team Gelinas.

Who looked good?

Bearing in mind that it’s July and everybody’s performance should be taken with a grain of salt, here are a few players that looked good.

In the “they are who we thought they’d be” category, Valimaki, Dube and Foo were among the most poised and polished players on the ice. Conroy’s team had a few more “high-end” prospects and so arguably Valimaki and Dube had the most help, but they performed well. Foo had less help, but he made a few nice plays and was dangerous when he was on the ice.

In terms of the rest of the Flames properties, Pollock, Phillips and Dmitry Zavgorodniy really looked solid. Pollock is a bit of a forgotten man – he came over in the Kris Russell trade and has since toiled in the minors – but he was good late last season for Stockton and looked poised and made a lot of smart plays. Phillips looked better than I thought he would, particularly against some of the college prospects who are bigger bodies. He had a lot of chemistry with Dube and they looked consistently dangerous. Zavgorodniy is only listed at 5’9″ and 173 pounds by Central Scouting, but he’s a thick player and was consistently hard to knock off the puck. He really managed the puck well on Conroy’s power play section.

In terms of walk-ons without Flames affiliations, McMann used his speed really well, Erik Brown narrowly missed on a couple scoring chances, and Galajda made a lot of solid saves between the game sessions and the shootout. When college free agency comes around in the spring, keep their names in mind.


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  • Flames8

    Galajda unfortunately has already stated it would take a whole lot to get him out of College next year. Deserving of a contract, more than likely. Just not as likely that it is this summer

      • Still no edit button?

        They already have there really young high end talent in all positions to build around from when they did rebuild. Rebuilding again makes no sense. Just need those few little pieces now for this team to be competitive each year. Basically a consistently good starting goaltender

      • FL?MES

        I think the average person gets it but what can fans do once those picks are traded (gambled) away. You are either a glass half full (optimist) or a glass half empty (pertetual complainer) type of fan.

        I personally don’t see a reason to be complaining when you look at the age of our core and some of the young prospects in line. GG is also gone and some great players have been acquired.

        Good times for this here fan.

        Go ? Go!!

        • SgtRoadBlock

          2013 when the rebuild was pulled, But landing jonny in the 4th round in 2011 and that Duck playoff sweep put this Rebuild on hold and made the staff think we can do playoff Runs. That when we start seeing more Vets coming in and rookies/picks going ..
          i’m just wish we stop tossing picks away, we only have 5 of the 9 Draft picks left for next year Draft…

          Would not be shock we lose some more picks for a new Goaltender when Smith is gone at the end of the year,

          • Honkydonk

            Which goaltender would you give away picks for exactly?

            I don’t see any way we address our goaltending externally. Unless you give away everything for Carey Price if they ever trade him

          • FL?MES

            I think it was obvious this year how important high draft picks have become based on the lack of trades for picks on draft day. GMs get it and I’m pretty sure Tre has got the message as well.

            Regardless, if you look at the average age of our core players we’re more than fine for the foreseeable future. Assuming the average player takes 3-5 years to develop we have time on our side. Cycle in one or 2 prospects a year, trade the occasional vet for prospects and/or picks and we’re more than good.

            Heck, Neil didn’t cost us anything but some cap space. There are all sorts of ways to build a team.

          • TheBear64

            I still think Jon Gillies is the guy for the future for the Flames. Hopefully he’ll step up in the next year or two and then we won’t need to trade for another goaltender.

          • Sobueno

            Seems to me the value of draft picks varies depending on the time of year. Every year come trade deadline time picks be flying left right and center for that piece teams think will put them over the top. Draft weekend in contrast, GM’s turn into complete misers because suddenly every pick is going to produce The Next Big Thing apparently. Their true value is probably somewhere in the middle, and choosing when to trade them for knowable assets is really just an exercise in risk management (the risk being in the uncertainty of what picks will produce 5 years down the line). The closer to a contender a team is, the more they’re likely ok with taking that risk. Treliving may have jumped the gun last summer thinking we were further along than we really are, but I’ve been liking his moves so far this summer (somehow made us better while also extending our “window” in my opinion).

            So sure, it’d be great to have an all-star cast of nothing but home grown talent (which would likely require keeping all our picks year to year), but I think that series a while back on the big contending teams and what they did to get to the top showed that it’s a combination of drafting, good trades, timely signings, and a dose of luck that are all needed that put you over the top, not any one of those things in isolation.

