ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DEBUT
"It's so exciting," the 23 year-old said after the morning skate at the Bridgestone Arena. "I'm nervous for sure, but there is a lot of excitement. It's been a journey to get here and I'm just going to try to embrace it and have as much fun as I can."
That excitement was noticeable to all of those who watched the winger this morning. He had an extra bounce in his step, skated extremely hard at practice and his enthusiasm was evident in every one of his post-practice interviews.
"He's ready," Bob Hartley chuckled. "He's excited. I can feel it. I already told him he will be in the starting lineup for his first official NHL game. I like Carter because he brings lots of energy and that's exactly what we expect."
Bancks was one of the seven players recalled from the Abbotsford Heat on Sunday morning and has been able to get three practices in with the team since joining the club in Minnesota. Those skates have provided a level of comfort that takes some of the nervousness away for Bancks.
"It helps a little bit for sure. Being able to talk with some guys and the guys have been really good, giving me some advice. They told me to enjoy, play your game and play it simple.
"It's made it a little bit easier rather than coming up and playing the day of."
Bancks played 59 games with the Heat this year, scoring five goals and 12 points. He spent the majority of the season on a line with Abbotsford captain Quintin Laing and Akim Aliu, who is also in the lineup tonight.
PUTTING MONEY IN THE BANK
Hartley has described late-season games for rookies as "deposits" and as a way to audition for training camp in the fall but these last few outings are also a competition of sorts as players try to make sure they stand out amongst their peers.
"We're going to see who is going to step up," he said. "It's a great audition. Some of those guys are leaving a real good impression right now. Tonight, it's going to be even more of the battles between each individuals. We're going to see lots of those guys on the power play, penalty killing and five-on-five."
He did, however, caution that these games are have more impact on demonstrating the style of play each individual brings to the table and does not, by any means, guarantee a roster spot next fall. Every single player will have to come into training camp in September ready to compete for a job, no matter what they accomplished with the team this season.
"They can put money in the bank but I want to remind everyone that once training camp arrives, that money in the bank, I don't know if there is going to be any left. Create a good impression, give us a good taste but at camp, they'll have to prove themselves again. The battle will still be on."
Hartley passed along tonight's lineup to CalgaryFlames.com after practice today:
Lee Stempniak leads the NHL in short-handed assists with 3.
Calgary has the league's 5th best power play on the road, converting on 16 of their 79 (20.2%) opportunities with the man advantage.
Mark Cundari is the fourth Flames skater to score his first NHL goal this season. He potted the milestone marker on Sunday evening in Minnesota. He also set a new franchise record for ice time logged in his NHL debut (24:54).
Mark Giordano has two goals, an assist, five blocked shots and is a plus-five in two games against the Preds this season.
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Jiri Hudler needs 3 goals for 100.
Cory Sarich needs 2 points for 150.
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