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Thoughts on the Calgary Flames from the Penticton Young Stars Classic

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Photo credit:Calgary Flames Photo Gallery
Robert Munnich
7 months ago
The Penticton Young Stars Classic has come and gone. We now move on to main camp at the Saddledome. But before we get there, let’s look back on Penticton and touch on some observations and analysis from last weekend.
(Keep in mind this is based on a rookie tournament in the middle of September. Take all this with a grain of salt.)
Sam Honzek: The 16th overall pick from the 2023 draft did not have the impact on the games like most fans had hoped heading into the weekend. Honzek struggled to show off his high-end skill set. He didn’t make many plays in the offensive zone and didn’t assert himself physically. But let’s keep in mind Honzek was one of the youngest players on the Flames roster this weekend. Fans should be very excited about Honzek’s future.
Matt Coronato: Coronato exceeded expectations when it comes to production as he finished the weekend with three points in three games. All three of his points came on the man advantage. All though he produced on the power play, I thought Coronato struggled at even strength. It looked like he was trying to force plays and do a little too much. Hopefully he will make more of an impact on the game at 5-on-5 in training camp.
Lucas Ciona: The captain of the Seattle Thunderbirds was one of the more intriguing players heading into the weekend and he did not disappoint. Ciona was involved in the play almost every time he was on the ice. He was physical, and a pain in the ass to play against. He also showed off some of his skills and play making ability. He reminded me of a more physical and engaged Nick Ritchie, which is not an insult. Ritchie has played in 481 NHL games. Ciona is a big player with a good set of hands. I bet he’ll be an NHLer within the next 2-3 years.
Adam Klapka: The 6’7″ Czech was a beast and most impactful Flames player in Penticton. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone because of his age, experience, and size. But Klapka continued his strong play from the AHL playoffs into Penticton. His combination of size, skating, hands, and physicality make him an interesting prospect. It wouldn’t surprise me if Klapka pushes for an NHL spot out of training camp. The Flames aren’t the biggest team, they could use Klapka’s size.
William Stromgren: Stromgren was another player I watched closely, and he played well. Stromgren showed off his high-end skill and shot a few times throughout the weekend. He is a little bit of an awkward skater and player, but he had moments where he showed why he was a second-round pick. He reminds me of James Neal in the sense that he’s not the smoothest, silkiest, player in the world, but he has the ability to score goals.

Quick hitters

Ilya Nikolaev: Nikolaev was outstanding on Saturday night against the Oilers. He scored two goals and made an impact in all three zones. There is a lot of turnover on the Wranglers roster this season and he’ll have a chance to become an important player on that team over the next couple seasons.
Mark Duarte: Duarte was a pleasant surprise. He used his size and skating to his advantage and also made a great play on Ilya Nikolaev’s first goal against the Oilers. It’s going to be interesting to see how he progresses with the Wranglers this season.
Parker Bell: Bell was one of the pleasant surprises of the weekend for the Flames. Bell showed well in all three games. He was elevated to the “top line” with Rory Kerins and Coronato after his strong performance on Friday. It will be interesting to see if Bell is sent back to the WHL to play in his overage season or will he get a shot to play in the AHL?
Who stood out to you in Penticton? Were there any players performance that surprised you in a positive way? Let us know in the comments section!

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