    • Rockmorton65

      It’s not all about draft picks. We swapped Hamilton for Hanifin and gained Lindholm. The cap space, in part, enabled us to sign Ryan and Neal.

      I don’t understand some people’s obsession with draft picks. Outside of the top 15, the odds of a player making the NHL amounts to a coin flip.

        • Rockmorton65

          I agree we can’t trade them away every year, but with where this team is at – give me Hamonic, Hanifin, Lindholm, Ryan and Neal over the handful of picks we used to acquire them.

      • MarbledBlueCheese

        Man, all these “draft picks are stupid when you’re so good” takes remind me of:
        The Sutter years. Who needs a pipeline of cheap talent? We’ve got two elite players!
        Last summer, when so many were sure that this team would be playing for a western conference final at least.

        Treliving is moving picks (and the occasional prospect) out like its going out of style. There will be a crash ahead.

        • Justeen Trudope

          Brad has the luxury of being able to use those assets for current NHL players because he has drafted very well. That is the difference between this and the “Sutter years”. Although some of brads moves haven’t worked out he’s smart and doesn’t use assets to acquire rental players or bad contracts so therefor are still assets. This team already has everyone wondering where Anderson, Valimaki, Dube, Mangi are going to fit into the roster this year. Having one year with a few less draft picks is not the end of the world.

        • oilcanboyd

          ..or you keep draft picks and make crappy selections in the first two rounds and your prospect basket then looks even weaker – know a that this has happened?

    • Stockton's Finest

      I sure hope so. I have an article coming out in the next day or two.

      I will only get 1 pre-season game and possibly Fan Fest (Heat Management says they are holding it again this year) to get to know the new players.

      Can October come any sooner please? I NEED MY HOCKEY!!!!

  • MDG1600

    Agreed. Our prospect pool is so poor for forwards that FN are excited over the guy who had 0 pts in 10 NHL games and a 24 year old who had 39 pts in the AHL. Jankowski was light years better than Foo or Mangiapane in the AHL yet I consistently see posts here on FN advocating that Foo or Mangiapane have somehow earned their shot for top 6 time with the Flames. I am not saying the can’t do it but they certainly haven’t earned ityet.

        • FL?MES

          Also, the top 6 forward spots are spoken for so there is no room for them there. One of them may make it but will have to earn a bottom six spot.

          So you know, the argument being made was that if you take a potentially gifted prospect and give him garbage linemates it’s hard for him to make an impression.

          • MDG1600

            Lazar was arguably a far more gifted prospect coming out of junior than Mangiapane or Foo. I don’t hear anyone campaigning for him to get better linemates. My point is that good players drive the play, they makes plays and stand out regardless who their linemates are. So far guys like Foo and Mangiapne haven’t shown anything better that Hathaway or Lazar.

          • FL?MES

            But Foo and Yeastmode have barely had a taste of the NHL.

            Mangiapane is also an entirely different player. He is a Swiss Army knife type of player who does not shy away from the dirty areas. Because of this he will never be a top scorer but a grinder who will chip in.

            Foo is more one-dimensional. If you stick him on a top line and give him 5 or 6 chances a night he will put up points. The guy likes to shoot and will get his myself in the high danger areas.

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            I don’t think Lazar had a more promising career than Mangi, Lazar topped out at 76 points while Mangi had back to back 100+ pt seasons. Lazar was on the National radar screen while Mangi excelled quietly but Mangi has a higher offensive ceiling.

          • MDG1600

            Only on FN will you find people arguing that the guy taken in the 6th round and the guy not drafted were obviously more gifted propects than the guy taken 1st round , 17th overall.

    • Still no edit button?

      I don’t think they say its earned its more of they deserve a chance at a spot. Mangi destroyed the ahl. While in the nhl he only limited 4th line time with Like Lazar and brouwer. Not much of a chance there

      • Justeen Trudope

        Your argument of where a player was taken in his draft year is to funny. If you solely look at draft position to determine worth you should be on Oilers Nation. Also I think Johnny might have something to say about that.

    • Dump and chase

      I don’t think they say its earned its more of they deserve a chance at a spot. Mangi destroyed the ahl. While in the nhl he only limited 4th line time with Like Lazar and brouwer. Not much of a chance there

    • Baalzamon

      Jankowski was light years better than Foo or Mangiapane in the AHL

      You realize Jankowski is two years older than Mangiapane right? Also… he wasn’t better. Jankowski had 0.875 ppg in his only full AHL season while Mangiapane–a year younger–posted 1.18 ppg.

