For the first time in their history, the Calgary Flames held a rookie camp for the four days prior to the opening of the main camp. The media in Calgary found itself talking about the first round draft picks, Rico Fata and Daniel Tkaczuk, as well as CHL player of the year Sergei Varlamov. They also found great stories in the brothers of Flame captain Todd Simpson and tough guy Rocky Thompson. The brothers, Kent Simpson and Jeremy Thompson joined another relative. This relative was the son of the head coach Brian Sutter. Shaun Sutter, drafted in the fourth round, also made the headlines in the Calgary papers as training camp got under way.
When all was said and done on Monday at the conclusion of the rookie camp, eleven players were returned to their junior clubs, while another eleven players were released after thier tryouts. Sadly, three media stories did not make the main camp. Shaun Sutter returns to Lethbridge of the WHL, while the brothers Simpson and Thompson will have to find employment elsewhere during the upcoming season.
THE LUCKY FOUR
Only four tryout players advanced to the main camp. The Flames have had some success in the past few seasons, signing Todd Simpson and Sergei Varlamov after they impressed during tryouts in previous camps. Four players, defencemen Dean Arsene, Sergei Radchenko, Derek Walser and centre Eric Healy now get a chance to stand out amongst 57 other players at the main Flames training camp. The reward for these players is a possible pro contract. Here are some details on these four players.
Dean Arsene: After slipping through the draft unnoticed, the Edmonton (now Kootenay) Ice defenceman who played 74 games last season is making the most of his tryout.
Sergei Radchenko: The youngest player in the ECHL last season at 19, Radchenko skipped his chance to play in the WHL after only one game with Medicine Hat.
Derek Walser: A high scoring defenceman from the Qubec Major Junior team Rimouski Oceanic. He was 8th in the QMJHL in scoring, first amongst defenceman.
Eric Healey: Healey is a beneficiary of the lack of depth at centre position in the organization. Healey played in the ECAC (NCAA) for RPI last season.
Here are the complete lists of the players at the rookie camp; and their destination now that the main camp has opened.
Returning to their Junior Clubs:
Blair Betts (C) Prince George (WHL)
Ilya Demidov (D) Oshawa (OHL)
Radek Duda (LW) Regina (WHL)
Brent Gauvreau (C) Oshawa (WHL)
Kevin Mitchell (D) Guelph (OHL)
Martin Moise (LW) Quebec City (QMJHL)
Dustin Paul (RW) Moose Jaw (WHL)
Jeremy Rondeau (LW) Swift Current (WHL)
Dany Sabourin (G) Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Chris St. Croix (D) Kamloops (WHL)
Suaun Sutter (C) Lethbridge (WHL)
NOTES: Radek Duda enjoyed a solid camp and will play in North America this year. Drafted in 1998, Duda, a Czech, will play in the WHL for Regina. He managed two goals during a scrimmage on Sunday.
Released following tryouts:
Gerard Adams (D) Karol Bartanus (LW)
Chad Beagle (C) Mike DeGurse (LW)
Derek Holland (D) Matt Kinch (D)
DJ Maracle (RW) Sean McAslan (LW)
Alexei Podalinski (LW) Kent Simpson (LW)
Jeremy Thompson (RW)
NOTES**: Gerard Adams suffered a back injury during a fight. Chad Beagle sprained his knee during another fight when a linesman fell on him.
The following players are joining the main camp. Dean Arsene (D) Chris Clark (RW) Rico Fata (RW) Tyrone Garner (G) Eric Healey (C) Joel Irving (C) Igor Karpenko (G) Evan Lindsay (G) Mike Peluso (LW) Ron Petrovicky (RW) Sergei Radchenko (D) Ryan Ready (LW) Darrel Scoville (D) Daniel Tkaczuk (C) Sergei Varlamov (RW) Mike Vellinga (D) Derrick Walser (D)
OTHER FLAMES NOTES:
Defenceman Chris O’Sullivan, an offensive minded power play quarterback reached an agreement with the Flames just in time for camp. Details of the contract were not released. Another defenceman, David Cooper, who was aqcuired from Toronto for Ladislav Kohn, also inked a new deal.
Centre Dale McTavish has been granted a tryout. A restricted free agent, McTavish spent the last season leading the Finnish league in scoring. McTavish did play in the 1996/97 season for the Flames, but managed only 9 games before being demoted.
** Source: Calgary Herald, September 14, 1998.