Here are 10 prospects to watch at Flames development camp this week
Keep your eyes on the top players in the organization this week
Sean Monahan will be attending his first camp with the Flames a week-and-a-half after Calgary picked him with the sixth overall selection in the NHL Entry Draft.
Photograph by: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
This isn’t main camp. Heck, it’s not even rookie camp.
Officially, this is the Calgary Flames’ annual prospects development camp. Just a low-key affair, right?
According to the team itself, the purpose of the seven-day get-together “is to enhance each player’s development process through direction on conditioning and familiarity with the Flames organization.”
That’s all true, sure.
But this is the very first peek at some of the incoming kids — in Flames togs, on local ice, with Calgary coaches, in front of the furrow-browed braintrust. Much easier to grade, rank, assess, compare, this week.
As a bonus, there happens to be a measuring stick on the premises.
Sven Baertschi, a sharp winger who ended his winter with the Flames on a seven-game point streak, will be on the premises. For the teens, the wannabes, the walk-ons, the long shots, the no-chancers — this is what an NHLer looks like.
And while the hopefuls may be keeping an eye trained on No. 47, here’s who you should be watching:
1. C Sean Monahan (18 years old, six foot two, 187 pounds)
The Ottawa 67’s captain was the sixth overall pick at the recent NHL draft. At No. 6, the Flames have done well (Cory Stillman) and terribly (Rico Fata, Daniel Tkaczuk). Monahan, if you listen to general manager Jay Feaster, will be given a long look — a very long look — at main camp. It would be no surprise if the Flames announced his signing this week. Already, he has been handed an NHL-ish No. 23 jersey. Already, expectations are high.
2. G Reto Berra (26, six foot five, 200)
Part of the return in the Jay Bouwmeester swap with St. Louis, Berra has played professionally in Switzerland for years — most recently with Biel of Swiss A. A 2006 draft pick, the big goalie is supposedly the real deal. Coming off a dandy turn at the world championship, he’s been thrown into the short-list mix with Karri Ramo and Joey MacDonald for the Flames’ top job.
3. LW Johnny Gaudreau (19, five foot eight, 153)
This marks the third summer hoedown in Calgary for Gaudreau. Reaction this year to the wee winger’s presence, you would guess, will be the usual. It goes something like this: “Man, is he ever tiny.” Following shortly by: “Man, is he ever good.” Feaster is on record as saying the Boston College dynamo can turn pro — and play NHL games — any time he wants. In the meantime, enterprising general managers continue to inquire about Gaudreau’s availability.
4. G Jon Gillies (19, six foot five, 215)
Snatched out of the third round a year ago, the South Portland, Maine, native went on to shoulder the starter’s job at Providence College — as a freshman. Posting a 2.08 goals-against average and .931 save percentage, Gillies was named the nation’s rookie of the year and second-team all-American. A month ago, assistant general manager John Weisbrod referred to him as, arguably, the “best prospect” in the organization.
5. RW Emile Poirier (18, six foot one, 183)
By all accounts, he skates kind of funny. By all accounts, he skates kind of fast. The 22nd overall selection in New Jersey — many in Calgary would have preferred the Flames grab local boy Hunter Shinkaruk instead — Poirier is a scoring winger. Flames scout Tod Button referred to the QMJHL Gatineau product as a “real hound around the net.” When was the last time the Flames had that type of forward in the lineup? Uh, Gary Roberts?
6. C Mark Jankowski (18, six foot three, 187)
Somewhat lost in the hubbub of the recent draft is the team’s first-round selection from 2012. Granted, Jankowski is a much longer-range prospect than, say, Monahan, but the kid should not be forgotten. As a freshman at Providence College — and one of the youngest skaters in the NCAA — he managed a respectable 18 points in 34 appearances.
7. LW Morgan Klimchuk (18, five foot 11, 180)
Taken 28th overall, the Calgary lad would love to turn into the next Jordan Eberle. Oh, the Flames would love that, too. Klimchuk grew up rooting for the Flames — Oleg Saprykin, in particular — and now stars for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League. Publicly, he says he needs another year — or two — before he’s NHL-ready. But you know he wants to shine this week.
8. C Corban Knight (22, six foot two, 200)
His acquisition cost the Flames a fourth-round pick. A star at the University of North Dakota — and a point-per-game producer in his final three years — the High River native could start in Calgary this season. Knight is the right size and he plays the right position, but does he have enough game to be an NHLer right now? The Flames think so, throwing him the No. 10 sweater.
9. G Laurent Brossoit (20, six foot three, 200)
A well-spent sixth-round pick from 2011, the Surrey, B.C., native is coming off a stellar three-year career (88-34-13) with the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings. Brossoit, no doubt, is ready to embark on the next stage of his hockey career, but, with the likes of Joni Ortio, Berra, Ramo, MacDonald, the organization’s crease is getting rather crowded. But make no mistake — the Flames like him.
10. LW Ken Agostino (21, five foot 11, 195)
Part of the return for Jarome Iginla — with RW Ben Hanowski and draft choice LW Morgan Klimchuk — Agostino was a fifth-round pick in 2010. Since then, however, he’s played three seasons at Yale University, producing 100 points in 101 matches. Unsigned, the Flanders, N.J., native may opt to return for his final year of college eligibility.
FLAMES DEVELOPMENT CAMP SCHEDULE
(All sessions at WinSport’s Ice Complex. Public is welcome.)
* Wednesday — fitness testing at the University of Calgary
* Thursday — on ice 10 a.m., 2 p.m.
* Friday — on ice 10 a.m., 2 p.m.
* Saturday — scrimmage at 10 a.m.
* Sunday — on ice 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m.
* Monday — scrimmage at 10 a.m.
* Tuesday — on ice 9 a.m., 10 a.m.
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