The Calgary Flames are in the midst of a surprising playoff push. Currently battling for a Wild Card spot, the team has defied the odds this season and become one of the NHL’s biggest surprises.
With veterans such as Mark Giordano, Curtis Glencross, Mason Raymond and Jonas Hiller providing leadership and guidance, the team’s young stars have been able to flourish, and have become a key part to the team’s season. One of those young players looking to excel has been Johhny Gaudreau, whom has become one of the frontrunner’s for the Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the NHL’s top rookie.
Gaudreau has been a breath of fresh air for the Flames this season. His eccentric persona, which coined him the nickname “Johhny Hockey”, has made him a fan favorite in Calgary. However, his play is what really makes him special, and the 21-year-old American has been spectacular all season.
In 54 games, Gaudreau has put up 41 points for the team, and despite playing in a Canadian hockey hotbed, has become the poster child for American hockey.
Although, it’s not just Gaudreau that has shined brightly for Calgary. Numerous other young stars have had breakout seasons. Players such as Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris, Sean Monahan, and T.J. Brodie have led a youth movement for the Flames. In addition, the team drafted Sam Bennett with the fourth overall pick during the 2014 draft. Despite being sidelined with an injury, Bennett is a key piece to the Flames future.
What’s best about this young bunch of talent is they aren’t letting the pressure of playing playoff hockey affect them. They just enjoy playing the game they love, something which Gaudreau stated to the Calgary Sun.
“It’s a blast. You get to play hockey for a living. It’s much better than going to school for my senior year and going to classes. I don’t think there’s much more fun I could have than being part of something like this.”
As the season reaches the final stretch, Calgary is relying on its core of young stars to be the difference maker, not just for this year, but for many more as well.