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A brief introduction to the Flames’ 10 PTOs

It simply wouldn’t be a training camp without players signed to professional tryouts, and with pretty much the entire established roster overseas in China, bringing in more players while awaiting their return was always going to be a necessity.

But just who are the 10 guys the Flames have brought into camp? Let’s take a moment to break the group down.

As Ryan said in an earlier piece, contract spots are at a premium – it’s going to be rather difficult for anyone to earn a contract out of their tryout the way, say, Tanner Glass did this time a year ago – but you never know what’ll happen for these guys. (AHL deals certainly aren’t out of the question; they’re semi-frequent results of a successful training camp.)

Goaltenders (1)

Jeff Glass – The hometown not-quite-kid (he’s 32 years old), Glass took the long, winding road to the NHL, finally making his debut as a Blackhawk in the 2017-18 season. The 6’3, 206 lb. goalie played 15 games for Chicago, including three against Calgary (which was rather nice of the Hawks to do – he got two games in the Saddledome out of that), posting a .898 save percentage. In six games, he had a save percentage over .900, with his best being a .967% win over Winnipeg. He’s spent most of his career in the AHL and KHL.

Defencemen (5)

Justin Falk – Different from Justin Faulk by one letter and like 200 NHL games and points, Falk turns 30 in October. The 6’5, 223 lb. lefty has played a career 269 games in the NHL, most recently for the Sabres, as he spent his past two seasons in Buffalo. He’s scored three goals and 33 points total, with his career high coming in the 2011-12 season when he scored nine points for the Wild (which he almost matched in 2016-17, with eight for the Sabres). Though he spent his entire 2017-18 season in the NHL, Falk has also played in the AHL in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17.

Phillip Samuelsson – Now 27, Samuelsson was drafted in the second round by the Penguins way back in 2009. He only has 13 NHL games to his credit; however, as the 6’2, 194 lb. left-shooting Swede has made his career in the AHL, where he’s typically good for about 20 points a season (he had 21 in 76 games in 2017-18 for the Charlotte Checkers). Samuelsson last played in the NHL in 2015-16 for the Coyotes.

Duncan Siemens – Drafted 11th overall by the Avalanche in 2011, Siemens has only played 20 games in the NHL, 16 of which came just this past season for the team that drafted him. The freshly turned 25-year-old had spent his entire professional career to date only within the Avs organization, primarily in the AHL. He has one goal and one point to his name, both of which came this past year, as he averaged 12:19 a game. The 6’3, 210 lb. lefty hasn’t been a scorer at the AHL level, either, consistently putting up about seven points a season.

Ryan Sproul – Twenty-five years old and the only right shot defenceman on this list, Sproul was a second round draft pick of the Red Wings in 2011, but spent the 2017-18 season as Rangers property. The 6’4, 205 lb. defender has played 44 NHL games, posting two goals and 12 points. He’s spent most of his career in the AHL, and has been able to put up points at that level, his career high being 35 in the 2015-16 season. This past season, he had 25 points in 44 games in the AHL, and five in 16 in the NHL.

Viktor Svedberg – Svedberg has only played one season in the NHL: 2015-16, during which he amassed four points in 27 games. Otherwise, it’s been just the AHL for the 27-year-old left shot, who scored a career high in points with 24 in 73 games played this past season. Standing at 6’8 and 239 lbs., Svedberg has only known the Blackhawks organization, at least until this PTO.

Forwards (4)

Justin Auger – A 24-year-old right-shot right winger, Auger has only played two NHL games to date, and they both came during the 2017-18 season for the Kings. A fourth round draft pick back in 2013, the 6’6, 232 lb. winger has since primarily played in the AHL, where he’s typically been good for at least 20 points or so (with a career high of 36 in 2015-16).

Gilbert Brule – Yes, that Gilbert Brule! Now 31 and an Olympic bronze medalist, he actually spent his 2017-18 season playing for Kunlun Red Star in China, so he just missed the plane. Sitting at 299 NHL games played, he hasn’t suited up in the big league since the 2013-14 season when the Coyotes dressed him for three games. The 5’11, 186 lb. right-shot centre has been playing in the KHL since 2014-15. He scored 36 points in 53 games this past season.

Scott Sabourin – A right-shot right winger, Sabourin was never drafted and has never played in the NHL. Standing at 6’3 and 208 lbs., the 26-year-old has primarily toiled away in the AHL. He’s spent the past two seasons playing for the San Diego Gulls, scoring just seven points in 44 games in 2017-18, and also 80 penalty minutes. Which is down from the 17 points and 147 penalty minutes he had in 2016-17.

