CALGARY, AB -- It didn’t take long for Tyson Baillie to wipe away the disappointment of not being taken in the NHL Draft for a second straight year.
Ten minutes, in fact.
And a phone call with scout Rob Sumner, which yielded an invite to participate in Calgary Flames development camp for the Kelowna Rockets standout.
“I was with my buddy at his condo in Kelowna,” said Baillie, recounting a disappointing draft day -- his second in as many years. “We were just hanging out and was watching the draft and saw I didn’t go.
“Honestly, 10 minutes after the draft they called me and asked me if I wanted to come to development camp. They called me directly.”
Baillie was one of 10 forwards and 18 players overall to earn a free-agent invite to development camp.
The 19-year-old did so on the strength of a strong 2014-15 season that saw him record 37 goals and 76 points in 68 regular season games with Kelowna. He added 10 goals and 24 points in 19 games in the Western Hockey League playoffs with the Ed Chynoweth Cup-winning Rockets, and one goal and six points in five games at the Memorial Cup.
Despite the season, Baillie wasn’t one of the 211 players selected at the draft.
“I wasn’t too surprised because I didn’t talk to many teams before the draft, like the year before where I talked a little bit more,” said the Fort Saskatchewan, AB native who participated last September in a camp with the San Jose Sharks. “This year, I knew I wanted to have a good summer and focus on my speed and come back to Kelowna and have a great year.”
With the chance to showcase his wares in front of the Flames earlier this month, Baillie might have to adjust the thinking a little bit.
“It feels great that Calgary showed interest right away,” he said. “It’s just like the same step as the guys getting drafted. I come to development camp and then go to the prospect camp. We’re all working for that contract.
“There’s no pressure. I don’t think I’ve got anything to lose. I’m just going to go out there and work as hard as I can and prove to them I can play at the next level, do the little things they ask me to and continue to develop my game.”
He did that enough to earn another look.
Baillie will be amongst Calgary’s youth heading to Penticton in September to compete in the annual YoungStars Tournament from September 11-14th.
“He’s a kid that we’ll be bringing to Penticton,” confirmed Flames general manager Brad Treliving following development camp.
“We call him Pig Pen. Everything may not look great," when you first see Baillie. “But it just ends up that he does a lot of things that impact a game. He's around the net. He's making plays. He was an interesting guy.”
Interesting enough to take another look at.
Interesting enough to see if he can take a stab at earning a contract.
And that has Baillie interested, too.
“They don’t care if you’re a first rounder or not drafted,” he started, “as long as you work hard and compete and continue to improve that’s what they care about here.”
“I think I can do that here.”