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Five Players To Watch: Aaron Vickers

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

Aaron Vickers has highlighted five Calgary Flames' prospects to keep an eye on at the 2016 Young Stars Classic, being held in Penticton, BC this weekend.

All Flames games will be streamed on and the Flames' app. Calgary plays the Winnipeg Jets on Friday at 5:00 PM MT, the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at 8:30 PM MT and the Vancouver Canucks on Monday at 4:00 PM MT.


Though he’s just 18, forward Matthew Tkachuk has accomplished a lot in his short career. The sixth overall selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, Tkachuk scored 30 goals and 107 points in his rookie season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. He added 20 goals and 40 points en route to helping London to a J. Ross Robertson Cup title as OHL champions, and had five goals and eight points -- including the overtime winner in the final against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies -- to lift London to a Memorial Cup title as Canadian Hockey League champions. The multi-dimensional energy winger also had four goals and 11 points in seven games at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships, and earned a bronze medal with Team USA. He had previously won gold with the United States at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and World Under-18 Championship. Tkachuk, the son of United States Hockey Hall of Famer forward Keith Tkachuk, signed his three-year entry-level contract with the Flames in July.


Season-ending surgery last December to repair a hip injury hasn’t taken the shine off goaltender Jon Gillies. He was limited to just seven games in his first professional season with the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League last year, but posted a 2-3-1 record with a 2.31 GAA and .920 save percentage. The shortened season comes one year after the 22-year-old capped his collegiate career in incredible fashion. Gillies backstopped Providence College to an NCAA Championship in 2015. As a junior, Gillies went 24-13-2 with a 2.01 GAA and .930 save percentage -- tops among Hockey East goaltenders. He was honoured as the 2014-15 Hockey East Goaltender of the Year, and was named the NCAA Division 1 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. In 108 games in his NCAA career, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound goaltender recorded 60 wins, 13 shutouts, a 2.08 GAA and a .931 save percentage.


Drafted in the first round, 21st overall, in the 2011 NHL Draft, the anticipation for the arrival of forward Mark Jankowski. The 22-year-old completed his four-year college career with Providence College, capped by setting personal bests and leading his school with 15 goals, 25 assists, 40 points and a plus-24 rating. In all, Jankowski had 43 goals and 110 points in 148 games with Providence College before signing an entry-level contract with the Flames last March. His first stint of professional hockey was a success, too. After joining the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League on a professional try-out following his season at Providence College, Jankowski scored two goals and added four assists for six points in eight games. Jankowski is the grand-nephew of hockey legend Red Kelly and the grandson of former NHLer Lou Jankowski.


Expectations for Dillon Dube greatly eclipse his 5-foot-11 frame. A second round pick, 56th overall, in the 2016 NHL Draft, Dube already has an impressive resume despite being just 18-years-old. The product of Cochrane, AB. had 26 goals and 66 points in 65 games with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League last year -- his second season of major junior hockey. The offensive forward, who plays bigger than his vitals, was an assistant captain for Team Cherry at the CHL Top Prospects Game last January, and won gold with Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup last summer. Dube was also invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp in July.


As Calgary’s first pick, 53rd overall, in the 2015 NHL Draft, Rasmus Andersson has delivered on hopeful expectations. The 19-year-old defenceman scored nine goals and had 51 assists in 64 games with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League -- his second season of major junior hockey. His 60 points led all OHL defencemen in scoring, and helped match an impressive rookie season with Barrie that saw the native of Malmo, Sweden record 12 goals and 52 points in 67 games. Andersson, an OHL First All-Star Team member, was voted to have the third hardest shot and the best offensive defenceman in the Eastern Conference in the OHL’s Coaches Poll. Andersson, who turns 20 in October, is expected to join the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League for the 2016-17 season.

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