CALGARY, AB -- The Abbotsford Heat struggled greatly last season when it came to offence, posting 186 goals through 80 games and sitting dead last in the AHL in that regard, but that isn't an issue this year.
The Heat have netted 66 goals through 26 games this season and if they keep up that pace, they are likely to hit the 205-goal plateau when all is said and done.
Greg Nemisz has been a big part of that offensive transformation. The 21 year-old's game has steadily progressed and he has evolved enough for the coaching staff to lean heavily on him for consistent production.
"He's progressing very nicely," Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster said. "We like the fact he's contributely offensively there but he's contributing offensively without taking away from his two-way play. He's on the right track for sure."
Nemisz came into the 2011-12 campaign with a full summer of training under his belt - something he did not have before his first professional season. The Courtice, ON native played 22 postseason games with the Windsor Spitfires in the 2009-10 campaign, eventually winning the Memorial Cup, shortening his off-season training drastically.
"He's made big strides," Feaster said. "I thought that having him get an opportunity with us last year at the end of the season and getting his feet wet and seeing the pace and seeing how you have to prepare ... I thought that was a good experience at the time and to his credit, he has used that as an opportunity to work even harder in the summer."
In 26 games this year, Nemisz has netted seven goals and 18 points. He sits third in team scoring, trailing Jon Rheault and Krys Kolanos, and is on pace for over 20 goals. He's physically matured and is now using his 6-foot-3, 197 lbs. frame to its full advantage. He is well on his way to becoming a prototypical power forward, deftly using his size to create time and space for both he and his linemates while his soft hands and creativity generate offence.
Feaster has stated on more than one occassion that he wants to bring deserving prospects into the fold in Calgary and he has stood by his word.
Paul Byron played six games with the Flames, scoring two goals, before he had to shuffled back to the AHL in order to make room on the roster for Blake Comeau. After reassigning the forward to the Heat, Feaster announced he was looking to open up a roster spot in order to bring back Byron.
Defenceman TJ Brodie was recalled after Anton Babchuk suffered a broken hand and given how well he has done with the Flames, it is unlikely the Heat will be getting the blueliner back.
With Nemisz's performance this year, the next forward called up to the big club will likely be him.
"He's doing a great job there and he's put himself in a situation where ... as we look at recalls, Nemo's name is right there at the top of the list."