Well, we’ve finally made it. Sort of. We’re into September and hockey is starting up again with rookie camps underway. The Calgary Flames will be starting off their camp by having their young guns take on the Edmonton Oilers young guns in Red Deer tonight. The game is at 7:00 PM and will be streamed on the Flames Website, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook. The two young gun squads will meet up in Calgary on Tuesday night as well.
There’s not a ton to say heading into the game, other than it will be an opportunity for some youngsters to make an impact before the veterans report next week. Here are five player I’ll be watching during tonight’s game:
The Flames brought in the young netminder from Russia after he had a solid season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL. He’s 24 years old and this season will be his first real taste of North American hockey. Zagidulin projects to split time in the AHL this year and has followed a similar career tract to that of David Rittich. It sounds like Zagidulin will be getting the start tonight and I’m looking forward to see how he does.
I felt like I should include at least one defenseman in this article even though there won’t be a single Flames draft pick defenseman suiting up for them tonight. Nielsen was acquired last year in the trade that sent Morgan Klimchuk to Toronto. Nielsen had 4 assists in 29 games for the Heat and figures to be in a depth role in Stockton for most of the year. The reason I include him in this is that he’ll be playing in his home town of Red Deer while wearing NHL silks tonight which should be a thrill for the 22 year old.
I’ve been a Zavgorodniy fan since the Flames drafted him when they were able to grab him in the 7th round. The undersized Russian winger had a good season with the Rimouski Oceanic last year, putting up 64 points in 67 games along with eight points in the playoffs. Zavgorodniy had a good showing in last year’s rookie games and looks to improve on that with another strong showing this year. He’s still a long term project, but you can’t argue that the skill is there.
Pospisil had a strong showing last year with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL, posting 63 points in 44 games, and cutting his PIM total down to 118 from 253 the year before. Pospisil is a fiery player who is starting to make some headway in the organization after a good development camp this summer. He’ll likely be playing for Stockton this year, so expect to hear about the Slovak more often.
I can’t say I watched a lot of Moncton Wildcat games last year, in fact I didn’t watch any. I’ve seen some glimpses of Pelletier’s highlights and am excited now to watch him in regular game action. While it’s unlikely he’ll be around for much more than the rookie games and a few preseason games, he’s an exciting prospect to watch as most first round picks usually are. Pelletier had 89 points in 65 games with Moncton last year and looks to start this year off right with a good rookie camp showing.