Iti is almost that time! Just over two weeks to go until we have hockey back. September 8th, 2017 the prospect and rookie camp invites take the ice of the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C. The four-team, round-robin tournament features prospects from the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks. For the 7th straight season these players will try and impress the coaches, general managers and executives of the Calgary Flames to try to prove their worth.
The players invited are a mix of past draft picks, junior players and free agents. All with one goal in mind: To get noticed. They will be going against three other teams’ prospects and rookies so the competition will be high, which is good for us itching to watch the beautiful game.
So who? Who got the invite to join the team in B.C.? Let us take a look at those most likely to attend (please note the eligibility requirements for a player to attend is that they have fewer than 100 pro games).
Goaltenders: Jon Gillies, Tyler Parson, Mason MacDonald and Nick Schneider
All eyes will be on this goaltending battle as Flames’ fans are jonesing to see who will be the next Flames puck stopper. Seems to be a split between Gillies and Parsons for that honor and I doubt that changes in this short tourney. Nonetheless, it will be fun to watch.
Defensemen: Rasmus Andersson, Kayle Doetzel, Josh Healey, Adam Ollas Mattsson and Juuso Valimaki.
Most fans have seen these guy play and all are exciting to watch. They bring great hope for the Flames’ blueline. The most interesting player for me is Valimaki. The Flames’ top draft choice in June will get a long look from the Flames brass and every chance to show what he has. With Andersson’s huge potential and some Flames fans penciling him onto the Flames roster already, a lot of eyes and pressure will be on this young man. We shall see how he responds. There is a lot of room for tryout D-men.
Forwards: Mark Jankowski, Spencer Foo, Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Brett Pollock, Hunter Smith, Austin Carroll, Matthew Phillips, Adam Ruzicka, Zach Fischer and D’Artagnan Joly.
What a fun list this is. Never before have I been more excited about a forward group. Chock full of skill, speed and potential. Jankowski is the most notable name here. He was the Flames top pick in 2012. This would be his last chance at the tourney, with an eye on making the Flames opening day roster. I expect big things from the centerman. I think Spencer Foo has the most excitement around him going into the annual fall tourney. He signed this past summer as a college free agent. He has Flames’ fans behind him when he chose Calgary over the rivals from the north in Edmonton. This will be the first chance for many to see him in action. Dube and Mangiapane are also high on my list for players to watch. Both are small forwards, but have incredible speed and skill sets that will make for some fun, fast pace hockey to watch. High end potential and skill in this group should get the fan base excited.
This is not the official list, but it is more than likely these players will attend. This also would not fill the full roster that opens the door for some try-outs. Like last year the Flames love the tryouts, which credits internal competition. It is unclear of who, if anyone, has been invited on a tryout, but we can speculate on a few based on guys that attended the Flames development camp earlier in the summer.
That would include: D Sam Ruopp, F Brad Morrison, F Mark Rassell, F Glenn Gawdin (all from the WHL) F Ben Hawerchuk (OHL) and F Samuel Dove-McFalls (QMJHL). It would be expected to see some more defensemen added to this list.
It is also worthy to note a few key guys for various reason that will not be at Pentiction this season, like fan favorite Matthew Tkachuk who broke onto the scene last season as a rookie and established himself as a regular on the Flames’ roster. Past attendees Daniel Pribyl and David Rittch have played too many pro games and are no longer eligible. Highly touted Flames prospect D Adam Fox is off to the college circuit as is F Mitchell Mattson. With European season under way at the time, forwards Pavel Karnaukhov, Linus Lindstrom, Eetu Tuulola and Filip Sveningsson will be unavailable to attend.
So mark your calendars and get set Flames and hockey fans, we are just 18 days away from the puck drop. Below is the schedule of the games. I, for one, cannot wait.
GAME TEAMS DATE TIME
Game 1 Edmonton vs. Calgary Sept. 8 4:00pm
Game 2 Vancouver vs. Winnipeg Sept. 8 7:30pm
Game 3 Winnipeg vs. Edmonton Sept. 9 7:30pm
Game 4 Calgary vs. Vancouver Sept. 10 2:00pm
Game 5 Winnipeg vs. Calgary Sept. 11 10:30am
Game 6 Vancouver vs. Edmonton Sept. 11 2:00pm