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Flames 2014 Young Stars roster yielded plenty of talent

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

PENTICTON, BC -- The 2014 Young Stars Classic was a tournament to remember for the Calgary Flames.

The team had plenty of flashy names on their roster heading into the annual event -- Sam Bennett, Johnny Gaudreau, Micheal Ferland, and Joni Ortio, just to name a few -- but no one could have predicted how many players would end earning time in the NHL last season.

Ten players ended up playing at least one NHL game in the 2014-15 campaign: Bennett, Gaudreau, Ferland, Ortio, Markus Granlund, Josh Jooris, Emile Poirier, Brett Kulak, John Ramage, and Tyler Wotherspoon.

Gaudreau gets most of the attention from that group; he was the Flames second-leading scorer in the 2014-15 regular season with 24 goals and 64 points in 80 games and led the team with nine points in 11 postseason dates. The now 22-year-old was a 2015 NHL All-Star, named the NHL's Rookie of the Month on two occasions, and was a Calder Trophy finalist.

Jooris' performance in Penticton last September set the stage for his breakout season in the NHL. The Burlington, ON product wasn't on many people's radars heading into the 2014-15 campaign but his solid play earned him a call-up in mid-October. He scored his first NHL goal in his debut on Oct. 17 and ended up staying with the big club for the remainder of the year, notching 12 goals and 24 points in 60 games.

Granlund also got into his fair share of games with the Flames, suiting up for 48 contests in Calgary silks. He scored eight goals and 18 points with the Flames and recorded nine tallies and 17 points in 21 games with Adirondack.

When Karri Ramo was felled with an injury last January, the Flames recalled Ortio and the fellow Finnish netminder made quite the statement during his time in Calgary. He won four of his six games, pitched a shutout in his 2014-15 debut in Vancouver, and posted a 2.52 GAA and a.908 save percentage.

Two 2014 Young Stars alumni had a big impact in the Flames playoff run.

Bennett, who picked up his first NHL point in his debut in Calgary's final regular season game, played in 11 postseason contests. He managed three goals and four points in that span, playing primarily with Mikael Backlund and Joe Colborne.

Ferland got into 26 games in the regular season but really came into his own in the playoffs. He drove the Vancouver Canucks around the bend in the first round with his physical play and chipped in with five points through nine postseason tilts.

The talent-laden roster also, predictably, had a big impact at the AHL level as well.

Five players scored 15+ goals with the Adirondack Flames and three players that participated in the 2014 Young Stars tournament were in the top five in team scoring; Kenny Agostino led all Adirondack skaters with 43 points, Poirier trailed him with 42, and Bill Arnold put up 38 points in his first professional season.

Garnet Hathaway, who played in Penticton before heading to Adirondack on an AHL deal, earned himself his first entry-level contract with the Flames thanks to 19-goal, 36-point season.

NOTE: Poirier and Wotherspoon were on the 2014 Young Stars roster but were held out of action as they recovered from injuries.

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