98Jakob Pelletier
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

Newest Flame Jakob Pelletier brings scoring and snarl

For awhile, the Calgary Flames have had the challenge that their skilled players weren’t overly big and their big players weren’t overly skilled. At 26th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Flames hope they’ve found skilled smaller player in Jakob Pelletier that plays big.

Following the first round, Flames general manager Brad Treliving outlined why Pelletier was the right player for them to select at 26th overall.

“Jakob is a guy who we’ve obviously followed all year,” Elite compete, elite hockey sense, and those are two things that we value greatly. Very productive, got skill, but he’s got hard skill. He goes into hard areas. The DNA of this kid, like I said, a high, high motor. And just ultra, ultra competitive. Tons of character and that’s the core of the young man and it’s wrapped in a pretty skilled package so we thought it was a good pick at that spot.”

Pelletier described his game as “a small guy who’s going to play big. Treliving noted that he’s an offensive minded player – Pelletier was second among his age group in the QMJHL at goal-scoring at even strength – who’s able to play a rounded game, as he killed penalties. Treliving added that Pelletier is a player who isn’t afraid to go to the rough areas of the ice – he joked that the winger has a little “eff you” in his game.

“His jersey needs to get washed at the end of the game because it’s a little bit filthy,” said Treliving. “He goes in. He goes in and scores goals in hard areas. It’s not perimeter. He plays inside. And he’s produced. he’s been productive. But he’s a guy who’s going to need some time, but to us, we have attributes we think are important and we stick by them, and a really good kid.”

The Flames met with Pelletier the morning of the draft and the 18-year-old had an inkling that the team was interested. Treliving noted that Pelletier was part of several players that the team had ranked in a similar grouping. At 26th overall, the Flames felt that his combination of skill and competitiveness was right for them.

“He’s gonna thicken up,” said Treliving. “Maybe not small. He’s short right now, but he’s got some ass on him, he’s got some legs on him and he’ll widen up. But what he’s gonna do… he’s years away, right? He’s not right around the corner. But what you love about this kid is he eats it, breathes it, and he’s prepared to do anything he can to make himself a good player.”

For a glimpse at his drive: Pelletier suffered an ankle injury during the QMJHL playoffs, but elected to go to the Under-18 World Championship anyway. He also had an interesting response to a question the Flames asked him both at the combine and on the morning of the first round.

Treliving confirmed this story.

We said, ‘we’re sitting there at 26 and we’ve got a few names, why do we call Pelletier?’  And he said, ‘because I’m going to help you win a Stanley Cup.’ It’s better than saying “because I like the mountains,” but it’s authentic with him… He’s a driven, competitive kid.

Pelletier is the second player the Flames have drafted from the QMJHL in as many rounds – they selected Dmitry Zavgorodniy in the final round in 2018 – and the first they’ve taken in the opening round since Emile Poirier in 2013. In an interesting twist of fate, Pelletier’s coach in Moncton is John Torchetti – a veteran NHL coach who was teammates with Treliving in 1990-91 with the ECHL’s Winston-Salem Thunderbirds.

The 2019 NHL Draft continues on Saturday when rounds 2-7 will be conducted. The Flames have four selections in the second day of the draft.

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      • _vntony

        We haven’t a clue what he is at the NHL level yet. Go look back at Bennett’s draft year, he was touted to have high hockey IQ, etc. etc.

        I’ll hold of judgment on this pick until I see more, but to suggest he’s an already better pick than Bennett is a little premature.

        • Kevin R

          I dont think anyone is saying he will hit harder than Benny. Theo Fleury played pretty nasty dirty too & I dont recall him levelling guys. Just knowing when to ding bigger players & get them off their games. If he turns out to have Gaudreau skills & Theo temperament Im ok with that.
          & as I said on the other thread, he maybe ready to step in when we have to struggle finding probably 12 mill per to resign Gaudreau or trade him for a nice haul.

  • Sterls

    Sounds like a defensively sound reincarnation of Fleury. Size isn’t as valuable as it used to be, but back when it was Fleury was a force. This kid is what we need. Skill, speed, compete, and grit. Not a waste, and would not be available much long after we grabbed him.

  • FlushedOut

    For those obsessing about the another small player remember it’s probably 3-4 years before he probably plays with the NHL. By then the size of our team could be completely different. How many guys are left from our 2015 team. Big guys with speed, grit, and skill are almost as voodoo as drafting goalies. And for those who like to point out smaller players drafted in later rounds how about Patrick Kane #1 overall. That shrimp seems to have worked out fine.

