You have been asking for how long? Well….so have I too!
Well we all finally got official news from GM Brad Pascall of some terrific signings over the past week including five forwards and a young defenseman who will add to the list of Calgary Flames prospects who in a matter of days will begin the battle to stay with the big club.
Couple house keeping items before we get into it though.
The Penticton Young Stars Classic is just days away, kicking off on Friday, September 16 with the Flames playing the Winnipeg Jets to start rookie camp. Rookie Camp will then secede to NHL Training Camp and we will then start to see cuts made that will filter guys down here to Stockton with our own training camp starting at the end of this month.
I won’t be in Penticton for the tournament this time since I’ll be heading back to Ohio for the final wedding of my wedding season, my sister’s. Certainly I’ll hope to get there next year but we’ll definitely be paying close attention to our games, but as always, follow along on the Calgary Flames site, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
There will be an announcement coming soon with major promotional dates announced, details for the preseason game and Fan Fest, individual ticket sale date later this month and maybe a few surprises along the way! 🙂
But let’s dive in to…as I always refer to it… the meat and potatoes of this blog…our new players!
In alphabetical order:
Mike Angelidis – Center – 31-years-old
Someone I’m a little familiar with actually! Why? Because I witnessed his first even NHL game while interning for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Why do I remember it so vividly? Because on his second ever NHL shift he did this:
Kid’s that’s why we ALWAYS shoot toward the net. They don’t always have to look the prettiest. They all count the same.
That season, Angelidis spent six games with the Lightning. He was easy to get along with and talk to, extremely nice, and was well liked and respected by not just the dressing room but by the Lightning brass.
In fact, he was so well respected that they felt it was time to give Mike a better chance to succeed elsewhere because he had been in the Tampa system since the 2010-11 season! He had been the Syracuse Crunch captain ever since the Lightning moved their affiliate from Norfolk in 2012-13 and had been on the leadership group in six of his seven seasons with the Lightning’s AHL team.
When you look at his numbers, he may not necessarily wow you with huge point totals, although he’s just one season removed from tying a career AHL high in goals with 20 and points with 38. However, he’s been fairly consistent in point production during his career, putting up 25 or more points in the AHL in six of his nine full seasons in the league.
Last year he had a career low of 15 points, but one would expect with a new challenge on the horizon that Angelidis, I’d expect him to surpass that. He’s going to be a leader on and off the ice and I can assure you that the former Calder Cup winner and Canadian Hockey League Humanitarian of the Year award winner will be a fan favorite for his work ethic, his approachability and his performance on the ice.
Plus he’s not afraid to drop the gloves either!
I’m predicting he’ll succeed Aaron Johnson as the captain of the Heat this season.
Matt Bailey – Center/Right Wing – 25-years-old
First former Pacific Division rival to move from another California team to Stockton! Matt Bailey isn’t just a talented player, but a smart one too. How do I know, besides seeing him play in 11 of the 12 meetings between his former team in San Diego and the Heat last year, a guy from Manitoba who’s played in Anchorage knows to stick where it’s warmest!!
I kid, but Bailey is a hard working guy. He’s another who hasn’t produced a ton of points at the AHL level, but seeing him play tells a different story of what he can do for the Heat. Just as Turner Elson did last year, Bailey is a guy who can play in any situation. He’s quick, he’s gritty and he was tied with eight players for the fifth most points against Stockton last year with four and scored on 13.3% of his 15 shots against the Heat.
Establishing career highs in assists (13), points (19), plus/minus (14) and tying his career high in goals (6) will be marks that Bailey will look to eclipse those marks this year.
In fact, those numbers would’ve probably been better if it weren’t for this awful hit by Ontario’s Kurtis MacDermid that cost MacDermid 12-games and cost Bailey a fractured jaw (by the way, what a coincidence is this? Our resident fractured jaw player, Derek Grant, fought twice all year last year and one was against Bailey. Both had healthy jaws at the time).
Another interesting connection with Bailey is with former Stockton Thunder coach Matt Thomas, who coached Bailey during his first season with the University of Alaska-Anchorage in 2013-14 when Bailey was the captain of the club and averaged a point-per-game. Guess we’ll have to check in with Tito on what we could expect from the new Heat forward.
My prediction is that Bailey fills a role similar to Turner Elson. We’ll see him on the PK a lot and we’ll see him continue to trend upward and surpass his AHL-high of 19 points this season.
Jamie Devane – Left Wing – 25-years-old
A player with some connections to our President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke. While Burke was serving as the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he drafted rugged winger Jamie Devane in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft #68 overall.
Rather than type…let’s just roll the film…
Mind you Dan Maggio was the one who got the better of Brian McGrattan in a fight last year as well, so not a pushover fight for Devane.
He played a pro career high of 62 games last season with the Milwaukee Admirals after Nashville acquired him last summer and established a career high in goals (6) and points (11).
