Ridge Meadow Flames head coach Jamie Fiset is getting in a little juggling practice before the start of the regular season as he awaits decisions on seven players at junior A camps.
With the Flames junior B season set to start the season on home ice Friday, Sept. 1, against the Delta Ice Hawks, Fiset is taking a long look at his 30-player roster during the exhibition season.
“We’re in a wait-and-see mode for about another week here before we know who’s actually going to be back,” said Fiset. “But our main camp was actually one of the stronger main camps we’ve had. We’ve got some good young talent out there. Like every year, you go in optimistic.”
One possible blue chip prospect is Regina Pats draft pick Jordan Hollett. The 6’3” Langley native was the Pats’ first pick, 13th overall in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft, after posting a 23–4 record with a 1.75 GAA playing for the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
Fiset struck up a relationship with Hollett after both were part of Team B.C. for the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Fiset said the Pats already have two established WHL goalies in camp, but wouldn’t rule out a trade, paving the way for the 16-year-old to start the season in Regina.
If not, Fiset said it would be a big boost to the Flames roster.
“I’ve had a pretty good relationship with him for the last year and half going through the Team B.C. selection process and the games, said Fiset.
“We got a call here in June asking if we would be interested in taking Jordan if Regina did not work out. Our league doesn’t usually get first-round WHL picks,” Fiset said.
The Flames have had success with 16-year-old goalies in the past and Fiset would love the opportunity to coach the Langley prospect.
As for players at camp, he said with forwards such as Dale Howell and Andrew Strelezki away vying for roles in other leagues, it opens the door for some of his younger prospects.
Howell, a forward, was third in team scoring last year registering 10 goals and 21 assists in 43 regular season games. Strelezki recorded nine goals and nine helpers in 43 games.
Fiset said rookie defenceman Nolan Ferguson and forward Alexandre Furlan have had especially strong camps and look to be headed to opening day roster spots.
But with the uncertainty of this camp, Fiset said all he can do is keep all his options open as long as possible.
“We’re keeping a bigger roster right now until we know who is back full-time. But this has been a really good for us because we get to take a really long look at some of our younger talent and give them the opportunity to play in some exhibition games. It’s part of the reason started our main camp Aug. 10. We’ve had everyone skate with us at some point.”
The Flames have acquired the rights to 19-year-old Taylor Leger from the Delta Ice Hawks in exchange for future considerations. The 6’4’’ forward registered nine points in 13 games with Delta last season. He also played 15 games in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines.
Fiset said the Flames has been on the ice five days a week and he hopes the team can have more consistency throughout the year. The Flames jumped out to good start to the 2014/15 season, sitting in first place after September. But a rough stretch in November cost them a shot at the playoffs, said Fiset.
“If you look at our start to the season and how we ended, we played some really good hockey. We had the best record in the league in the last 10 games of the season. But a real difficult period in November rally hurt us. We never recovered.”
The team went 4-11 between the start of November until the end of December.
Overall they finished the season 16-25-3 for 35 points, nine back of the final playoff spot.
• The Ridge Meadow Flames have a pair of exhibition games this weekend. They host the Port Moody Panthers Friday at 7:30 p.m. and travel to Delta Ice Hawks Saturday at the Sungod Arena.