  • Skylardog

    The new Prototype Flames Player… Small skilled player.

    Really no opinion on this one…

    But I will forever think that the right move was to move the pick at the TDL for a player that would have mattered in Round 1 of the playoffs and beyond.

    The window continues to close.

    • The Beej

      One player wouldnt have changed the balance of the series. Even in hindsight standing pat was the right move if the player we would have gotten was UFA.

      Although we all know Tre was trying to do something. Zucker.

      • Skylardog

        A top 6 forward would have. Games 2 and 4 don’t go into OT, but are settled in regulation when the Flames are able to put 1 more goal on the board in each of those games. After game 4, the Flames are coming home up 3-1 in the series with the momentum.

        1 player in this case so makes a difference.

      • Skylardog

        We have 2 years with the current core. JG leaves as a UFA in 3, so you have to move him before then. Sure you get something back, but it is most likely a low roster player, a top pick, and a top prospect. In other words less at that time than what Johnny is worth on the ice in 2021.

        We have only 4 top six forwards, are at the cap max now after signing the guys we have, and may need to clear out Brodie or Fro just to get that done. Never mind adding the 2 guys we need.

        Without 6 true top 6 forwards we are just spinning our wheels.

        How are we improving this roster in the next 2 months to get the 2 top forwards we need?

        • Kevin R

          Dog, sh!tt happens during those next 2-3 years. It’s not like we are talking about 36 year old Iginlas we missed the boat not trading sooner, Gaudreau will only be 28. Returns will be huge if & when we decide to trade him if we cant get him to stay. This business is becoming more of a business & less about loyalty. Look at Matthews, 5 year deal & that kid will be gone too. So is Leaf window closing too?

      • freethe flames

        The point is that for BT to active during FA he needs to create some cap space. My hope is BT does not chase the over 30 crowd of fA. The other hope for trading this two is that we might also get some 2nd round picks as this class is said to have a lot of solid 2nd rounders. There are still about 10 projected first rounders still out there.

      • Skylardog

        The sky fell on July 1 and 2 last year when BT signed Neal, Ryan and Czar. Our hands are now tied for the remainder of the window because we have about $10M in wasted cap space that we desperately need for a top 6 forward. But none of us saw it fall then. (I only saw storm clouds at last years TDL).

        I noticed it had fallen at the TDL.

        If correctly managed by BT, we pick up one of the 2 top six forwards we needed last summer, then fill in the final key roster spot, the second must have top 6 forward we lack, at the TDL by moving Frolik and or Brodie then.

        • Kevin R

          I have to respectfully disagree. As much as I dont like Treliving going after these 29-30 year old UFAs & pay them for what they’ve done, the only reason so many teams have the cap waters rising to their necks is because of the ridiculous contracts agents & RFAs are commanding. Since when should a player just out of an ELC command as much or more money than a 28 or 29 year old player who has consistently performed & earned these 3rd contracts. Add in the fact they wont even take 8 year deals at these outrageous numbers & can extort the teams in 5 years after that. This year is going to be ground zero of the devastation this is going to do to salary structure of players. & if you are 31-33, teams wont be able to offer these guys more than a $1.0-$2.0 mill short term deal. Those are the storm clouds coming, not just a league issue but a player issue as well.

  • fretsey

    “He’s gonna thicken up,” said Treliving. “Maybe not small. He’s short right now, but he’s got some ass on him, he’s got some legs on him and he’ll widen up. But what he’s gonna do… he’s years away, right? He’s not right around the corner. But what you love about this kid is he eats it, breathes it, and he’s prepared to do anything he can to make himself a good player.”
    Best quote ever

    • The GREAT WW

      “He’s short right now”……?

      Dumb pick.
      How do a room full of scouts and general managers get together for months and make such a poor pick?
      It amazes me how “group think” can derail such a simple process…


    • Kevin R

      Sounds like a Martin St Louis description as well. He had tree trunks for legs. I remember watching Regehr crunching him in the boards right in front where we were sitting & St Louis just popped right back up & into the play. Most guys would have been writhing on the ice.

        • Kevin R

          Scouting & drafting where light years different back then & in fact they even changed after the Gaudreau pick. These smaller guys are going in the 1st & 2nd rounds. Look who Canadiens took at 15, he looked like a grade 10 kid to me.

    • The Beej

      Please WW. Remember this and in a few years post and apology to the this young kid you are senselessly bashing.

      You got no class Walt. And you sure dont know hockey.

