THE CAGE MATCH
The goaltending scene at training camp will feature a familiar face in Leland Irving and two veterans battling it out for the starting position in Abbotsford. Danny Taylor, who played 33 games for the Heat last year, and Barry Brust have both had success in the league and could give Irving his greatest AHL camp competition in his career.
CALGARYFLAMES.COM 3 PLAYERS TO WATCH:
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2011-12: ABBOTSFORD HEAT
GP: 33 | MIN: 1815 | GAA: 2.21
SV%: .927 | SO: 5
DANNY TAYLOR - The AHL veteran was brought in by the Heat in the 2011-12 season to provide them with a solid back-up option but his performance throughout the year has turned more than a few heads.
Taylor's season started with the Springfield Falcons but after Allen York was assigned to the club, the team let him go. The Heat quickly signed the Plymouth, ENG native and the timing ended up being perfect. Henrik Karlsson suffered a knee injury in December and Leland Irving was summoned by the Flames. Taylor took over the netminding reins and was impressive right from the start.
His first game and victory in Heat silks came on Dec. 4, 2011 against the Chicago Wolves, making 25 saves on route to a 3-1 victory. He made In his first start in Abbotsford, he recorded a shutout - one of the five he picked up last year. He ended up with a 17-10-5 record in the regular season with his GAA sitting at 2.21 and his save percentage at .927.
Irving battled consistency issues late in the year and head coach Troy Ward leaned on Taylor heavily in the Calder Cup playoffs. He suited up for seven games in the postseason, going 4-3-0 with a 2.26 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
Taylor signed a one-year AHL contract with the Heat in July.
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2011-12: STRAUBING TIGERS
GP: 33 | MIN: 1965 | GAA: 2.47
SV%: .916 | SO: 1
BARRY BRUST - Looking for another veteran to carry some of the load in net, the Heat signed 29 year-old Barry Brust to a one-year AHL contract in August.
The well-traveled Brust has been quite successful in the AHL, winning the Calder Cup with the Binghamton Senators in 2010-11. That year, he went 29-19-3 in the regular season while amassing a 2.53 GAA and a .925 save percentage.
The netminder was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the third round (73rd overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft. In addition to his time in Binghamton, Brust has spent time with the Reading Royals (ECHL), Florida Everblades (ECHL), Manchester Monarchs (AHL), Houston Aeros (AHL), and the Los Angeles Kings (NHL).
Most recently, Brust played in the German Ice Hockey League (DEL) with the Straubing Tigers, earning a 19-12-0 record with a 2.47 GAA and a .916 save percentage.
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2011-12: ABBOTSFORD HEAT
GP: 39 | MIN: 2177 | GAA: 2.67
SV%: .902 | SO: 3
LELAND IRVING - Leland Irving was a late addition to the training camp roster, signing a professional tryout agreement with the team earlier in the week.
The Heat have leaned on Irving in net for several seasons with his strongest play coming in the 2010-11 season. He led the AHL in minutes played (3437) and shutouts (8) while posting a 39-24-2 record.
The Swan Hills, AB native had a breakout year in the 2011-12 season, getting his first taste of the NHL. He played seven games with the Flames, picking up points in four of those outings, and earned his first victory on Dec. 23, 2011 against the Vancouver Canucks.
However, the downside to that development came in the form of consistency. The back-and-forth between the NHL and AHL took it's toll. Irving's inconsistency late in the season cost him some games, with Taylor taking over, and he'll want to establish himself as the go-to guy in net right off the bat in camp.