The Calgary Flames recalled Jakob Pelletier, a Calgary Wranglers star forward and one of the organization’s top prospects, back on Jan. 7 as the team left for a road trip. 11 days later, the Flames are back home and Pelletier has yet to make his NHL debut.
Speaking to the assembled media on Tuesday afternoon, Sutter discussed what he’s seen from Pelletier since his arrival (and gave some insight into where Pelletier is in his development and why he hasn’t played yet).
Answering a question from TSN’s Salim Valji, here’s what Sutter had to say:
I like Jakob. I think.. that’s a box, right? That’s a Mange, Dillon, that sort of box, right? So that’s what it is. I like him. You know what, It’s on record: I’ve said it, he’s said it, too, he didn’t have a very good training camp. We played him a couple of games, and that’s what he deserved, or one game, I think. He didn’t have a very good training camp, so then he went down and he didn’t have a very good start. I went, too. I watched and I pull for those young fellas.
But then his game picked up and took off, and he was a really important player there and that’s part of the development. You bring them up. Just like I tell them, tell these guys, you bring them up on trips and then they have to watch how guys, before you can play in the NHL or before you can be successful in the NHL, you have to be around those guys, see what it’s like. See, pick somebody out, prepare like him, work like him in practice, and don’t think you’re him or don’t think you’re him. I’ll tell you who I think you’re like and go from there.
The thing with Pelts is always going to be his size. So as he gets a little stronger and gets a little more weight, then he’s gonna have a better opportunity. That’s what happens. And he can still do that, he’s only 21. Where when you do comparisons to other players in our organization, they maybe maxed out there. This boy is not. He’s got energy for it and a passion for it and a work ethic for it. And he’s a good kid.
Responding to another question on the topic, Sutter spoke for a bit about Pelletier’s enthusiasm and then noted the situation the Flames are in within the Western Conference playoff race: “At the end of the day, I want to get him in. But we’re not 10 up and we’re not 10 out. So, that’s the way it works.”
The Flame’s first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Pelletier is one of 13 forwards on the NHL roster and is the youngest player on the club by a couple of years. The Flames begin a home-stand on Wednesday against the Colorado Avalanche.
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