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Jakob Pelletier focused on taking his game to the next level

by BRANDON WEISS @WeissBrandon1 / takes a closer look at some of our young prospects - today, it's Jakob Pelletier.


Jakob Pelletier offered what he could, one by one to each player.

For his Team Canada teammates, there were no gold medals that the Montreal native could give as their World Junior Championship opponents - the Anericans - celebrated gold at the other end of the ice back in January. 

Instead, there was a hug and some final words of encouragement.

"I felt that I had an opportunity to (help my teammates)," said Pelletier. "We could still be proud of what we did. At the time, it sucked. But with the year that we had, most of the guys hadn't played for six, seven months, and jumped right back at it. We played pretty good in that tournament, it was just that little bit extra that didn't go our way."

While Canada overpowered most of its competitors along the way, Pelletier - in particular - shined on the world stage. He started with the third line and penalty-kill, but worked his way up the depth chart behind a point-per-game scoring clip and impressive two-way play that resulted in a plus-9 rating in seven contests.

Prior to the start of the tournament, while he knew a stacked talent pool in Canada meant he'd have to compete for his spot on the team, it wasn't what would happen on the ice that concerned him most. 

"I was the only French speaker there," said Pelletier. "Just to speak in English 24/7, that's the way it was and I was happy about it because my English got better by the end. It was fun. We had a great group. I was happy with my play in the tournament. But again, to finish second place was a hard pill to swallow."



Fellow Calgary prospect Connor Zary noted that while Pelletier had some broken English, he quickly become one of the most popular players in the room thanks to his on-ice leadership and off-ice sense of humor.

Not only was the tournament a strong showing for the Flames' top pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, but a launching pad for a tour de force of a final junior season. 

Pelletier's operated at a point-per-game or better pace since coming into the QMJHL in 2017-18 with Moncton, but he took that scoring pace to its highest rate in his farewell season with 43 points in 28 games, leading the way while wearing the captain's 'C' for Val-d'Or. 

He also led the way for the Foreurs to a runner-up finish in the playoffs and was a finalist for the Michel-Briere Trophy, bestowed upon the league MVP.

"I felt stronger on my skates, more stable, and was more in front of the net," said Pelletier about what led to his strong season. "Just to be able to win battles one-on-one in front of the net, that helped me a lot with my offensive production."

As he prepares to jump into the professional game next season, the player - who compares his game to an Andrew Mangiapane style of play - relies on getting some work in on Monday nights at the local rink to fine tune his details.

Bit it's not your typical recreation league setup. He's competing against the likes of Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault and Ottawa Senators defenceman Thomas Chabot, among others.

"(Marchessault) helps me a lot because he's not a big player, but he plays hard," said Pelletier. "I look up to him, how he plays and how he prepares off the ice. I try to take it all in. When he's giving me advice, I try to apply it and not be shy to ask."



It's no surprise Pelletier is excited to get his crack at the professional game.

He's been to Calgary a handful of times, typically on vacation, but is now looking to make an impression when he returns to Flames camp this fall on a work trip.

"When Calgary drafted me I was just a boy," said the 26th overall pick in 2019. "I've grown as a player. I'm more mature. The plan for me was to get stronger, and I'm stronger now. I'm more powerful.

"I'm coming to camp to take a spot, and we'll just go on from there."

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