Calgary Flames prospect Martin Pospisil has size, skill and horrible injury luck
Photo credit:Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
In hockey, as in the rest of life, sometimes there are individuals who have everything on their side on paper… but just have the worst luck imaginable. The Calgary Flames drafted big-bodied Slovakian forward Martin Pospisil in 2018.
Pospisil has a big frame and tons of potential. But he’s had horrible injury luck over the past four seasons, which has kept him outside of the NHL and on the outside of FlamesNation‘s annual top 20 prospect rankings.
A product of Zvolen, Slovakia and listed at 6’2″ and 190 pounds, Pospisil has two older brothers that went into high-end hockey. Michal briefly played pro in Slovakia and Czechia, while Kristian played a couple seasons in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ system on AHL deals and has played pro in Finland, Switzerland and Czechia. He also won a bronze medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Martin came up through the prestigious Red Bull Hockey Academy in Austria, playing on their under-18 and under-20 teams during his 16 and 17-year-old seasons. He made the jump to North America for his 18-year-old season, posting 37 points in 49 games with the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers. He also had 253 penalty minutes, leading the league.
Between Pospisil’s size, offensive production and boisterousness, he was the 131st-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting. The Flames selected him in the fourth round, 105th overall, in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Pospisil played his 19-year-old season in 2018-19 with Sioux City, increasing his offensive output to 63 points in 44 games and cutting down his penalties significantly. (Well, aside from a 12-game suspension he served mid-season.) Originally committed to St. Lawrence University, Pospisil hit an unspecified snag with getting his NCAA eligibility approved and instead opted to go pro, signing with the Flames at the end of the season.
As of the end of the 2022-23 season, Pospisil has played four seasons of pro hockey in the Flames’ system: three with the Stockton Heat and one with the Calgary Wranglers. He uses his size well to open up time and space for both himself and his teammates, and he plays with a style that former general manager Brad Treliving once termed as “He could find trouble in church.” He’s a disturber and an agitator on the ice.
But Pospisil has awful, awful luck when it comes to injuries. In the past four seasons, the Flames’ AHL affiliate has played a combined 225 regular season games. Pospisil has played in 107 of them, missing the other 118 due to a slew of injuries. In fact, he has yet to play a full AHL season injury-free.
He’s a really consistent contributor, with 56 points in 107 games – good for about half a point per game – and his size and truculent playing style would make him a really nice potential addition to the Flames’ bottom-six mix. But if he wants to have a shot at an NHL audition, he needs to be healthy when the Flames need a replacement player.
For Pospisil’s sake, you gotta hope that his luck turns around before his opportunity with the Flames runs out.
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