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Photo Credit: Mike Gould

2021 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings: #16 Martin Pospisil

Martin Pospisil has been through some ups and downs since being drafted by the Flames. He’s suffered some tough injuries and has missed some development time in the American Hockey League.

Despite these setbacks, the 21-year-old has put together solid stretches of hockey over the last two seasons. With his unique blend of skill, smarts, truculent competitiveness, and size he remains a quietly promising prospect who has the tools to exceed his reputation as a penalty minute machine.

Here’s the breakdown of what earns Pospisil the 16th spot in this year’s rankings.

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Martin Pospisil
Left-handed centre
Born Nov. 19, 1999 (age 21) in Zvolen, Slovakia
6’2”, 180 pounds
Drafted in the fourth round (105 overall) by CGY in 2018

Calgary plucked the fiery Slovak from the USHL back in 2018 with their first actual selection in the fourth round as the Flames did not hold a pick in rounds one through three.

His draft and post-draft years were both solid campaigns spent with the Sioux City Musketeers in the United States Hockey League. At 19 he made his professional debut with the Stockton Heat. His production and impact on the score sheet certainly stalled after he made the jump to the AHL as he was held off the score sheet quite frequently managing only three points through his first 19 games.

He certainly wasn’t shy to engage in his favourite on-ice activity, however, as he threw his weight around and dropped the gloves frequently. The opening stretch of his pro career was interrupted by a nasty concussion sustained while engaged in a fight with the late Colby Cave.

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Pospisil was held out for almost three months but finished the year with a push tallying all three of his goals and four assists in what would end up being the final seven games of the 2019-20 AHL season.

With the status of North American leagues muddled, Pospisil was loaned to HC Kosice of the Slovak Tipsport Liga to commence the 2020-21 calendar year. He notched 17 points in 22 games and certainly did not leave his penchant for rough stuff behind registering a whopping 102 penalty minutes over that span. How he managed to almost go a point per game while also wracking up that many penalty minutes is interesting.

When he returned to join the Heat, in Calgary this year, the physical pivot slotted into a bottom-six role up front. Pospisil was playing some solid hockey and put together a nice 10 game stretch in late February to mid-March where he registered 10 points.

He even earned some top-line billing with Matthew Phillips and Adam Ruzicka. His season was derailed by an awful knee-on-knee hit delivered by Laval’s Yannick Veilleux. The hit resulted in a torn MCL and MPFL ending Pospisil’s year.

The injury was terribly unfortunate. Pospisil’s offensive numbers were improving and he seemed to be finding his stride as a physical and energetic force. He also underwent shoulder surgery to address an unrelated issue.

FlamesNation’s Paige Stewart covered the Heat this past year and described how unfortunate injuries impeded a promising year for the young centre:

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Martin Pospisil is a player I really would’ve liked to see for the whole Stockton season. He was due for surgery on another nagging injury and in his last game, got his season cut even shorter with an awkward knee to knee contact that took him out of the game in the first period. This was Pospisil’s first game starting on the top line and was really an opportunity to show the impact role he had on the Heat that could be taken into consideration for the following season. He has great puck handling skills and always seems to be right where his teammates need him as a key role player. Definitely a huge loss for Stockton at the midway point but hopefully the best is yet to come next season.

Pospisil’s strengths were on display last year. He does not back down from any physical engagement and doesn’t limit this to scrapping. He uses his strength and compete level to retrieve pucks, win battles, and finish chances in the slot. Pospisil was impactful as a net-front presence, particularly on the power play for Stockton.

The 21-year-old did plenty of damage on the power play this year. He led the club in man-advantage goals with three and finished behind only Phillips in terms of primary power play points with five.

His scoring rates relative to his time on ice are quite good. Less time in the box could likely translate into more offence. He seems to be navigating his hot-headed temperament with 91 penalty minutes in 40 games in the AHL and curtailing some of his extracurricular activity with only a single fighting major this past season.

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Season Team Goals Assists Points Primary PP Points EV GF% EV GF% Relative
2019-20 Stockton 3 7 10 3 50% 4.26%
2020-21 Stockton 5 6 11 5 46.15% -6.57%

Statistics from Pick 224

Heat bench boss, and now Flames assistant coach, Cail Maclean, spoke to Pospisil’s development following a Stockton victory in which the Slovak registered a goal, two assists, and 19 PIMs:

I think he took big strides from when he came into our team in Stockton at the beginning of last year…He’s got great edge to his game, he’s physical, and he makes great plays…He plays hard, he makes good offensive plays, and at the same time, at the drop of the hat, if someone threatens someone in his family, he’ll go right after them.

Expectations for 2021-22

Fully recovering from the serious ligament injuries he sustained will be the main priority for Pospisil. He will likely be ready to roll for the Flames 2021 training camp. The Flames and Pospisil himself are likely hoping he sees a ton of ice and plenty of game action in 2021-22. A healthy and full season of AHL games should be the goal.

Entering the final year of his entry-level contract, Pospisil will be looking to earn a full-time spot in Stockton’s top six rotation. In interrupted spurts, he has shown himself to be a useful player at the professional level.

There are certainly indications that Pospisil has potential beyond wracking up penalty minutes and mucking it up. Hopefully, with some healthy runway, he can continue to develop his gritty and tenacious game while finding consistency in his offensive contributions.

2021 FlamesNation Prospect Rankings

The no-votes | On the bubble | #20 Ilya Solovyov | #19 Cole Huckins | #18 Rory Kerins | #17 Johannes Kinnvall | #16 Martin Pospisil