Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

FGD: The (prospect) Battle of Alberta (2pm MT)

It might not be meaningful hockey, per se, but hockey returns to the Scotiabank Saddledome this afternoon as the Calgary Flames face the Edmonton Oilers in white-hot prospect action. Rather than participating in the annual Penticton Young Stars Classic event, the Flames and Oilers are engaging in a home-and-sorta-home series – the return engagement is Wednesday evening in Red Deer.

Today’s game starts at 2 p.m. MT, but there are all sorts of activities taking place around the west entrance of the ‘Dome so come early if you can. If you’re not able to check it out in person, the game will be streamed on the Flames website and broadcast by our pals at Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

After two days of practice under the watchful gaze of new bench boss Bill Peters, the Flames’ youngest players hit the ice under the guidance of new Stockton head coach Cail MacLean. Roughly half of the players dressed today could end up in Stockton at some point this season, while a handful of ’em might factor into the Flames’ lineup as well.

Here’s a projected lineup from the first couple days of on-ice work (with jersey numbers in brackets):

Mangiapane (88) – Dube (59) – Foo (15)
Pollock (60) – Gawdin (80) – Phillips (47)
Ehliz (50) – Ruzicka (63) – Fischer (48)
Joly (52) – Roman (65) – Zavgorodniy (78)

Valimaki (42) – Ollas Mattsson (68)
Christiansen (57) – Kylington (58)
Healey (85) – Merezhko (98)

Tyler Parsons (and his sweet new pads and mask) is the starter and Mason McDonald appears to be the backup dressing, but we’ll get confirmation at warm-up. The projected scratches are Nick Schneider, Shane Farkas, Brayden Pachal, Merrick Rippon, Jordan Ernst and Mike McMurtry.

The Oilers

The youngsters from up north are now led by Todd Woodcroft, formerly an Oilers assistant and now the new Bakersfield Condors head coach.

Here’s their projected roster:

Gambardella (45) – Marody (65) – Yamamoto (56)
Benson (49) – McLeod (70) – Vesel (53)
Vesey (68) – Esposito (55) – Maksimov (72)
Polei (41) – Hebig (42) – Larkin (64)

Samorukov (78) – Bear (74)
Jones (82) – Bouchard (75)
Day (90) – Wilson (81)

Stuart Skinner starts in goal, backed up by Dylan Wells. The scratches look to be Olivier Rodrigue, Dave Gust, Ostap Safin (injured), Ryan Van Stralen, Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin, Logan Day and Jared Wilson.

Things to Watch

Keep an eye on the five potential first-year pros for the Flames: Dillon Dube, Glenn Gawdin, Matthew Phillips, Zach Fischer and Juuso Valimaki. Dube and Valimaki could factor into the big club’s opening night roster, and there’s no better way to get there than by making a good first impression here.

For the curious, the Flames are dressing 12 of their Top 20 Prospects (as voted by FlamesNation): Valimaki (#1), Mangiapane (#3), Dube (#4), Kylington (#5), Foo (#6), Phillips (#7), Parsons (#8), Gawdin (#11), Ruzicka (#13), Joly (#14), Zavgorodniy (#15) and Roman (#16).

For the visitors, keep an eye on 2017 first round pick Kailer Yamamoto and 2018 first round pick Evan Bouchard. They’re both high-end players and could start the season in Edmonton.

  • Getpucksdeep

    Rookie Watched and listened to Deep Purple instead of announcers. #42 will be a 1st pairing D man one day…soon. What command by Valimaki, the 2nd the Oilers fwrds did not want to enter on his side. Hes going to be the steal of the 2017 draft. Parsons confidence had to take a boost and Dube is undeniably a future NHL forward. Foo and Mang, Rudzicka, Pollock, Philips all showed up and provided flash. Healey #85 was solid. Kylington was okay but did make mistakes which kinda was surprise…! Mgt sure seems to like him. Anyway great start for them that really means nothing yet.

    • Mickey O'Reaves

      2018: Valimaki has a full year in the A. Brodie gets the Gio bump and becomes trade bait. Hanifin – Hamonic a second pairing.
      2019: Hanifin switches sides and gets trained up by Gio. Valimaki makes the team in 2019, and gets mentored by Hamonic.
      There, settled. Dare say that’s the game plan too.

    • Off the wall

      It’s interesting how we all see the game differently.

      Slow starts for our second line and Valamaki. I thought Foo rode the coattails of Mangiapane and Dube. Just my own take.

      Healey has some decent physical presence in this game.
      Kylington was a mess defensively, maybe they should convert him to forward with his puck moving abilities?

      It’s hard to imagine Dube not making the team. The kid is so good already.

      Jusso might need some time in the AHL, it’s not a knock on him, more of a observation in development.

      Parsons stole the show. I’m glad to see him feeling good and confident.

      Monster #98 likes to fight, don’t know squat about him, but it was fun to watch a few hockey fights.

      Round #2 next. Oilers might need some more goaltending help?!

        • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

          Right? I don’t know…. for a guy who has nhl games under his belt i thought he’d be driving play… he looked fast but not much else….

      • FlamesFanOtherCity

        I thought that AOM had a pretty decent game. Rocked a few Oilers. Healey also looked better this game.
        A bit too scrambly for Foo to shine. He looks better when the game opens up. Mangiapane and Dube were the top players for sure. Slight nod to Dube, though he does tend to hog the puck a bit. Not a great game from Kylington, but I suspect he’s trying too hard in a nothing game. I think he’s going to have to develop a bit more in the AHL to not toss the puck too quickly. Perhaps it was the choppiness of the game that made him react that way. Phillips and Gawdin finally showed up to play. Pollock was showing some nice hands out there. An actual one-timer that hit the net? Haven;t seen those in forever. Parson….what to say about him. Battles like Smith, but more athletic. Aware of the puck at all times. Goalie of the future.

      • Porcupine at a balloon party

        Agreed on most points.
        Slow start – valamaki had a rough first period I thought. Showed some offensive flash but had some poor breakouts and clearing attempts. Philips line was invisible until they exploded in 3rd.

        Was not surprised with Kylington, great offensive instincts, many defensive mistakes.
        Dube mango Foo line was dominant pretty much every shift start to finish (didn’t make distinction that foo was being carried by other two, but I’ll watch for that next game).
        Parsons Probably the best individual on ice.

        Couldn’t tell who all the players on the ice were, but we had several pretty bad shifts throughout the game where we were hemmed in zone for 30-45s

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Here is my take…

    I have gone on record saying that Dube’s offence may not translate at the next level. I thought he looked like the best player along with Parsons. Now, I will taper my enthusiasm a bit given the poor quality of goaltending our shooters faced. I felt that our top line was on a different level but Foo was riding the coattails of the other two.

    It took awhile for Phillips to show up but he, Gawdin, and Pollock dominated the 3rd period. Phillips reminds me a lot of Byron and clearly won the little big man contest with Yamamoto.

  • aye

    For those down on Foo, perhaps people have the wrong expectation for the type of player he is. Personally, I don’t see him as the type to drive play or make fancy plays or beat defenders one-on-one, he’s a shooter that gets into good scoring positions and goes to the front of the net, which I thought he did very well this game. The Mangiapane goal was a perfect example, he didn’t get an assist but was probably more of a factor than many realized, he droved to the net hard and was a step behind the defender, I’m sure that forced the goalie to at least have an eye on him and worry about the backdoor tap-in, which was enough to distract him from making the save on Mangi’s shot.
    Everyone plays a different style and has different roles on the team, so people shouldn’t be comparing him to Dube or Mangiapane, I think he actually complements them quite well.