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A realistic approach to following Calgary's upcoming prospect camp

September 14, 2021, 1:33 PM ET [118 Comments]
John Gove
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Calgary's 2021 Prospects' training camp begins tomorrow, as the Flames plan to host 27 young players hoping to make a lasting impression on the franchise.

Rookie/prospect camps are an interesting part of the hockey calendar. After months without hockey, it is the first sign that the NHL's regular season is on the horizon. With so many hockey-starved folks paying close attention, the happenings at each franchise's camp tend to get blown a bit out of proportion. Those in desperate need of a story do their best to dig up one, occasionally painting a picture that does not exist.

Throughout the event, one can find countless content suggesting that a young prospect is making a case for the NHL roster, possibly creating an unexpected roster battle. More often than not, these instances are exaggerated.

In reality, most NHL front offices have a pretty good idea who will make the opening night roster for their squad. Yes, surprises occur; however, these are more of a rarity than one might expect. Typically, each team has one to three prospects they are keeping a close eye on during the various camps and preseason. For the rest, it is just an opportunity to bring them all together to train and practice before they set off to their respective teams in various leagues.

In Calgary's case, there will certainly be a few prospects to keep tabs on. However, the recent veteran signings make it unlikely that any of them will truly contend for a roster spot at least to start the season.

Of course, the names at the top of the list include 2019 first-round pick Jakob Pelletier and 2020 first-round pick Connor Zary. Both are set to embark on their first professional season, and could make an immediate impact in the AHL for Stockton. Unfortunately, the chances of them cracking the NHL roster are slim-to-none. There are just too many veteran pieces inhabiting roster spots for it to happen unless they absolutely amaze everyone during training camp and preseason.

Another player destined for Stockton is goaltender Dustin Wolf. He will be worth keeping tabs on during camp but the main focus for him will be how he progresses through his first year in the AHL.

In truth, this camp might provide a better picture of what the Stockton Heat will look like more than anything else. There are a lot of promising players that could prove to be key pieces to Calgary's future, especially if the organization kicks things into rebuild mode after this season.

Allowing yourself to get excited for the start of rookie camp is important. Whether you are a prospect person or not, it is a sign that hockey is almost back. At the same time, it is important to keep a level head throughout the event, as well as NHL training camp and preseason. Pleasant surprises are always great stories. Unfortunately, it is unlikely there are any in the cards for Calgary this time around.
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