The Calgary Flames will hit the ice on Friday for the first time since middle of April. Sure, there are no actual NHL players on the ice aside from Dillon Dube, but it’s more than we’ve seen in months. In addition to several of the top prospects in the Flames organization – seven of their top 10 and 14 of the top 20 from our rankings will be there – we’ll also see 10 players with no formal ties to the Flames in camp on try-outs.
The try-out players can be split into two groups: those under American Hockey League deals for this coming season, and junior players trying to make a good impression.
D Rob Hamilton
A Calgary product and graduate of the University of Vermont, Hamilton is a 24-year-old who’s heading into his third pro season. He joined the Stockton Heat midway through the season as an injury replacement and he ended up sticking around. His 29 points made him the Heat’s top-scoring defender and earned him an AHL deal for this season.
(He is in no way related to Freddie and/or Dougie Hamilton.)
RW Jeremy McKenna
A linemate of 2019 first round pick Jakob Pelletier with the Moncton Wildcats, McKenna is a scorer who was 7th in the QMJHL in scoring last season. He came to development camp as a walk-on replacement for Dmitry Zavgorodniy, who was nursing an injury, and ended up landing a deal with Stockton.
LW Mason Morelli
Morelli came to Stockton at the end of last season after finishing up his college career with the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He was just shy of a point-per-game as a senior in college and had four points in nine games for an injury-ravaged Stockton group and could be a good complementary piece for a young forward group.
D Zach Osburn
The only try-out player that wasn’t at development camp, Osburn is going pro after four seasons at Michigan State University. He never was a huge offensive producer for the Spartans, but he’s a fairly reliable right shot defender. He’ll be decent depth for the Heat.
D Corey Schueneman
Another player that got a late season audition, Schueneman was the captain at Western Michigan University and played six games (and scored a goal) for the Heat after finishing school. He’s 24, he’s a left shot, and he should be just fine.
RW David Kope
Eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft but not selected, Kope is tall (6’5″) and lanky (he weighs 165 pounds) and posted fairly pedestrian offensive numbers with 28 points in 61 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings. But much like lanky kid Mark Jankowski made scouts curious during his draft year – imagine if he filled out! – Kope still has admirers in the scouting community.
C James Malm
Malm is headed into his overage season with the Calgary Hitmen after splitting last season between Calgary and the Vancouver Giants. Listed as 5’9″ and 174 pounds, Malm is a fun player to watch at the junior level because he’s all motor. He might not have high-end skill or consistency, but he works really hard on the ice.
D Christopher Merisier-Ortiz
Another 2019 NHL Draft eligible player that went unclaimed, Merisier-Ortiz played with D’Artagnan Joly last season with the Q’s Baie-Comeau Drakkar. A mobile puck-moving defender, he doubled his point total from the prior season.
D Montana Onyebuchi
A rugged stay-at-home defender, Onyebuchi plays with the Kamloops Blazers. He’s gone unclaimed through the last two drafts, but he’s big – 6’3″ and 209 pounds – and a right shot defender so he brings a few things that the Flames don’t have a lot of in their system.
D Jackson van de Leest
Remember what we said about Kope? van de Leest is listed as 6’6″ and 220 pounds. He’s played two full seasons for the Hitmen, but he wasn’t selected in the 2019 NHL Draft because his offensive totals are rather blah – he has two goals in 110 WHL games. That said, he’s a reliable defensive defender with untapped offensive upside. And he’s huge!