It feels like hockey season has started with the Young Stars tournament beginning. For those that aren't aware, this tournament features the best prospects for the Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, and The Vancouver Canucks. These young players are fighting to show what they may bring to their management to prove they belong in the 'Big Show'. After two games, the Young Flames are one win, one loss. They beat the Jets in the opener and then lost to the Oilers in a mini ‘Battle for Alberta’ nail biter.
What were the highlights for the Flames? Well, they have some exciting players that may or may not be ready. Certain names kept popping up - Arnold, Van Brabant, Agostino, Magiapane and Bennett come to mind. It seemed these players were always on the ice as I listened to the game. Is that some announcer's bias to call out these guys. I don't think so. They were the ones that seemed to be controlling the play and pushing forward.
Who else? Poirier, Lomberg, Gillies and McDonald are names you could see during the NHL regular season at some point. Did the first two games mean anything? I think they showed that the Flames have more depth than they have for years with players who are not only close to achieving their dreams, but players who are able to push the Flames regular roster to bigger heights. As well, it showed a team whose system is working. These young players are already well acquainted with a passing system and defensive program that will help them step into roles with the big club if needed.
PS - Watch the Jets this year for young Lemiuex, the son of former NHLer Claude Lemiuex. He too, seemed to be everywhere all of the time.