is a fairly recent addition to the Abbotsford Heat but it isn't taking him long to make an impression.
Wahl, a second round pick (48th overall) in the 2008 NHL draft has stepped in after his WHL Spokane Chiefs were eliminated in game seven of the second round of the playoffs.
“I figured if we (Spokane) lost out that I’d get the call to come here,” said Wahl. “It was a quick turn-a-round really. It was disappointing for Spokane to go out, I thought we had a good team and should have gone further. At the same time I had to get my head back on and come here and get ready for another playoff run. I’m upset we’re not still in it but happy to be here.”
Wahl dressed in four regular season games for the Heat and posted a goal and three assists. He has played in just two of the three playoff games and has two assists to show for it. The California native says he’s just taking it all in and is excited to be here.
“It’s been good so far,” Wahl explains. “I’m enjoying the experience. I’m trying to soak in as much as I can and learn everything I can. Get my feet wet for next year so I know what to expect. Our room is really excited about the opportunity. I think it’ll be a tight series the rest of the way. The guys have been really good to me so far so I think I’ve adjusted well.”
Wahl has worn a Spokane Chiefs jersey for four full seasons and has been a Chief for all five years of his WHL hockey career. He has dressed in 44 playoff games. He played a big role in capturing the 2008 Memorial Cup by putting up 14 points in the run and had 73 points in the regular season for them.
“I played on some good teams in Spokane, we went deep in the playoffs a few times so I have experience in the playoffs at that level, but obviously it’s a little bit different here,” Wahl said. “The season is a little longer and in this league guys are a little bit bigger, you’ve got to be smarter with the puck.”
|GET CALDER PLAYOFF TICKETS |
|Tickets for Games 4 (Wednesday April 21) of the North Division Semi Final between the Heat and the Americans are on sale right now! Call 1-877-452-HEAT or visit www.abbotsfordheat.com |
Game 5 is Friday April 23, also in Abbotsford
Wahl is coming off an outstanding year with Spokane, posting 30 goals and 66 assists for 96 points in 72 games. He finished the season with an impressive plus 23 and had 96 penalty minutes.
“I think his pace of play and his details from junior are still evident,” said Heat head coach Jim Playfair. “I think when you take a top skilled kid like that out of junior hockey that’s played a lot of minutes, played lengthy shifts – you have to help them get more of a work ethic and put details in play. I think this is a really good learning experience for him.”
Wahl will attend the Calgary Flames prospect camp this summer which will hopefully lead him to the main training camp this fall. He says he just needs to work on his strength and size coming into camp. He will be assessed at camp to see where the best fit for him is. If he does not have a spot on the Flames roster, he will likely be sent to Abbotsford next season to continue his development.
Calgary is a great place to be, a Canadian town. You couldn't ask for much more than that. I'm really excited to be here.
- Flames prospect Mitch Wahl
“I’m going to go home and work out a lot and try to get bigger and stronger,” Wahl said. “I think that’s the biggest thing for me is to improve my body size. If I can do that and come into development camp and leave a good impression hopefully come back to main camp and see what I can do there.
Author: Kristi Hennessy