Where does Jakob Pelletier fit into the Calgary Flames lineup?
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike10 months ago
Before they headed on their lengthy five game road trip through the Central Division, the Calgary Flames called up two players from the American Hockey League’s Calgary Wranglers. One was energy winger Walker Duehr, a fourth line candidate who has speed and physicality in his game. The other was highly-touted winger Jakob Pelletier, the Flames’ first-round pick from 2019 and one of the AHL’s top scorers.
Presuming that Pelletier gets into a game on the road trip, where would the best place be to put him?
We surveyed fans on Twitter, and while there was a lack of consensus, the general sentiment was “Hey, put him in the top nine where he has a chance to create offence!”
Several fans suggested playing him with Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, which would bump Milan Lucic down the rotation. While Lucic has been quite effective at times on that line – he’s made several nice plays that have directly led to Flames goals, for instance – it could be argued that adding Pelletier’s young legs could add some pace to that trio. And having Pelletier’s forechecking on that group could allow them to have the puck more often.
Another suggestion was moving him into Andrew Mangiapane’s spot alongside Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman. Again, Pelletier’s been a strong possession player in the AHL, and putting him with Backlund and Coleman would give him some good linemates who play a similar style as he transitions into a more challenging hockey environment. However, some criticized the notion of breaking up an existing forward line that has been so effective for the Flames since being reunited. (If you put Pelletier on the Backlund line, it begs the question of where Mangiapane would go, as well.)
Receiving far fewer suggestions were potential placements on the first and fourth lines, respectively. Fan sentiment seems to be that Dillon Dube is working extremely well alongside Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, so why mess that up? And while Pelletier could probably be effective on a fourth line with some combination of Radim Zohorna, Adam Ruzicka, Duehr and Trevor Lewis, it could be argued that (a) Duehr’s skillset is much closer aligned with the fourth line group than Pelletier’s is and (b) Pelletier’s skillset seems much more aligned with generating offence than with generating energy.
Based on reports from the rink, and projected lines from the Flames’ site, Pelletier is not expected to play on Tuesday in St. Louis. The Flames have three more games remaining on their road trip: Thursday in St. Louis, Saturday in Dallas and Monday in Nashville.
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