CALGARY, AB -- Having never suited up for a team outside the 780 area code, newest Calgary Flames prospect Brett Pollock is about to experience a change of scenery.
A Sherwood Park native and fourth-year Edmonton Oil Kings power forward, Pollock was acquired by the Flames at last month’s trade deadline in a deal with the Dallas Stars that also saw Finnish rearguard Jyrki Jokipakka and a conditional second round draft pick wind up in Calgary in exchange for defenceman Kris Russell.
“I had never been traded before so it was a different experience,” said Pollock, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Stars in December.
It was also unusual how the prospect, who sits fifth on the Oil Kings’ all-time points list, heard he had been dealt.
With his Oil Kings facing the Victoria Royals in a rare Monday matinee match-up, Pollock may have been the only one at Rexall Place that fateful Feb. 29 afternoon that wasn’t aware about the trade.
“We were playing an afternoon game so I had no access to Twitter or anything like that,” he said. “And my coaches wanted to keep the news away from me so I had no distractions during the game, but when I came off the ice they finally pulled me aside and gave me the details on what had happened.”
Once the original shock from being traded – as any player naturally feels when dealt – had worn off the prospective two-way forward realized he had landed in a good situation.
“I’m happy that it was Calgary and that it worked out the way it did,” he said. “I’m excited to meet everybody and to get things going.”
A second round (45th overall) selection of Dallas at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-3, 197-pound winger led all Oil Kings with a career-high 78 points and a plus-21 rating to go along with a healthy 76 penalty minutes in the regular season.
Flames brass foresees Pollock’s versatility and scoring ability fitting in well down the road.
“Our guys here really liked him in his draft year,” said Flames GM Brad Treliving, shortly after completing the deal. “A big body, who can play centre or the wing, and he’s got a knack for scoring. Big guys that can shoot the puck in the net are important. We were excited that he was part of the deal.”
Pollock, who celebrated his 20th birthday this month, tallied 199 regular season points during Western Hockey League career, which has included hoisting both the Chynoweth Cup and Memorial Cup in 2014.
“I have been focused on shooting the puck more and just trying to contribute any way I can,” said Pollock, a proven goal scorer who has potted a combined 60 goals over the last two seasons with the Oil Kings.
Though listed as a left wing, Pollock has brought his rugged and bruising game to each side of the ice this season.
“I don’t have a preferred position,” he said. “I have played right wing for half the season and now I’m back on the left wing. I have been put all over, including the point on the power play, so I’m happy to play anywhere.”
As of right now, Pollock's mind is on helping his Oil Kings advance past the heavily-favoured Brandon Wheat Kings in the first round of the WHL playoffs. Edmonton holds a 2-0 series lead and Pollock has contributed two points - including the game-winning goal in Game Two - in the opening two contests.
Whenever the Oil Kings wrap up their playoff run, meeting and learning everyone’s name in the Flames organization will be on Pollock's agenda.
“My focus right now is on the Western Hockey League, but I have taken a peek to have a look at who they have (on the roster),” admitted Pollock, who has impressively racked up 21 multi-point games this season, which includes nine three-point outings. “I’m sure as the season winds down and the summer starts, we’ll get into talks about what plans they have for me.”
Pollock joins Calgary Hitmen forward Pavel Karnaukhov and defenceman Keegan Kanzig as the three Flames prospects plying their trade in the WHL this season.