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Hot Debut with Flames Could Lead to Big Role for Zohorna



Flames TV

Radim Zohorna says he’s happy to be a member of the Calgary Flames.

We’ll soon find out whether he can make head coach Darryl Sutter crack a smile with his performance.

Claimed off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, Zohorna skated with his new teammates Wednesday morning in Winnipeg. The 26-year-old will make his debut on the left side against the Jets tonight alongside Adam Ruzicka and Blake Coleman.

“I know I can be an NHL player full-time, so I’m here and I’m so happy I’m here,” Zohorna told the Calgary Flames content crew. “I hope now I can prove myself.”

Many feel that way.

Especially since neither of Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin really have during their tryouts.

“I don’t really know much about him,” Sutter said of Zohorna after the morning skate. “Other than watched a little bit on video after Brad showed some interest in him.”

Zohorna was criticized for being weak when he first arrived in the Penguins organization as an undrafted free agent. But he showed a lot of promise in the Czech league.

But he put in a lot of work this offseason and looked like a different player on and off the ice in camp.

“I try to play hard and physical and use my size and speed,” Zohorna said when asked to describe his game now. “I had a really good summer and think I had a good camp in Pittsburgh. There was just no room for me.”

It may be a move they regret. But it’s up to Zohorna to quickly take advantage of his new opportunity with the Calgary Flames.

Zohorna has been up and down in two seasons with the Penguins organization, playing 25 NHL games (four goals, six assists). Last season he scored 12 goals and 21 points in 39 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Another pair of goals and five points came in four playoff games.

There seems to be plenty of potential to go with that 6-foot-6 frame.

We’ll see if the Calgary Flames can benefit from it in a way the Penguins couldn’t.

It’s an exciting opportunity for both the Flames franchise and a player who was about to be the odd man out in Pittsburgh.

“I was on the way to the airport (Monday) because we had a preseason game in Detroit and one of my buddies called me and he saw (the news) on Twitter,” Zohorna said of the way he found out he was claimed. “I was like, ‘No, you’re joking.’ Because it was like five minutes after (the deadline). And then I realized it, and I was happy; I was really happy because I wanted to get an opportunity.

“I had a few games last year and in my first year, and I think I did pretty well. I just didn’t have much time and games to prove myself, but I hope now I can prove myself here.”