The Calgary Flames have wrapped up their rookies camp monday finishing the 3rd of three games in the Penticton Young Stars Classic. Though the results really are not what matters to coaches, the focus was more on how players performed. From the obvious high profile players like Mark Jankowski and Spencer Foo to lesser known guys like Zach Fischer and Brad Morrison, everyone was being carefully examined.
Game one was the highly anticipated battle of alberta, prospect edition. A sloppy start to the game before the Flames took control on a second period goal from 2017 first round pick, Juuso Valamaki. However, that really was the only highlight for Flames fans. Afterwards, the team exchanged goals for a 2-1 Flames lead end at the of 2. Then, well, the wheels fell off and the Flames found themselves chasing the game for the most part as the hated rivals from Edmonton potted 3 straight and took the game 4-2. Not the start the team wanted. The overall performance was said to be average with a few standouts. Goalie Tyler Parsons, Center Mark Jankowski and Juuso Valimaki were noted to have been the top Flames players on this night. Despite giving up 4 goals, Parsons was solid and steady, while Jankowski and Valimaki (who both scored) seem to have been split amongst fans for the best player.
Game two. Cue hated rival number two, the host, Vancouver Canucks. This game never seemed to be in doubt from the start as the Flames grabbed a 2-0 lead. Although, they let that lead slip in the second period, but a quick third goal from Adam Ruzicka gave the Flames a 3-2 lead and they never looked back. Spencer Foo was the highlight player with 2 goals as his second goal made it 4-2 before Brett Pollock added a pair, which capped off a 6-2 Flames win. With such a lopsided score line it is hard to pick just a couple standouts. Foo and Pollock with two goals each made the choice a little easier. Foo showing off his skill had fans very excited. This was a great team win.
The final game against the Winnipeg Jets was one I missed, so I am going off what I was told and read from others. Being a game played in the morning this line was a little odd, but nonetheless, it is a rookie camp so cannot expect prime time. With another fast start putting the Flames up 1-0, thanks to Dillion Dube, it seemed to go down hill from there. The longer the game went the better the Jets were and the Flames seemed to be unable to elevate their game to match. At one point the shots were a ridiculous 33-8, which would tell the story right there. Not the way u want to end a rookie tourney. A 4-1 loss and not much to show from it.
So there we go. Rookie camp is done and three completely different results and games to show for it. What does that mean? Well, for the obvious, the bigger name stars are off to the main training camp in Calgary, which opens later in the week. Others will hope to get an invite. Some will return to junior clubs, while the others will be left in the dark having to search for an opportunity.
What we learned is the Flames have some nice pieces on the way with Parson, Jankowski, Foo and Valimaki. Flames also have some good prospects that will still need some development and work. With the main camp set to open in a few days, we will see which Flames rookies made strong enough impressions to join the big club.