LOWDOWN: A quick recap of Sven Baertschi's 2011-12 campaign: limited to just 47 games with the Portland Winterhawks due to injuries yet still scored 33 goals and 94 points, was named to Team Switzerland's World Junior roster, helped lead the Winterhawks all the way to Game 7 of the WHL Championship series and was the leading scorer in the WHL postseason (14 goals, 34 points). Oh yeah - he was recalled by the Flames on an emergency basis, scoring three goals in his short stint with the team.
The Swiss winger looked right at home during his five-game cup of coffee with the Flames so it is not unrealistic to say he could look like a man amongst boys during camp.
NUMBER WORN AT CAMP: 47
Joni Ortio, TPS-Turku, G
Born: April 16, 1991
Born In: Turku, FIN
Acquired: Drafted in the 6th round in 2009
LOWDOWN: Last year, Joni Ortio was looking to solidify himself as Leland Irving's back-up in Abbotsford but things didn't go as planned. He suited up for just nine games before the organization opted to send him to the Finnish Elite League to get him more playing time and keep his development on course. Heat goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet told CalgaryFlames.com he expects Ortio to come back in the fall with a better understanding of what it takes to play in the AHL and believes he'll be able to earn a roster spot.
Development camp is the start of Ortio's bid to become a regular in the AHL so watch for him to pull out all the stops this week.
NUMBER WORN AT CAMP: 31
Johnny Gaudreau, Boston College, LW
Born: August 13, 1993
Born In: Carney's Point, NJ
GP: 44 G: 21 A: 23 P: 44 PIM: 20
Acquired: Drafted in the 4th round in 2011
LOWDOWN: Johnny Gaudreau's first year at Boston College was a resounding success but given NCAA hockey isn't exactly making the front page of western Canadian newspapers, many fans aren't all that familiar with the diminutive forward. Gaudreau, as a true freshman, recorded 21 goals and 44 points through 44 games and sat second in team scoring, just a point shy of leader Chris Kreider. He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week on multiple occasions, Beanpot tournament MVP and Hockey East Association Player of the Month in October. He was selected for the Hockey East All-Rookie and earned the Bernie Burke Outstanding Freshman award. He capped off the year with a 2012 NCAA title after Boston College topped Ferris State 4-1 in the final. Fans attending development camp will be able to get a good look at Gaudreau's speed and skill and see what he brings to the table.
NUMBER WORN AT CAMP: 53
Ryan Howse, Abbotsford Heat, LW
Born: July 6, 1991
Born In: Chilliwack, BC
GP: 39 G: 6 A: 3 P: 9 PIM: 10
Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round in 2009
LOWDOWN: Ryan Howse's first season in the pro's saw him make drastic changes off the ice that he hopes will lead to a strong sophomore effort this year. Heat head coach Troy Ward sat the forward out for a month and had him work on his conditioning. He completely re-vamped his training regimen and diet before jumping back into the lineup last fall, appearing in 39 games for the Heat. A prolific scorer in junior, Ward worked with Howse on rounding out his game to ensure he didn't become a one-dimensional player and his performance picked up as the season rolled along.
Howse's commitment to his development over the last year has him coming into camp looking like an entirely different person. With the Abbotsford coaching staff and Flames hockey operations members watching, he'll want to show them how his hard work has paid off.
NUMBER WORN AT CAMP: 64
Frank Vatrano, USA U-18, LW
Born: March 14, 1994
Born In: East Longmeadow, MA
GP: 24 G: 7 A: 11 P: 18 PIM:8
Acquired: On an amateur try-out agreement
LOWDOWN: Frank Vatrano went undrafted in Pittsburgh last month but the winger obviously caught one of the Flames scouts eyes this season with his bullish play and deadly shot. Vatrano's NTDP coach Danton Cole told the New England Hockey journal he has "an NHL-level shot," and praised his unwavering work ethic. Standing 5-foot-10 and weighing 215 lbs, Vatrano uses his frame very well and won't hesitate to lay a hit.
Vatrano is headed to Boston College next year to play with Gaudreau so it will be interesting to watch the two play alongside each other. His former teammate Patrick Sieloff is also skating in the same group. NUMBER WORN AT CAMP: 58