CALGARY, AB -- In the summer of 2011, Turner Elson absolutely willed his way to an NHL deal. The undrafted forward was invited to the Flames development camp, turned heads with his passionate, gritty play, showcased those traits once more at the Flames fall training camp and ended up with an entry-level deal for his efforts.
That determination is also held by his younger brother, Trace, and the draft-eligible forward is hoping his dedication and steadfast play catches NHL teams eyes during the 2012-13 season.
"I'm really looking forward to the season," the 17 year-old grinned. "I had a good summer of training and I'm feeling really good heading into the year."
While the idea that scouts are watching him closely this season has crept into his mind, Elson is trying to push those thoughts aside and simply take the campaign one game at a time.
"If I think about that too much, it will be a big distraction. I just have to focus on my game and things will work themselves out from there."
While his older brother is known as a checking forward, Elson says his game differs from Turner's. While he does play a solid two-way game, he sees himself more a playmaker who can agitate his opponents into taking an undisciplined penalty.
"My greatest strength, I think, is my ability to make tape-to-tape passes," he said. "I am an energy guy and a good offensive player ... I can create plays, make good passes.
"I think I make smart plays in the defensive zone too."
While Elson did attend the 2011 Red Deer training camp, he ultimately spent the bulk of his 2011-12 season with the Midget AAA St. Albert Raiders of the AMHL, scoring 15 goals and 35 points in 28 games.
"Last year was really good," Elson said of his time with the Raiders. "I want to build off that this year."
The Rebels roster was hit hard with injuries last year and Elson's performance in St. Albert earned him a five-game stint with the team. He picked up his first point in the WHL during his time in Red Deer, assisting on John Persson's goal against the Saskatoon Blades on Feb. 25.
"It was a great experience," he stated. "I learned a lot during that time. I think it really helped my development."
He was invited to the Rebels 2012 training camp, amassing three points (two goals, one assist) in four pre-season tilts, but was assigned to the Whitecourt Wolverines of the AJHL where he is expected to be