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Nemisz proves there's still a place for size

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While hockey, especially at the NHL level, has put more emphasis on skill and speed during the past few seasons, power forwards still can be effective players. Greg Nemisz is proof of that.

Nemisz, selected No. 25 by the Calgary Flames in the 2008 Entry Draft, isn't afraid to go into the high-traffic areas to score goals and make plays.

"I think I'm a skilled power forward-type player," Nemisz said. "I like to go to the traffic areas and score goals and set up plays."

Nemisz has a big body (6-foot-3, 197 pounds) and knows how to use it in front of the net. Playing for  the Ontario Hockey League's Windsor Spitfires, he was third on the team with 34 goals and fourth with 67 points. He posted a plus-28 rating and tied for the team lead with 15 power-play goals.

"Greg is a big player that goes to the net," NHL Central Scouting's Chris Edwards said. "He's not overly physical, but he doesn't get knocked around, either. He is good on the power play in the sense that he sets himself at the front of the net, he's hard to move, and he bangs in a lot of rebounds from there. He has a good shot, especially his one-timers. At his best, he is a power forward-type of a guy, a team guy, a two-way guy who plays on the top two lines in Windsor as well as the power play and penalty kill."

Nemisz helped the Spitfires to a third-place finish in the OHL's Western Conference. Though he had just three points in five games as his team was eliminated in the first round, Nemisz still felt it was a good season for a team that finished ninth in 2006-07.

CALGARY FLAMES
2007-08 SEASON STATS

Category Rank (Conference)
2007-08 Points 94
(7th West / 14th NHL)
Change from 2006-07 -2
Home Points 51
(5th West / 9th NHL)
Away Points 43
(5th West / 14th NHL)


"It was definitely a successful season for our team this year," he said. "We made a lot of steps that we wanted to make. Even though it ended with short playoffs … next year we're going to come back. Looks like we're going to be one of the teams to beat."

Windsor's improvement was mirrored by Nemisz. In 2006-07, he had 11 goals, 23 assists, 34 points and a minus-22 rating.

Windsor coach Bob Boughner only had praise for Nemisz.

"Greg was an early-round (OHL draft) pick by the Spitfires who has blossomed into a big-time OHL player," Boughner said. "He has excellent skills, is strong around the net and possesses great hands and NHL power-forward size." 

Nemisz's maturation process isn't complete yet, and he likely will return to the Spitfires for a third season.

"I think it's just maturing, especially this summer," Nemisz told The Calgary Sun. "It's a huge summer for my development. I'm working hard to get bigger and more physical. It's what I need to do to get to the next level."

"Greg is a big player that goes to the net.  He's not overly physical, but he doesn't get knocked around, either.  He is good on the power play in the sense that he sets himself at the front of the net, he's hard to move, and he bangs in a lot of rebounds from there."
-- Chris Edwards, NHL Central Scouting


Nemisz's development took a big step when he made Canada's roster for the World Under-18 Championship last spring. Team Canada was led by former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn, who had a profound impact on Nemisz.

"To play for Pat Quinn -- I grew up a Leafs fan, I was a little nervous when I first met him and got the first phone call from him," Nemisz said. "But after that you realize he's a personal guy and he knows so much about hockey. The biggest thing I learned from him is just especially going to the next level, everyone's a good player. You just can't really have too much of an ego. You've got to buy into the coach's system. Everyone's a power-play player on their own team. Just you buying into the team's system, that's what makes a champion."

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