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Flames Lose But Vladar Looks Ready for Regular Season



Calgary Flames Dan Vladar

It might be the position with the least competition at Calgary Flames training camp.

But the goaltending spot has provided the most competitive performances.

Dan Vladar was the best Flames player again in Edmonton during Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Oilers.

The Flames backup played the entire game, making 36 saves. His team only mustered 22 shots in response.

Earlier in the day, Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter was short but glowing about all three of his top netminders in camp. Jacob Markstrom is the reigning Vezina runner-up. Dan Vladar was a stellar backup who nearly earned the Jennings alongside his partner.

And youngster Dustin Wolf, the American Hockey League’s top goaltender in his first pro season, was impressive in Penticton’s Young Stars Classic rookie tourney and in his NHL preseason action as well.

“It’s clearly our strongest position, organization wise,” Sutter said from the Saddledome on Friday before heading up to Edmonton.

“The three of them have been outstanding right through.”

Vladar stole the show in Edmonton against the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Evander Kane and many more members of the squad that booted the Flames in the second round of last spring’s NHL playoffs.

Icing a relatively immature lineup against a loaded Oilers squad, the Calgary flames players didn’t help their goaltender out much.

The Oilers nearly doubled the Flames in shots, but Vladar was up to the challenge. Only Draisaitl and former Flame Brett Kulak slipped pucks past him.

Talking with the media in Calgary days earlier, Vladar said he put a lot of offseason work in to get a shot at more playing time this season.

“I got some top-secret list from Barbs (Jason LaBarbara) and Siggie (Jordan Sigalet), the goalie coaches, so I was working on that,” Vladar said with a grin. “That was my focus this summer.”

Whatever was on that list seemed to have worked.

Vladar said he sent video from his practices back home to the Flames coaching staff for tweaks and tips. He’s putting in extra work whenever he can now that he’s here.

His mental approach is just to be ready to go whenever he gets the nod from Sutter.

“I want to play as much as I can, right. But obviously I know who I’m in the locker-room with,” said the netminder, who started just 19 games last season. “For me it’s still a learning process. I still want to keep getting better and better and learn from Marky.

“Every time I get the call, I’m just going to do my best.”

His best was pretty good on Friday.

Not good enough for the win. But Vladar can’t do the scoring, too.