Flames Prospect Pelletier Must Wait Patiently For Opportunity
The Calgary Flames called Jakob Pelletier up from the AHL before their five-game road trip but he has yet to play. That doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon barring injury.
Another morning skate, another change-free Calgary Flames lineup.
Despite one of their more listless efforts of the year in Nashville, where they looked mentally and physically fatigued, it looks like fresh legs are going to remain in the press box with the stale popcorn as the Flames host the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Jakob Pelletier, who was called up ahead of the five-game road trip the Flames just completed, continues to wait for a chance to make his NHL debut.
Some people believe it’s never coming.
Calgary Flames head coach is not noted for his development of young players at the NHL level. Nor does he try to hide it. He has stated many times in the past that players should earn their stripes at the AHL level and shouldn’t be rushed.
That hesitancy to insert prospects like Pelletier into the Flames lineup doubles when it comes to size.
“The thing with Pelts is always going to be his size,” Sutter told reporters on Tuesday. “As he gets a little stronger and gets a little more weight, then he’s going to have a better opportunity. That’s what will happen for him.
“And he can still do that. He’s only 21. In comparison to other players in our organization, they may be maxed out there, but this boy is not. He has the energy for it and a passion for it and a work ethic for it, and he’s a good kid.”
Pelletier is pretty much a point-per-game player over two seasons in the NHL. He has a lot of potential.
That’s something that excites fans as much as it does the franchise. But it also triggers some impatience in a league that is getting younger every year and features plenty of 21-year-old stars in the making.
Just not on the Flames roster.
“At the end of the day, I want to get him in,” Sutter said. “But you know what? We’re not 10 up and we’re not 10 out. That’s the way it works.”
If the team was in a better position in the standings, it’s hard to imagine Sutter giving a kid a look rather than pushing for more cushion.
And if they were rebuilding, Sutter might not be the coach.
Comparing him to Andrew Mangiapane and Dillon Dube, who both got some seasoning in the AHL, Sutter also alluded to a poor training camp showing potentially setting Pelletier back in making his first appearance up here.
“I like him. You know what, it’s on record. I’ve said it; he’s said it, too. He didn’t have a very good training camp. We played him a couple of games, and that’s what he deserved. Or one game, I think. He didn’t have a very good training camp, so then he went down, and he didn’t have a very good start,” Sutter said. “I went, too. I watched and I pull for those young fellas.
“But then his game picked up and took off, and he was a really important player there — and that’s part of the development. You bring them up. Before you can play in the NHL or before you can be successful in the NHL, you have to be around those guys, see what it’s like.
“Pick somebody out, prepare like him, work like him in practice, and don’t think you’re him or don’t think you’re him. I’ll tell you who I think you’re like and go from there.”