Darryl Sutter on Jakob Pelletier’s NHL debut: “What number is he?”
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould4 days ago
Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter shared his thoughts on the performance of rookie forward Jakob Pelletier in his NHL debut after Saturday’s 6–3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Asked about Pelletier’s first few National Hockey League shifts by TSN’s Salim Valji, Sutter didn’t exactly go to bat for the 21-year-old AHL standout.
“Jakob Pelletier, what number is he?” Sutter remarked. “49 … six minutes, 35 seconds. 13 shifts. Averaged 37 seconds a shift. Got 43 seconds on the power play, played 5 minutes and 52 seconds [at even strength]. Had one shot on goal and one hit.
“It’s the NHL. 21 years old. He’s got a long way to go.”
Pelletier did, indeed, log a little under seven minutes in all situations as the Flames steamrolled the Lightning at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday. He saw spot duty on the second power-play unit and had one high-danger scoring chance, according to Natural Stat Trick.
With Pelletier on the ice during 5-on-5 play, the Flames outshot the Lightning 5–1 and controlled 90.04 percent of the expected goals. Neither team scored during Pelletier’s shifts.
The Flames originally selected Pelletier in the first round (No. 26 overall) of the 2019 NHL Draft. The 5’10”, 180-pound winger has been up with the Flames for a couple of weeks but remains in third place on the AHL Calgary Wranglers’ scoring leaderboard with 34 points in 31 games.
Pelletier became the first Flames draft pick since 2018 to make his NHL debut, as well as the first player born since 2000 to play for the Flames in the regular season. He spent most of Saturday’s game on a line with Walker Duehr and Trevor Lewis.
The Flames (22–16–9) currently occupy the final Wild Card playoff spot in the Western Conference, although they might lose their handle on it if the Colorado Avalanche win on Saturday evening. It remains to be seen whether Pelletier will remain in the lineup when the Flames return to action on Monday against Johnny Gaudreau and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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