Logan Shaw – Soon to turn 26, Shaw is a right-shot centre with 180 games of NHL experience, and 31 points to go with them. The 6’3, 208 lb. forward was drafted in the third round by the Panthers in 2011, but spent the 2017-18 season with the Ducks and Canadiens, scoring 14 points over 72 games as he averaged 11:53 in ice time. He’s played mostly in the NHL since the 2015-16 season.

  • freethe flames

    These guys are all playing for jobs in the AHL and to bring depth to an organization that could use some depth. I doubt Glass gets a job here but one never knows. It would not surprise me to see 2 or 3 of the defenders earn an AHL contract(with maybe one getting a two way deal) and 1 or 2 of the forwards earning the same thing. As is I count 14 forwards for the Heat and KC plus 1 or 2 going down from the group in China and only 6 D for the Heat and KC so I fully expect some jobs here. The only way I see Glass getting a job here is if someone gets injured.

    • HAL MacInnis

      Thought the same thing when 5′ 11″ is the runt of the litter.

      I hope some of these guys earn AHL jobs. I want to see a winning culture in Stockton.

      • Baalzamon

        Have you looked at Stockton’s roster lately? Buddy Robinson (53 points last year) is probably going to be the third or fourth line RW.

        You’ll see at most one of these defensemen signed (probably Sproul). And no forwards.

    • aye

      I guess 80’s hockey is still a trend in the AHL. Glad to see the NHL trending towards more skill and speed over size. Love to see more kids like Phillips and Zav get a chance to showcase their skills.

    • ZKman

      Interesting thought. It would appear that either BT suddenly got a lot smarter over the last little while, or the BB’s departure has positively affected his decision making.

  • freethe flames

    So I have just arrived home from watching the Flames two practices today. Baby it’s cold out there and the arena was empty; maybe 10 spectators except for when the Indonesian tourists showed up between practices. So before I start full disclosure I am a hockey fan; not a hockey coach although I did spend over 20 years coaching basketball and although the two sports are different there are enough concepts that they share that I have a pretty good idea of what I think the Flames are trying to do.

    The two practices were identical in structure. The goalies come out about 15-20 minutes early to work with their coach and to stretch. The skaters were divided into 3 groups; two forward groups(R&W) and the defenders all dressed in black. They then did a number of transition breakdown drills working on their dzone exits and their ozone transition opportunities. Lots of skating during the drill and lots of skating prior to being taught a new drill. quick uptempo type of practice which I liked and very little obvious correcting of guys if they screwed up a drill. After about 45 minutes of this the D changed uniforms and joined one of either the R or W drops for some system play; this appeared to be how they intend to attack on a dump and chase situation. My basketball background would call it a 1-2-2 full court press. They then did that for about 15-20 minutes and a little extra conditioning and that was it; done for the day.

    Team Berezan practice: Marcus Hogstrom was not at practice. The Red forwards were Mangaipane/Quinne/Foo as a line and Saborin, Ruzicka/Zavgrodiny as a line. The White forward groups were Pollock/Gawdin/Shaw as a unit and Ernst/Auger/Roman as a line. There were no discernable defensive pairings; rather fluid. This was not the kind of practice where if your game is physical play that you had a chance to shine. Shaw looked like a good PTO IMO and Zav impressed me with extra effort on a couple of drills. Rittich looked calm and cool in net but struggled handling dump in’s. McDonald goes down a split second too fast on a regular basis.

    Group B the Macoun Practice group. Earlier I said that the two practices we the same; not exactly true. This one had a interruption because of bad ice(it had to be cleaned a second time) and Coach Cail stopped practice a couple of times to get their attention; he did not do that with group 1. Red Forward groupings: Rychel/Dube/Robinson as a line and Ehliz/McMurty/Phillips and the White forward group was Lomberg/Grovic/Bruille with Joly and Fisher as the extras. Again no one stood out although Dube and Valimaki are going to be very good, Lomberg talks a lot. Watching Glass and Parsons in net was interesting; Glass is very calm and collected while Parson’s is very competitive with himself(almost too much).

    So that’s my report on today’s practices. I am interested to see the Flames play tonight and see if any of the nuances I noticed in practice are part of their structure and game play.

    • freethe flames

      SF: he was one guy I hardly noticed today but it’s one practice. Time will tell. Where are your tickets for you and the better half when you come north.