      Besides, I don’t see anyone saying Mangiapane should get top six minutes. I’ve seen a lot of people mystifyingly argue that Jankowski should supplant Backlund though.

      Maybe you should be talking to those folks.

    • cberg

      They have clearly earned their shot, for the team (no one is claiming top6), versus guys like Lazar and Brouwer, and Stone, and Bartkoski. I know its a low bar, but for some reason there are still here. You defending them?

  • TheBear64

    The two prospects I am most interested in seeing this upcoming season are Spencer Foo and Juuso Valimaki. This is likely Foo’s last chance at cracking the Flames lineup; if you haven’t made a team as a forward at age 25 your chances tend to get slimmer and slimmer. Foo knows this and will be highly motivated to show that he has what it takes.

    Valimacki looks to me like the best prospect the Flames have in their system now, and maybe even the best prospect they’ve had in many years. I think this kid is going to be a great NHL defenseman for a very long time. The only question is, is he ready to step in now? He very well could be… it will be really interesting to watch what he can do at the NHL level.

  • HAL MacInnis

    I hope that we have a good enough team that our top prospects get to play a solid year in Stockton. I’d rather see our young guns come off a successful year in the AHL than squeak into the Flames lineup to start the new year.

    For example, a confident Foo or Valimaki next year is a much better scenario, in my mind. When Jankowski came aboard, it was evident (while he played in Stockton) that he was ready for the Flames. That is the perfect picture of how a player transitions to the NHL, unless your name is Tkachuk, that is.

  • everton fc

    Foo and Ehliz should look good – they are much older than the rest. So, good news on Foo, I guess.

    Guys like Pollock should also look good – they’ve been pros for a bit.

    Brown and McMann should also look good, being they’re 22+. McMann could be a sleeper. They should court Galajda so he’s interested in coming here.

    Valimaki and Dube will either make this team, or be the in the last round of cut. Pollock needs to have a 20+ AHL season.

  • calgaryfan

    most players make a lot less money in Stocton, it makes a big difference to the player. I hope the Flames are not sending players down to save money or because they are worried about expansion. That is cheating the player and the fan who has bought a ticket.

  • SouthernFlame

    Every line needs a grinder that will battle in the corners. I loved watching Lomberg make Kassien look like a 12 Yr old girl when we played Oilers and then Kassien get kicked out last season. I know a lot of you don’t like Hathaway but he is the 4th line tkachuk and we need players like that.

    • calgaryfan

      not really an argument everyone is allowed their opinion, no one here has all the answers. I just prefer the Flames ice the best hockey players they can. Tired of the Flames being a bad hockey team!

      • SouthernFlame

        The expansion really does throw a big wrench in the gears. Either or I think we have a better team than last year and some good prospects coming up in the ranks. And I seriously can’t wait till the season starts to see what happens. Fun to watch interviews with the up and coming

      • piscera.infada

        Not the point. First, (as in line with the original response) based on what evidence are we claiming Valimaki is a better NHL player at this point than any of Gio, Brodie, Hamonic, Hanifin, Kulak, Andersson, Stone, or even Kylington? Second, if he proves to, in fact, be better than 3 of those aforementioned 8, then why are we positive he won’t have a roster spot next year (and thus “cheating the fans”)? Third, if he’s not markedly better than 3 of those aforementioned 8, isn’t the pragmatic move to make sure he’s not expansion eligible, if we’re thinking he’s definitely a claimable player in three years time?

        I mean, that seems like an entirely logical way to view it.

        • calgaryfan

          Three years is a long time in hockey, the whole management team could be gone if the team does poorly. I would be icing the best team and worry about expansion when it comes.

        • calgaryfan

          I saw Valimaki play a few times this year against the Royals and he is extremely confident, plays aggressive, skates well and is big. I would think he will push the left D for a spot. (not Hanifin or Gio)

          • piscera.infada

            You saw him play confidently against WHL competition. Look, I’m not saying it won’t happen. I’m saying, cross that bridge when the situation dictates.

      • everton fc

        What I meant to say, was I agree w/this post, from SouthernFlame;

        “Every line needs a grinder that will battle in the corners. I loved watching Lomberg make Kassien look like a 12 Yr old girl when we played Oilers and then Kassien get kicked out last season. I know a lot of you don’t like Hathaway but he is the 4th line tkachuk and we need players like that.”

  • oilcanboyd

    A new coaching staff with hopefully better player management and giving youngsters a decent chance to succeed and one or more of our prospects may prosper under a new regime!