Can Flames rookie Pospisil be an NHL agitator? He’s wanting the half

‘Martin was intriguing due to his hardness and his braveness and what a competitor he was. Fairly frankly, he was slightly uncontrolled’

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Throughout Thursday’s pre-game warmup in Minnesota, Martin Pospisil noticed a fan in his junior jersey. He hoisted a stick over the glass as a memento.

Over the subsequent few hours, that supporter from a number of years again — Pospisil wrapped a two-season stint with the USHL’s Sioux Metropolis Musketeers in 2019 — wouldn’t have been in the slightest degree stunned to see that the Calgary Flames rookie ahead was smack-dab in the course of each scrum, each skirmish.

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That was actually the case throughout Pospisil’s draft 12 months. That winter, he completed atop the USHL’s naughty checklist, spending 253 minutes within the sin-bin.

As Flames director of novice scouting Tod Button reminisced throughout a current look on Sportsnet 960 The Fan: “I’ll be trustworthy with you, there was a couple of video games the place our scouts went in and he was both kicked out or sitting within the field for quarter-hour or regardless of the case could also be. However that’s why you have got the entire 12 months to scout ’em.”

Jim Cummins, a retired powerful man and now a Chicago-based expertise hound for the Flames, was there on various of these events. Cummins was among the many loudest voices at Calgary’s draft desk when Pospisil was chosen within the fourth spherical of the 2018 NHL Draft.

“A man with that a lot fireplace preventing for a man with that a lot fireplace … No person was going to say no,” Button stated.

Cummins, who has been on Calgary’s novice scouting workers for the previous 13 seasons, recollects he as soon as made a three-hour drive round Lake Michigan to observe Pospisil in motion with the Musketeers. He might have been midway again residence when the ultimate buzzer sounded.

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“Martin was intriguing due to his hardness and his braveness and what a competitor he was. Fairly frankly, he was slightly uncontrolled,” stated Cummins, who piled up 1,538 penalty minutes in 511 profession contests on the highest stage. “There have been greater than a pair video games that I went to the place he was thrown out and I used to be like, ‘Ah, man!’ I keep in mind one time in Muskegon, he acquired right into a scrum, however he didn’t get thrown out. I used to be relieved. I’m pondering, ‘Thank goodness.’ However certain sufficient, the subsequent interval, he will get right into a struggle and will get thrown out.”

At 24, Pospisil isn’t such a wild baby anymore.

After a couple of injury-riddled seasons within the minors and 5 profession concussions, he is aware of he should decide his battles fastidiously. He additionally realizes he gained’t stick as an NHLer if he’s a threat for boneheaded penalties. In 18 big-league outings up to now, he’s been dinged for a grand complete of 10 minutes. Skating totally on the second line, he has additionally chipped in three targets and three assists.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jon Merrill, left, collides with Calgary Flames center Martin Pospisil during the second period of an NHL hockey game
Minnesota Wild defenseman Jon Merrill, left, collides with Calgary Flames middle Martin Pospisil in the course of the second interval of an NHL hockey recreation Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023, in St. Paul, Minn. Picture by Abbie Parr /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Flames acquire sparkplug they’ve been lacking

Throughout Thursday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild, Pospisil proved that he has all of the instruments to be an efficient agitator, a pest even. That’s one thing the Flames have been lacking.

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The six-foot-two, 195-lb. winger was credited with six hits and three photographs on web in opposition to the Wild, though he ought to have fired somewhat than making an attempt to drive a move to Jonathan Huberdeau on a two-on-one rush.

The Slovak sparkplug had Marcus Foligno seeing pink throughout a second-period fracas. Pospisil chirped again with a large grin.

On one other sequence, he poked the puck off Patrick Maroon’s stick after which dumped the Wild winger — constructed like a Ford F-150 at six-foot-three and 234 lbs. — into the boards.

After a little bit of a dip in Pospisil’s efficiency of late, this was a formidable showcase of how he could make an affect even when his title doesn’t wind up on the scoring abstract.

“To begin the sport, I don’t know if we have been engaged bodily the best way you might want to be to play and win video games,” stated Flames head coach Ryan Huska throughout his post-game presser at Xcel Power Heart. “Marty, I assumed, did a great job of type of dragging folks within the struggle slightly bit tonight, and I believe it helped get our recreation going.

“He’s a aggressive younger man that simply performs and performs laborious. Typically, he will get beneath the pores and skin of his opponent. However that’s what makes him who he’s.”

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Certainly, there’s a captivating mix of ability and snark on this bundle. There has at all times been some ferocity and fearlessness to his recreation. Simply ask that Musketeers fan who cheered him on Thursday in Minnesota. As Cummins summed up: “Martin, he actually does have an edge to him. He simply needed to learn to handle it, and it appears like he has.”

With Pospisil persevering with to make a case that he ought to be an vital a part of the longer term plans on the Saddledome, the Flames have been maybe lucky that he might have carved his initials within the penalty-box in Sioux Metropolis in 2017-18.

In his second USHL marketing campaign, the fourth-round decide halved his PIMs and practically doubled his level complete. He fashioned a dynamic duo with present Philadelphia Flyers ahead Bobby Brink. Each completed contained in the High-10 within the league scoring race.

“Coming over from Europe, he performed a fairly abrasive, up and down recreation. I used to be shocked to see he was from Slovakia and never Saskatoon with the best way he was taking part in,” Cummins stated of Pospisil. “However how good of a participant he actually is was type of blurred by the actual fact he was getting thrown out of video games. He was taking part in like a goon.

“If he’d performed like he did the next 12 months, he most likely would have been a second-round decide, for certain … I believe we have been fairly fortunate to get him within the fourth spherical.”

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