  • Baalzamon

    This comment thread is exactly what I expected. You guys never disappoint.

    Remember how much leafs fans complained about drafting Mitch Marner? Yeah, another shrimp. You don’t take those guys in the first round.

    The Flames have the tenth tallest roster in the league. That is a fact. Seems to me that they could use more guys who play the way Pelletier does.

    But what do I know? I’m the guy who doesn’t have a brain aneurysm every time the Flames do something.

    • supra steve

      Doesn’t matter to me if you love or hate this pick, if you have a strong opinion (either way), then you’ve not been paying attention to this drafting process for long enough. Five to ten years from now, give me your opinion, but as of right now, none of our opinions matter. A group of men who live and breath hockey, and work for the Flames, decided that this was the best prospect available. If you strongly disagree (or agree)…who gives a frack.

    • The Beej

      Yup a good portion of this fanbase is right out to lunch.

      Forget how we were outskated and outshot by the Avs. Size is all that matters.

      I just dont get where this is all coming from.

    • The Red Knight

      Pelletier looks like a guy who can finish and a great playmaker,quick decisions , and finish around the net a nose for loose pucks, and doing all this in traffic ,he doesn’t need time and space to make plays . I don’t mind this pick at all . I want players with snarl , not just big players,there’s lots of big players that play small . Time will tell but from what I seeen with his highlights is he is an elite playmaker .

  • Chucky

    It seems to me that once the pick is past the first 7 or 8 it is about evaluating potential rather than current performance. I am a little surprised by this pick because it seems to indicate that the Flames believe that they need a fairly small, scoring, left hand shooting forward in the foreseeable future.
    If this kid turns into a 5’9″ 180 pound with swagger and plays the game with the intensity of a Paul Byron or Theo Fleury , Treliving looks like a genius. If not it really is not a big deal that the #26 pick is not a top 6 forward.
    That said it is considering the success that they have had with the second generation of the Tkachuk family it is a little surprising that they did not select the second generation of the Foote family. The NHL.com analysis says “The Lightning have plenty of top-end offensive-minded forward prospects; Foote brings a strong two-way game. And playing all season with a broken wrist shows he is physically and mentally tough.”. It would seem that the Flames could be substituted for the Lightning.
    It will be interesting to see if either of these guys makes it to allow us to either second guess or praise Treliving.

    • Albertabeef

      “And playing all season with a broken wrist shows he is physically and mentally tough.”
      Nope, that just makes him stupid. Playoffs are one thing but a whole season is just not taking proper care of yourself.

  • freethe flames

    Welcome Jakob here’s hoping you develop. At #26 he has @50% of becoming an NHL player.
    Here’s how the “scouting organizations had him ranked:
    Ranked #40 by THE ATHLETIC
    Ranked #39 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
    Ranked #32 by ISS HOCKEY
    Ranked #43 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
    Ranked #27 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
    Ranked #23 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
    Ranked #31 by TSN/McKenzie

    So he was not a guy who fell to us. So why the reach? What does BT and staff know about him vs the next 5-10 available players We will know in about 5 years whether or not it was a good selection.

  • TheWheeze

    My reaction was the same. Sounds like they are looking ahead three years down the road. On that note, a trade could be in the works here also to address present shortcomings. As long as it’s not another 32 year old overpaid free agent we’ll be fine

  • kipper2004

    I dont believe Pelletier is a big miss at 26th pick based on size as there were a lot of small forwards available in the 1st round, but what the Flames do need is more compete level players in the tough areas during the playoffs, and it sounds like he has that talent. At 26th I dont think you say hit or miss as there were all kinds of guys available so Flames went with the guy they liked personally and his style of play, maybe he is the next Debrincat but I dont think they missed out on a future hall of famer at 26th anyways.

  • Beer League Coach

    Just looking at size he reminds me of Stan Smyl who turned out to be a pretty good choice for Nux many years ago. If he develops like the Steamer did he will be a useful player for Flames. When Tre announced Flames pick my reaction was wtf. Today I have changed my mind a little. Let’s give him a chance to show what he can do, even if we have to wait a couple years to see what he brings.

  • oilcanboyd

    Pronman on Flames pick (from the Athletics):
    Team Fit: In Pelletier, the Flames add a player who has scored a ton the past two years in the QMJHL. He’s a highly intelligent and competitive forward. He’s been subject to mild debate in scouting circles on his offensive upside despite his massive numbers, but I knew some teams who thought he was a clear first-round talent. In a thin Flames system, he becomes one of their very best prospects.