Friday, July 20, 2018

31 Teams in 31 Days - Calgary Flames

First Canadian team to be reviewed is Calgary. Only one OHL prospect for the Flames.

1. Adam Ruzicka - Sarnia Sting
A very good season for the Flames' lone OHL prospect. Ruzicka saw a significant uptick in production as he garnered more responsibility for a solid Sarnia Sting team. Last year I spoke of his wavering intensity level being the thing holding him back, and this year his effort level was significantly more consistent. He's really starting to embrace the style of play that he needs to employ here in North America, using his size to dominate in possession and below the hash marks. His board play and ability to keep plays alive improved a lot, as he now has the confidence to remain patient and wait for openings to create scoring chances. Ruzicka was a lot more engaged without the puck too, looking to find the front of the net, using his size to gain inside position for rebounds, tips, etc. Another thing worth noting was his improved percentage on the faceoff dot. Massive improvement there which is huge if he wants to stay down the middle moving forward. Next year, Sarnia will lose a lot of key players so they'll need Ruzicka to step up even more and be a dominant player. I'd like to see him continue to work on his skating. Off the rush, his decision making still is a question mark for me, as when the pace increases, he can still be turnover prone. And defensively, improvements could still be made to utilize his size on the backcheck and in his own end. If Ruzicka can be a 40/40 player next year and really take charge of the Sting in Jordan Kyrou's absence, I would consider that to be a very successful season.

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