Zavgorodniy making impact with Flames rookies
Much like another undersized winger in Calgary, Dmitry Zavgorodniy gets noticed for his size. Or lack thereof.
But much like Johnny Gaudreau has done his entire life, the 18-year-old dazzles with his skill, shiftiness, and ability to control the puck — and instantly, shifts the mindset of whoever is watching him.
Listed generously at five-footnine and 175 pounds, Zavgorodniy wheeled around the Enmax Centrium ice and cashed in on a pair of impressive goals — both setups from Dillon Dube — which, at one point, had given the Flames a three-goal lead on the Oilers.
The final score between the two club’s rookie squads was 6-3 for the Flames which, at this time of the year, is irrelevant.
But what was relevant was the fact that Zavgorodniy was able to hold his own among a mix of junior-aged and American Hockey League/ECHL players.
It helped that he was playing with Dube, who is bound to get a long look at the Flames main camp and potentially could crack the big club roster this fall.
Yet it was clear Zavgorodniy has a nose for the puck and was an absolute nightmare for the Oilers around the net.
Skating for the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL last season, the Omsk, Russia, native had 26 goals and 21 assists for 47 points in 62 games in his first season on North American ice. The Flames snapped him in the seventh round (198th overall) this summer in Dallas and seemed to have known something that no one else did about the kid.
Other notables from Wednesday’s clash? Flames netminder Tyler Parsons was dominant early as the Oilers peppered him with six shots in the opening 10 minutes. He stopped all six and only allowed one goal — a rocket from Luke Esposito whose uncle is Mark Messier (yes, THE Mark Messier) — on 13 shots in the opening period and a half.
The other period and a half, Mason McDonald struggled, letting in two quick goals on four shots in the second period.
Up front, D’Artagnan Joly also scored for the Flames, finishing on an initial shot from Adam Ruzicka. Later, Ruzicka went five-hole on a breakaway to break a 3-3 deadlock with 5:42 elapsed in the third period. Glenn Gawdin made it 5-3 on the power play with his second rebound with eight minutes to go.
With Spencer Foo and Andrew Mangiapane scratched for Wednesday’s clash, Dube’s linemates from Sunday’s game, the 20-year-old Cochrane native continued to dominate just like he did in the Flames’ 7-3 victory over the Oilers on Sunday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Dube was by far the best player on the ice and displayed how strong he is on his stick, particularly one-on-one with Oilers defenceman Marc- Olivier CrevierMorin, who had thrown him off the puck at the Flames’ blue line in the first period. On the next sequence, Dube knocked him over in the Oilers zone. Then, when Crevier-Morin tried the same thing at centre ice, Dube shifted out of his way and created a two-on-one.
Playing a pile of power-play time — one of the key advantages to remaining in North America while the majority of the big squad is in China — Dube, Zavgorodniy and Brett Pollock played keep-away from the Oilers on a man advantage in the final six minutes.
Pollock, assisted by Zavgorodniy, scored Calgary’s sixth goal.
Also scratched were defenceman Oliver Kylington and goaltender Shane Farkas.
Evan Polei and Cameron Herbig also scored for the Oilers.