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Fiery Flames prospect Martin Pospisil took a big step last year and is looking to bring moxie to the pro level this fall

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

Even the toughest of the game's ornery hombres have limits.

"Now, when someone hits me," Flames prospect Martin Pospisil says, "I don't feel the need to fight him.

"…every time, anyway.

"Maybe sometimes."

Like a young pup learning the ropes of this big, new world, 'boundaries' are learned.

A discovery exposed only through trial and error.

And for Pospisil - the Flames' fourth-round selection, 105th overall, in the 2018 Draft - an eye-popping 253 penalty minutes the year prior certainly made waves in the prospect world.

"I was more aggressive that first year," Pospisil said. "Clearly.

"If anyone on my team needed help or was taken advantage of, I would step in and help out whenever I could.

"And if anyone touched me, I was always overreacting. Ready to go.

"But there was a (cost) to that, too.

"The (physicality) is definitely a part of my style and always will be, but when you're in the box that often, you're not playing as much as you could or should be to develop your game. So that was a huge difference for me this year - being able to see the ice a lot more.

"I was able to focus more on what I needed to make the next step."



He was, that towering, Zvolen, Slovakia product, the same physical brute at Flames Development Camp earlier this month.

But there was a polish this year, using his punishing, 6-foot-2, 188 lb. frame to pick corners, not fights, like he had in league play a year prior.

"When you look at where he's at and how far he's come in such a short period of time, it's pretty impressive," said Ray Edwards, the Flames' Director of Player Development who, himself, had the spirit of his eager mentee as an ECHL pro back in the day.

In the 1995-96 season, Edwards had 20 goals, 30 points, and a mind-bending 330 penalty minutes with the Huntington Blizzard.

"There are similarities, for sure," laughed Edwards, who chopped the PIMs in half the following year before finishing off his playing career in the spring in

"Ten times out of 10, we would rather a player start with that fire, that intensity, and try to rein that in than having to coax it out of him.

"It's all about how you harness it.

"That's equal parts on us, as an organization, and him, as a player, working together.

"And when you have the kind of skill he has, you're in a pretty good spot.

"Lots to work with; all kinds of potential."



Last year, Pospisil showed why he's become one of the most fascinating players in the pipeline, taking his game to a new level by scoring 16 goals and 63 points in 44 games, and reducing his penalty minutes to a paltry-by-comparison 118.

He was ninth in USHL scoring, and finished only five points back of Sioux City teammate and 2019 second-round pick Bobby Brink.

Now, having signed his entry level contract with the Flames earlier this spring, Pospisil is poised to make his pro debut this fall, likely in the team's farm system.

"I'm ready," the prospect declared. "It's a big step, going from that league to hopefully the AHL, but the steps I've taken and the coaching I've had over the past two years with this organization has (prepared) me well for it.

"I think I'm built for the pro game. The key for me is not to change anything. Use my speed. Use my size. Use my shot, which I've worked on a lot.

"Use it all.

"Just go out there and be me - do what I do - every shift, every night."

That is, after all, what the Flames want from him, too.

Slay with your skill and don't skimp on the moxie.


Just so happens, Pospisil already has that approach woven deep into his character.

"We know there's going to be a transition for him," said Edwards. "Always is with young players, and Martin's no different.

"But we know this is a guy that has the smarts, the drive and the competitiveness to find his legs and make that transition easier.

"When he does, keep an eye out.

"He's fun to watch."

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