Teams can’t put too much stock into rookie tournaments such as the one the Flames recently participated in, but they do provide a good opportunity to look at some of the up-and-comers and gauge their potential.
This year the Flames played in a four-team, all-Canadian tournament in British Columbia against the Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. They went 2-1 with victories coming against Winnipeg and Vancouver, in which the team scored a combined 12 goals.
In this time teams get to see what their rookies can do, which, in the case of Calgary, meant getting a look at Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett.
Bennett had a goal and an assist in the first game against Edmonton, but didn’t record a point in either of the following two games. Gaudreau, meanwhile, also had a two-point game against the Oilers as well as a goal against the Jets. Both players didn’t play the final game in its entirety due to injuries, but practiced the following day, so there doesn’t appear to be any concern with injury.
But while the former two stole the show before the puck was dropped, they weren’t the only ones to keep an eye on by the finale of the tournament. Three players in particular stood out on the scoresheet by the end of the tournament:
- One of those players was Markus Granlund – the 21-year-old brother of Minnesota Wild forward Michael – who had two goals and four points in two games. Last season with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL Granlund put up 46 points in 52 games, and then finished his season in Calgary where he had three points in seven games. He may need some more seasoning in the AHL, but it shouldn’t be too much longer before we see him as a main stay in the NHL.
- Another player who – perhaps surprisingly – had an impressive showing at the tournament was Michael Ferland who scored four goals and totalled six points in three games. The 22-year-old left-winger, like Granlund, spent last year in the AHL (though he only played 25 games). He hasn’t played over 30 games since suiting up 68 times for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2011-12 season so health is a bit of a concern. As a result his point production hasn’t been nearly what it once was. A clean bill of health could make all the difference for him this season.
- One final player who had success on the score sheet was Josh Jooris, the 24-year-old centre. Last year was his first in the AHL with the Heat after spending three years at Union College where he averaged around 29 points per season. Jorris’ offense took a hit after the move to the minors – as evidence by his 27 points in 73 games – so he’ll be looking to rebound in 2014, which, hopefully for him, could be aided by a confidence boost from his tournament performance.