Another Stockton connection too as Devane played 11 games with the former ECHL club in the Bay, the San Francisco Bulls, and while he scored his only ECHL goal against the Utah Grizzlies, he did get in one fight in his one game against the Stockton Thunder when he and Cameron Abney fought late in the first period.
In case you were wondering…the Thunder did win that game 6-4 thanks to a Toni Rajala hat trick. Abney may have lost that fight but did have the insurance marker late in the third to keep the good guys ahead.
However watching that fight against Abney and against Maggio should make you fight fans excited for what we could see this year!
I predict that Devane will fight more frequently than our last heavyweight did (Let’s face it….the name Colton Orr strikes fear into would be opponents…) which will of course endear him to many of you. I also think he’ll be right around the 10-18 point mark this season and will be a boost to the big guys like Hunter Smith and Austin Carroll. It never hurts to have a guy with a couple show games on his resume on the squad.
Roman Dyukov – Defenseman – 20-years-old
The lone defenseman of the group is entering his first season in North America as the young and mostly unknown Roman Dyukov will be in the mix for the Heat this season. While he may be unknown to us in North America, he’s made some waves over in Europe, playing junior and pro games in his homeland of Belarus.
Quick geography question…where is Belarus? If you aren’t sure, it borders Russia to the east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Going off the top of my head, I think the most famous Belarussian NHL players are probably the Kostitsyn brothers and after looking it up I’d have been somewhat correct but somewhat wrong as well as Ruslan Salei and Mikhail Grabovski have spent more time in the NHL. If you’re not too familiar with these names, Grabovski still plays for the New York Islanders while Salei sadly passed away as one of the victims of the Lokomotiv plane crash in Russia.
Back to the point though of looking at what we can expect from Dyukov. Judging by his stats, you can assume he’s more of a defensive defenseman as his career high of 8 points in 32 games helped his Belarussian pro team, Yunost Minsk, to a Belarussian Championship last season.
He did play for the Belarus national team during the World Championships last year and has played for Belarus’s junior team.
He was a late invite to development camp earlier this summer by the Flames and did enough to impress the staff to earn himself his first North American pro contract with the Heat this season.
And while he may be relatively unknown to us and will be hard to predict until we see him in action, having been drafted by a Kontinental Hockey League team (Russian pro league) and being of a defense-first mindset, could really be complimentary to our club here. With players with more offensive upside like Kylington, Morrison, Culkin and Andersson likely to be with the Heat to start the season, having a player of that ilk is nice to have to pair alongside one of those players.
I predict that Dyukov will have to turn heads initially to keep up here to start. With Kylington, Morrison, Culkin, Andersson, Kanzig and the potential to have Kulak or Wotherspoon to start could shift Dyukov down to Adirondack. Obviously if one of the above players make the Flames out of camp it keeps us at seven which is probably what we’ll want to be at, at the very least. We’ve seen how some of the players from Europe have needed to adjust to the less space they’ll have to work with in North American game, but if Dyukov can play things simple and pair well with one of the more offensive minded defenseman on the team, he’ll be just fine. Remember though, Oliver Kylington adjusted just fine early on and someone like Andersson has had a few years in the OHL to get used to the ice. They can do it, and so can Roman.
I also predict he’ll be my second favorite name to say this year behind Andrew Mangiapane!
Matt Frattin – Right Wing/Left Wing – 28-years-old
Matt Frattin is this year’s Derek Grant, except that Frattin had a far more established track record in the NHL than Grant did prior to last year.
In 135 NHL games with the Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets and Kings, Frattin has 35 points to tag along with 117 AHL points in 174 games all with the Toronto Marlies. A standout NCAA player at the University of North Dakota who missed out to Miami Redhawk Andy Miele, but was narrowed down to one of the top three players in the NCAA along with Cam Atkinson who now suites up for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
After some solid seasons where he split some time with both clubs in Toronto (Leafs and Marlies), the Maple Leafs traded Frattin, goaltender Ben Scrivens (who played for Bako in the outdoor game last season) and a conditional second for promising Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Bernier. The marriage with Frattin and LA didn’t last too long and he was shipped to Columbus along with a couple picks for Marian Gaborik.
He’s spent most of his last two seasons in the AHL but produced despite a more limited role with big Leafs prospects like William Nylander eating up would-be minutes. He was then included in that big nine-player deal that saw Dion Phaneuf go from Toronto to Ottawa last season but Frattin would be loaned back to the Marlies for the remainder of the season.
Make that three big trades that Frattin was a part of.
Frattin very much is still an NHL caliber player, and as we saw last year in the case of Derek Grant, sometimes it’s opportunity that a player needs the most. As this year will be his first time not on an NHL contract, it makes this year very important for Frattin, especially if he still invisions himself at the NHL level, be it in Calgary or elsewhere.
And while there are many better Frattin goal video’s out there…I like this one with a little bonus goal from retired Heat forward Colton Orr…his last in the NHL.
Unlike Grant though, since he is on an AHL deal, Frattin cannot be called up to the NHL unless he were to sign a deal with the Flames at some point.
