For a team that was so undermanned to win a hockey game, there needed to be large elements of luck, hard work, actual skill and possibly poor performance by the other side. I don’t think last night’s Flames played badly, so the other elements can be blamed (or credited) for the final result. Let’s have a look at specific players.
GAME NOTES, SEPTEMBER 17
- R Tomas Soustal: 0-0-0, -1 and no shots. Part of the 4line, I do not recall a major moment in his minutes last night. A lot of chasing and that is a theme for the evening.
- R Jaedon Descheneau: 1-1-2, +1 and three shots. I enjoyed his game very much even before the OT winner. He is a fine combination of speed and skill—he is a former fifth-round pick who went unsigned—and that year of injury in 2015-16 might have been a lucky turn for Edmonton. Early days, a nice arrow last night for a player who needs to impress.
- L Joey Benik: 2-0-2, -1 and three shots. Ran some good fortune for the two goals but Benik also sniped a beauty on the second goal. He seems to be around the puck a lot, a sure sign of a skill player. He is on an AHL deal, but it will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets in the AHL.
- R Patrick Russell: 0-0-0, -1 and two shots. He is slow. That is a problem. Two games in a row, we have seen him carry the heavy boots, and last night in a long puck chase we saw the straightaway speed was as suspect as the quick start speed. Early days, I did not see him good.
- L Collin Shirley: 1-0-1, even and two shots. The goal should never have gone in but credit where due—Shirley forced the goalie to make a play. I noticed him a couple of other times, the lines got shuffled here and it seemed to me Shirley played as a regular.
- L Lane Bauer: 0-0-0, -1 and no shots. I really like Bauer as a player, he has good two-way instincts. Speed is the issue and I think he is more effective at center.
- C Carson Stadnyk: 0-0-0, -1 and no shots. Among the no-names, he has emerged as a guy who has the speed and size to actually be considered a prospect. I thought he played well in a minor role.
- L Braden Christoffer: 0-0-0, even and two shots. He is more mature than most of the players on this roster, and it shows in every shift. I didn’t see him near much offense—despite playing with skill—and that is going to be his issue in moving up the pro depth chart.
- C Thomas Foster: 0-0-0, -1 and two shots. He was the most effective player on his line, I think he moved up a little when injuries hit. He has good foot speed.
- C Chad Butcher: 0-1-1, +1 and three shots, 2PIMS. He had a significant impact, although an injury robbed him of some playing time. He has been noticeable in a good way two games in a row, a small forward who is definitely skilled enough to stand out at this tournament.
- C Kyle Platzer: 0-0-0, even and two shots. He was my No. 3 star in this game, for me bad luck (goal posts!) have followed him all tournament. He stands out at this level, but he did as a younger man, too. Edmonton badly needs to give him substantial AHL minutes this season. There could be a player here.
- R Greg Chase: 0-0-0, even and one shot, 2PIMS. Placed on a line with Christoffer and Platzer, Chase did have a better game and helped create offense. Took what I thought was an undisciplined and unnecessary penalty, your mileage may vary.
- LD Ben Betker: 0-0-0, even and one shot, 2PIMS. Another strong game from the giant blue, I think he looks more mobile this year but we will know more about that at main camp.
- LD Caleb Jones: 0-0-0, -2 and two shots. He was my No. 2 star, very mobile player who can battle and win, while also having the wherewithal to get that puck to a good place and on its way. I think he is emerging as a legit NHL talent and he may hang around later than many of the other blue. The fact he received top-pairing treatment in these two games is a big deal in my opinion. Coaching staff loves him, and for good reason.
- RD Matt Benning: 0-0-0, -3 and two shots, 2PIMS. Unusual to give No. 1 star to a guy who has a -3 in a game his team won, but he skated miles and as mentioned this was an outmanned roster. He has the range of skills, and I remain impressed with his ability to win battles. He is kind of a young Andrew Ference in that way, and Benning is good with the puck on his stick. Like Jones, I think this tournament may be a stepping off point to a larger role in main camp. I have liked his game very much.
- RD Kayle Doetzel: 0-0-0, even and 7PIMS. I hope he is okay, did not see him return. He rocked Tkachuk and then answered against Smith, cranking the giant and winning a fierce battle. He got noticed for sure, especially since he was giving up four inches and 30 pounds to Hunter Smith.
- RD Aaron Irving: 0-1-1, +1 and two shots, 2PIMS. I like him every game he plays, and last night was no exception. He makes intelligent plays with the puck and is a reliable blue in all situations. I bet Bob Green loves him and wonder if he gets a pro deal this time next year (likely to return to the Oil Kings).
- LD Kyle Jenkins: 0-0-0, +1 and one shot. He was good to my eye, has some range to his game and good speed. Chiarelli brought a far better defense to this camp that we have seen in past Young Stars tournaments. Some are homegrown, but they are all good.
- G Dylan Wells: He made 35 saves in 38 shots, .921. He saw all of the ice around his net, and ran luck to the outer edge. That said, he also made some brilliant saves and won a game Edmonton had no business winning. I don’t think his performance was in any way similar to that of Ellis in the previous game, but it is important to remember age and experience. He needs to buy calm feet, but is athletic.
My three stars:
- Matt Benning
- Caleb Jones
- Kyle Platzer
One more game, it goes tomorrow afternoon at 12:30. I will not have a GDT for it, but tomorrow morning’s post will have a generous amount of information on the game. I will also have an item on Dennis Wideman up today, either here or at ON. I spoke to Frank Seravalli of TSN on Friday, and he mentioned Wideman as a player of interest for Edmonton.