Heat get shut out for their last 2 games of the year. Sunday's game Joni Ortio played his first NA pro action, letting in 6 goals. Marvin and Bennett also both got in the lineup. Hopefully these guys can all contribute next year.
Pretty brutal that the Heat leading scorer ends up with 35 points. That has to be some sort of record......
Haha wow, that just seems to highlight how good Irving has been for this team.
Jim Playfair can’t contain his disgust via telephone over the failure of his Abbotsford Heat to qualify for the American Hockey League playoffs.
“We were five points short,” spat the head coach of the No. 1 affiliate of the Calgary Flames. “That’s one point a month when you look at it.”
To be fair, no one outside of Abbotsford harboured high expectations for the farm team this season.
With no established AHL scorers like Jason Jaffray or Jamie Lundmark, and no young studs up front like Cody Hodgson or Linus Omark, the baby Flames resorted to offence-by-committee.
Centre Matt Keith led the Heat in scoring with 35 points. Jon Rheault and T.J. Brodie tied for second at 34 points in yet another injury-plagued season for the Fraser Valley crew.
“Obviously, our goal in the future is to stay healthy and create more goals,” Playfair said. “When you look at Ryan Howse and some of the other skilled kids Calgary has drafted — that’s a direction the organization is looking to take as well.”
Howse, a third-round pick of the Flames in 2009, scored 52 goals this season for the Chilliwack Bruins. Max Reinhart, a third-round pick in 2011, is enjoying a productive post-season for the Kootenay Ice with seven goals and 13 points in 10 games.
The 20-year-old Brodie is arguably the most tantalizing prospect in Abbotsford with his smooth stride and natural offensive abilities on the back end. However, his first season in the professional ranks can only be described as tumultuous.
At one point, Flames acting general manager Jay Feaster gently chided the youngster for not respecting the level of competition in the AHL after cracking the opening-day roster with the Flames.
“He levelled out,” Playfair said of the all-star defenceman. “In the beginning, he really felt like he could just get the puck and skate and be creative — and not pay close attention to defence.”
To challenge the youngster, Playfair moved Brodie (a left-handed shot) over to the right side of the ice.
“We wanted to calm him down,” Playfair said. “See the game differently. We put him over there to perhaps have to think the game better from that side of the rink.
“I really believe that was an important part of his development.”
In terms of development, Playfair cites undrafted defenceman Christopher Breen as one of the most improved players over the course of the season. The six-foot-seven, 224-pound blueliner arrived in Abbotsford last fall as a mystery of sorts.
“No one really knew what his upside was gong to be,” Playfair said. “I think he learned how to handle the puck a lot better. He learned to defend a lot better. He’s a very, very big player. He became a very consistent player. I firmly believe Chris Breen is going to find his way and become an NHL defenceman.”
Playfair also predicts good things ahead for goaltender Leland Irving, although he might have to wait another year for his chance in the big leagues. With Miikka Kiprusoff and Henrik Karlsson ahead of him on the depth chart, the road to Calgary is blocked for Irving at present. Karlsson is technically a pending unrestricted free agent, but he wants to re-up with the Flames.
And they want him.
“Leland identified himself as a No. 1 goalie in the American League,” Playfair said. “I think his next step is to win in the playoffs in the AHL prior to moving on to create an opportunity in the National Hockey League.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction with Leland.”
But will Playfair stick around to see these development projects come to fruition? After all, the 46-year-old is entering the option year of his contract in Abbotsford.
Five NHL teams (Ottawa, New Jersey, Florida, Dallas and Minnesota) are already looking for a new man behind the bench. And Playfair’s work with a less-than-star-studded group has hardly gone unnoticed by the hockey establishment.
Before exploring any of those avenues, Playfair will meet next week with Flames president Ken King and Feaster to discuss the future.
“I’ll get an overall feel for what their plans are going forward down here,” said Playfair, who coached the Flames to third place in the Western Conference in 2006-07. “And I want to explore the opportunities that are out there. I’ve really enjoyed myself down here the last two years.
“And obviously, when I came down here, the goal was to earn the right to get back to the National Hockey League, like Scotty Arniel did. Like Alain Vigneault did. Claude Julien. Different guys have come down, re-established themselves and earned that opportunity to go back up.”
Heat get shut out for their last 2 games of the year. Sunday's game Joni Ortio played his first NA pro action, letting in 6 goals. Marvin and Bennett also both got in the lineup. Hopefully these guys can all contribute next year.Pretty brutal that the Heat leading scorer ends up with 35 points. That has to be some sort of record......
Hey guys, I have a few questions for you about Ryan Stone. He played last year in Abbotsford, and next season he will play in TPS Turku, which is my favorite team here in Finland.
I think that there's many writers who have seen Stone playing in Heat, and because I haven't watched Heat playing, I just wanna know something about Stone:
- Where did Stone played in Heat? Was he a centerman or a winger or did he play both places? Which is the best place for him to play (TPS needed more a center than a winger before Stone was acquired).
- Is he good/average/bad at taking faceoffs?
- Someone has said that he is a bit slow in skating, is it true?
- He was injured last year and so he didn't play every game. I'm not sure, but was he injured at the beginning of the season? Did he miss games after he was able to play?
I would be grateful if someone gave me answers to these questions. And of course it would be fine too, if someone described Stone's attributes more. According to my details he is a physical, but also pretty good playmaker with great leading skills.
E: I'm sorry if this wasn't the right place to write this message. :S
Don't really know much about him but he is a centerman not sure about his faceoff capabilities. Don't think he is known for a playmaker but more of a hardworking forechecker. All the games he missed were from the beginning of the season as he had a knee injury from the season before that was not heeled.
Ok, that's good to hear that he is a centerman, not just a player who plays better in wing. Hardworking forechecker is surely the main thing you can tell from his playing, but his point average 0.6 per game in AHL isn't bad at all. Injuries worried me, but if he played the rest of the season without injuries, then that's good to hear.
Krys Kolanos was assigned to the Heat just before the weekend and has injected a scoring punch. The Heat won 5-1 and 6-2 with Kolanos getting 7 points in just 2 games.
Looking at this stats it doesn't show anything for last year. Anyone know why he was off? Is he our property now, or just assigned here temporarily?
Very different team right now compared to the young teams we've had recently. Much more experience.