How Will Flames Use Pelletier After Recall?
Calgary Flames prospect Jakob Pelletier was called up along with Walker Duehr on Saturday and he may play during the team’s five-game road trip through the Central Division.
When Matthew Phillips was called up earlier this season, Calgary Flames fans got excited.
Maybe a little too excited.
The expectation from the outside was that the diminutive winger would get a shot to showcase his skills on an extended basis — which in the minors has him in a tie for goals and in the top five in points despite missing significant playing time before Christmas.
Instead, he appeared in two games, managed one shot and a penalty without cracking double digits in either game.
However, the NHL experience has more to offer than just the games. The 24-year-old practiced and watched video with his big-league colleagues and coaches. Invaluable, regardless of what comes of his career with the Calgary Flames.
The same can be said for prospect forwards Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr, who were both called up on Saturday with the Flames placing Brett Ritchie on IR.
Duehr, 25, made his NHL debut last season. The 6-foot-2 foot right-hander is physical but speedy and has double-digit goals with the Wranglers.
The marquee name in this recall, however, is Pelletier’s. The Flames’ first-round selection in 2019 is another smaller forward who may not fit into head coach Darryl Sutter’s vision of a fourth line. And it would take a tremendous amount of time before he earns enough trust to take on top-six minutes — at least based on what we saw with Phillips.
But we’ll see what transpires in Chicago and beyond, with a handful of contests on the road before the Flames play at home again.
Many would love to see Pelletier — a left-flanker — replace Milan Lucic on the second line. Lucic has been holding that spot beside Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau and has had some success in recent weeks.
But don’t count on it.
Pelletier may play one or two of these games but nothing is guaranteed. And it’s more likely when the opportunity does come, it will be alongside the likes of Trevor Lewis and Adam Ruzicka or Radim Zohorna if all remain healthy.
Pelletier has 15 goals and 19 assists in 31 games with the Calgary Wranglers. The 21-year-old has made his mark in the AHL with 96 points in his 97 career contests in two years in the minors.
A disappointing rookie camp and main camp is the main reason he hasn’t had a look earlier after a lot of offseason hype about a top nine spot being available for him to step into.