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Young Stars Preview: Calgary

by Derek Jory / Edmonton Oilers

Like every other team in the history of professional hockey, the Calgary Flames have had highs and lows in the NHL Entry Draft.

The highs are guys like Al MacInnis, Gary Suter, Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull, Theoren Fleury and Paul Ranheim – all seven played over 1,000 NHL games and MacInnis is in the Hockey Hall of Fame – whereas names like Chris Biotti, Bryan Deasley, Jesper Mattsson and Brent Krahn elicit shudders as being first round picks that never played a single game for the Flames.

Since 2000, Calgary has drafted 91 prospects, many of which are developing into potential NHLers and a few, namely Eric Nystrom, Chuck Kobasew, Dion Phaneuf, Dustin Boyd and most recently Mikael Backlund, have had an impact with the Flames.

Backlund, a first round pick in 2007, played 23 games for Calgary last season and is on the cusp of making the roster full-time. Until then, he’s a Flames prospect who will be strutting his stuff in Penticton.

You want to be in Penticton to check out the Flames, but: A – Your bike was stolen, B – You have a flat tire on your car, C – You’ve misplaced your GPS or D – You can only find one rollerblade, well don’t sweat it. As usual, has your back.

All eight games of the Young Stars Tournament will be available live on beginning September 12th. Full details on the Young Stars Tournament can be found at


Leland Irving

G - Drafted 1st round, 26th overall, in 2006 – A five-year WHL veteran with the Everett Silvertips, Irving moved to the AHL's Quad City Flames out of junior and he had an instant impact winning 24 games with a 2.23 goals against average. Last season his numbers dipped a tad while with the Abbottsford Heat and the Victoria Salmon Kings, but this positionally sound netminder will give Calgary’s prospects a chance to win when he’s between the pipes.

Mikael Backlund

F - Drafted 1st round, 24th overall, in 2007 – The brightest Flames young gun since Dion Phaneuf offers nothing but upside. At only 21 this swift Swedish forward has established himself as a premier playmaker at every level he’s played, including with the Kelowna Rockets and Abbottsford Heat. He’s got great hands and a lethal shot, which he displayed in 23 games with Calgary last season.

Mitch Wahl

F - Drafted 2nd round, 48th overall, in 2008 – Once Wahl got his feet wet with the Spokane Chiefs, his game took off. Last season he finished seventh in WHL scoring with 96 points thanks to a tireless work ethic that allows him to be a constant contributor and a sound defensive forward in his own end.



Keith Seabrook

D - Drafted 2nd round, 52nd overall by Washington, in 2006 – Seabrook made the NHL a family affair by following in older brother Brent’s footsteps to the big show. Kind of. Seabrook was drafted, but he has yet to play an NHL game; he’s extremely offensive minded, almost to a fault, and if given a chance to set up and quarterback the power play, the Flames will light the lamp more times than not.


Lance Bouma

F - Drafted 3rd round, 78th overall, in 2006 – If there are punches thrown in the Peach City, Bouma will be delivering them. This tenacious forward, who pairs an offensive touch with a physical game, won’t back down when it comes to dropping the gloves. Perhaps because of this his skills on offence are overlooked. He had 14 goals and 43 points for the Vancouver Giants last year while overcoming a partially torn MCL late in the season; he walked it off like a stubbed toe.

Vancouver vs Edmonton Sept. 12 5:00pm
San Jose vs Anaheim Sept. 12 8:30pm
Anaheim vs Calgary Sept. 13 5:00pm
San Jose vs Vancouver Sept. 13 8:30pm
Calgary vs Edmonton Sept. 14 8:30pm
Anaheim vs Vancouver Sept. 15 5:00pm
Edmonton vs San Jose Sept. 15 8:30pm
Calgary vs Vancouver Sept. 16 1:00pm


Tournament packages, which include a ticket to each of the eight games, will be available for purchase, starting at $66 plus applicable fees.

Tournament ticket packages will go on-sale June 26 at 10am online at, by phone at 1-877-763-2849 or in person at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office. Single game tournament tickets will be made available starting August 16th at 10am. Please note that game dates, times and opponents subject to change. More info.

Author: Derek Jory

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