The 2011-2012 pre-season opened with a home at home split game between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Although Vancouver failed to play anybody with any form of skill, the highlight was Calgary’s young prospects. The Jay Feaster era has begun and many new faces have been added to the mix.

Some highlights of last night’s two games were certainly the new prospects.

  • In Vancouver the line of Backlund, Baertschi, Hagman, were dominant. Baertschi looks like a slightly better Backlund at his age. He’ll be a NHL for sure but probably sits 1-2 years away. For his part, Backlund looks a bit more confident, still a bit small, but poised to challenge for a more prominent role this season.
  • in Calgary Paul Byron showed his skill and speed playing on the top line between Tanguay and Bourque. Although he doesn’t seem ready to jump to the NHL either, it’s really nice to see prospects with skill. It’s been a VERY LONG time since Calgary has displayed this kind of skill….
  • The defensive corps seemed depleted with the departure of Pardy, Pelech, Seabrook, Regehr, and Staois. New faces like Smith, Butler, Henry, all have showed their capabilities. It seems pretty clear who’s going down in the bunch though.

Flames still lack depth all around, but this is certainly a positive step in the right direction. Look for a more rounded squad to play against Edmonton on the weekend.