Andersson of the Flames serves as a powerful reminder of the potential impact of 2021

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It took 80 seconds of the team’s first intrasquad scrum for Rasmus Andersson to remind us of how important he will be to the Calgary Flames this season.
Second in Team McDonald’s first power play of the evening, the 24-year-old Swede was handed the draw at the blue line where he took a few strides before unleashing one of the strongest fighters. hard team.

It’s a streak that will be played countless times over the next several years, as Andersson looks set to lead Calgary’s best power play this season.

Yes, with the departure of TJ Brodie it has become anything but official – it’s Andersson’s time.

“I feel ready and excited for this – I am delighted to show the coaching staff that I am the man for the job,” Andersson said ahead of the first of two scrimmages at the club’s camp aimed at simulating the night of match.

“For me it’s about seizing the opportunity and making the most of it, showing them that I can play up there. It is a position that all defenders want. Personally, I felt good in the playoffs and I want to keep that confidence with me this season.

Andersson opened the camp with his good friend Noah Hanifin, while he was in the playoffs last year and on several other occasions in the past two seasons. The better pair is Mark Giordano with Chris Tanev, largely so that the brass can see how well they kill penalties together.

Those pairs are subject to change, perhaps often, as it is expected that Andersson will get the plum mission that Brodie leaves behind, alongside Giordano. This suits the six-year extension of $ 27.3 million he signed last year.

Either way, his role as the sole defender in the top power play unit was listed as highly probable once Erik Gustafsson signed with Philadelphia.

Giordano has been in charge of the power play for years and will no doubt lead the second unit, but at 37 the team must find ways to manage their minutes.

Andersson’s heavy shooting, puck balance and calm demeanor make him the best candidate.

“Me and (Coach Geoff) Ward have good communication and we talked about it quite possibly – I told him the most comfortable position for me is at the top because I’ve been playing my whole life,” said Andersson from his blue pole was directing traffic, handing out pucks and, well, shooting.

“I have to bring the puck to the ice with a lot of determination and try to give Johnny (Gaudreau), Monny (Sean Monahan), Chucky (Matthew Tkachuk) and Lindy (Elias Lindholm) so much space and when I get the chance to shoot I take it. I want to show everyone that I can play the job well. I feel good that they trust me and I will show them every night that I am the guy.

He certainly started well Thursday night – adding an overall goal for good measure – making his rise one of the biggest stories in camp.

TAKEAWAYS SCRIMMAGE

First screening report on the man who arrived at the Russian camp to be the team’s sixth defender, Nikita Nesterov: “The game is easy for him. You can tell he played a lot of hockey. He’s played in the NHL before and you can see he’s a confident defenseman who understands exactly what he brings to a team and plays within those parameters.

The five-foot-11, 192-pound, 27-year-old was a 2011 fifth-round draft pick for Lighting who played 160 games in the NHL before returning to Russia for a three-year stint in which he was captain of the national team, won the Olympics. gold and a KHL title.

The left-shooter veteran has a one-sided contract and will likely play on the right side, facing Juuso Valimaki to start the season. On Thursday, he looked as comfortable as Ward suggested.

His main competition for sixth place comes from the signing of college free agent Connor Mackey and Oliver Kylington, both of whom have experience playing on the right side. Kylington is still in quarantine after immigration delays and will not join the team until after the second / final scrimmage on Monday

Beginners Dominik Simon and Josh Leivo split the time on the right side of the line from Monahan and Gaudreau. Simon is known as a tenacious forward-hitch who can dig pucks for top scorers like Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, but he also has a pretty sleek mitt game. Leivo made a nice pass behind the net to put Matthew Tkachuk in place for a nice finish. He’s a tall man who should be a good fit on both ends

Team McDonald ended up beating Team Iginla 5-2. The scorers included Joakim Nordstrom (two with empty net), Monahan, Tkachuk and Andersson for the winners and Emilio Pettersen and Andrew Mangiapane for the losers. David Rittich traveled the distance in the net to outlast Jacob Markstrom.

One of the prettiest games of the night came courtesy of 21-year-old Adam Ruzicka, who moved up the goal side with a clever move to provide an easy finish to 20-year-old Pettersen.

Mangiapane, perhaps the best contender for a breakout season, was not wrong on his own to beat Markstrom.

It’s always interesting to see what Matthew Phillips, five foot seven, 155 pounds, looks like against the NHL giants. A great example of how he managed to be successful in the American League over the past two years came in the second period when the six-foot-two, 202-pound Eetu Tuulola was draped over the youngster, who still never spat. not the puck.

A BIT MORE

Mark Giordano seamlessly succeeded Jarome Iginla many years ago as the Fittest Flame. However, along with the abbreviated camps came abbreviated fitness tests.

Unlike in years past where players were put through a different series of tests, this year’s testing largely revolved around force plate jumps, which measure the power generated when an athlete jumps vertically. It called the 37-year-old’s title belt into question, and he doesn’t look too happy about it.

“Some guys are trying to pretend they’ve won fitness tests based on the strength plate jumps, but there’s a lot more to do than that,” said Giordano, whose club won’t release test results. this year because of their simplicity. Very few wonder if the former Norris Trophy winner is still the fittest.

The game was also a warm-up for game night production staff who added goal songs, light shows and announcements, including a directive to observe a moment of silence for the late Calgary Sergeant. . Andrew Harnett, who was killed on New Years Eve by a driver fleeing a traffic stop. The game was played with a constant din of crowd noise that sounded like a dryer when not punctuated by louder reactions.

Sam Bennett was left out of the game for precautionary reasons and is listed as day to day. The team brought in local NHL officials for the game, relieving assistant general manager Craig Conroy of the concert he had at pre-playoff camp last summer. The Flames are extinguished Friday.

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