Fans, this could be great news for you and I because I predict that Frattin will be a top-six winger on the Heat. He will find himself at nearly a point-per-game and will open up opportunities for himself be it with the Flames, another NHL club, or a top European side. He’ll be a great asset to have in the dressing room, surrounded by the likes of Calgary up and coming stars who will look to him for advice on how to get to the show.
While some may think he’s easily cast aside being involved in so many blockbuster trades in his short pro career, I’d say that it means more that he WAS included in said trades because it shows that he was a valued commodity. I’m very excited for Frattin to arrive this season and I think fans will be pleasantly surprised at the type of two-way game he can play.
Ryan Lomberg – Left Wing – 21-years-old
And the funniest part about the signings was that when they were announced, it was the Heat’s own second-year pro who drew the biggest reaction among even some of the more seasoned players with NHL experience on their resumes.
Lomberg was well liked here. Maybe it’s because he shares an uncanny look to one of Stockton’s favorite adopted sons in Ryan Constant (and I mean uncanny…are you guys brothers?)
I can’t say I blame Heat fans though for being excited.
A year ago next weekend, I, along with the Flames, fell in love with Lomberg’s game in Penticton. He was noticeably one of the stars of Penticton, with his incredible north-south speed, his feistiness, and his offense.
And at 5’9″, it’s hard to be rough and tough (however he did admit to me playing on a line with the aforementioned Colton Orr made him feel a bit bigger on the ice) when you’re one of the smaller guys out there but he was gutsy. He was what we in Stockton have come to know, love and appreciate thanks to so many undersized Thunder forwards with a similar skill-set (Matt Bergland and Garet Hunt come to mind immediately).
He’s still looking for his first goal in a Heat sweater but he had 18 of them in Adirondack last season in 43 games, and I certainly hope we’ll be seeing him more around these parts this season. However he does share the team record with Hunter Smith for the most PIMS in a single game with 22. Smith is 10 inches taller and both players had two fights, a minor and a game.
I predict just that, as his 15 games in the AHL last season will be much higher this year. Depending on how the roster shakes up in Calgary, I’d also love to see Lomberg in a bigger role to see what he can do. He got that job for a couple games last season, but entering his second pro year, I think Lomberg can make the jump to being a player who, like a Garnet Hathaway before him, can play himself into an NHL contract.
So there you have it. Six new faces, six new stories, and six new predictions. All of this just makes me excited for the season to come!
And remember when I said we had a surprise announcement coming up later this month? Well I’m not going to give it away yet but it does involve the fun we will have at Heat games. Thanks to our product on the ice and our new Game Operations Director Casey Rusnak, I’m beginning to feel that this season may be the best yet for our entertainment yet!
Stay tuned Heat fans!!!
And one media guide useless fact of the day I want to share.
Remember back to 2006 when Nathan Martz scored the first Teddy Bear Toss goal in Stockton Hockey history for the Thunder. Now remember to this past January when Kenny Agostino scored the most recent.
Did you know that both Agostino and Martz were drafted in the EXACT SAME POSITION? Call it a crazy coincidence but both were drafted in the fifth round, 160th overall, Martz by the New York Rangers and Agostino by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
I’m closing out all of my blog posts with a jersey or logo in the sports world. I love sports jerseys (I collect them) and I love logos and what goes into making a brand.
Putting this one in finally for the wife.
Rachel’s lone wish right now for Christmas is a Calgary Inferno jersey and I’m not going to blame her at all.
Not only do we know someone who plays for the team (former Thunder coach Rich Kromm’s daughter Erica). Not only did they win a Canadian Women’s Hockey League Championship last year (Clarkson Cup) but they also have a partnership with our parent club in Calgary! They’re like our sister club!!
But they have a great logo. It’s certainly reminiscent of the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights logo, which used to be the home of Flames Captain Mark Giordano during his AHL years.
Everything about this logo is great. It’s a great name, the flame’s logo hidden in the background as her hair and her mysterious face (almost reminds you of the Calgary Hitmen jersey as well) is very clever. Combine that with the hidden province of Alberta in the “O” of “Inferno” and you have yourself not only a great logo, but the best logo in Women’s Hockey (which isn’t saying all that much when you see the competition. Come on….just brutal.)
However this one stands out above the rest but I also think looks great when compared to other hockey leagues as well.
Now to call the Inferno and see about international shipping charges to California….
Brandon Kisker is the Heat’s Director of Broadcast & Media Relations and will be entering his fourth season as a broadcaster in Stockton and second for the Heat. He yells a lot when excited, but that yelling is genuine, and typically fist pumps when goals are scored or big saves are made. He thinks Rick Jenerette is really top shelf…..and that is where mama hides the cookies. He
learned this week has known for a long time that he’s terrible at golf, but Wednesday’s showing with the Hockey Ops Staff was truly a sight to be seen and not in a good way. He will be getting an iPhone 7 and is more excited to get and use wireless headphones on the bus than using the actual device itself. Follow him on Twitter @kiskerbc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.