Pros & Cons of the Flames’ Young Stars Classic

Kyle Denu Avatar

The season is getting closer, and now that the 2023 Young Stars Classic has wrapped up, we’re a few mere weeks away from NHL’s dress rehearsal, the pre-season. The Flames desperately need a surge of youth in their line-up, and this tournament is somewhat of a proving-grounds for aspiring NHLers. Thanks to some fantastic performances, the Flames managed to record two wins, and one loss through the three games of the Young Stars Classic.

The Pros:

Adam Klapka: Second to none, the best Flames player this tournament. Two game winning goals, and a stellar performance in every other facet of the game. I can see Klapka being the most likely to join the Flames’ line-up this season.

William Stromgren: Despite having two decent starting games of the tournament, Stromgren had a very strong final game against Winnipeg. While playing on the fourth forward line, he managed to score two goals in impressive fashion. I look forward to seeing how this prospect develops.

Ilya Nikolaev: Much like Stromgren, Nikolaev had one very strong game, and two pretty good games. Nikolaev scored two decisive goals against our provincial rivals to help them cement the win over Edmonton. I like that 🙂

The Meh:

Sam Honzek: If not for his age, I would be more harsh on my rating of Honzek’s performance. Being that he is among the youngest players in the tournament league wide, I figure I can cut him a break. He didn’t ‘wow’, so we’ll have to check in next year, when he’s had another year in the NHL to develop.

Lucas Ciona: Ciona dominated most of the tournament with his physicality. I see a lot of Sam Bennett in Lucas Ciona, which is an important role that the Flames could use. Unfortunately, he took multiple costly penalties over the span of the tournament, and it suggests he might need to mature a little further.

Matt Coronato: Perhaps the most anticipated “Young Star” on the Flames’ roster, Matt Coronato was looking to wow the Flames’ org. Despite one goal and two assists between three games played, I would still call his overall performance lackluster. He had multiple bad turnovers, and just didn’t show the scoring prowess that many fans expected of him. He wasn’t bad, but it makes me worry that the Flames might bring him up to the NHL too soon. He might earn more value in development still.

The Cons:

Yan Kuznetsov: The only con, I could truly come up with. Kuznetsov has been in the Flames organization for a while now, and he consistently fails to live up to his expectations. Just another lackluster performance, but while I won’t allow that in the “meh” section anymore, I’m not convinced that he won’t be able to turn things around.

Again, with a questionable Flames roster, they could really use some young talent to revitalize the team. Perhaps, some of the players showcased through out the Young Stars Tournament will crack the Flames’ NHL roster this upcoming season. My guess is that Adam Klapka has made the best case to do so.

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