“For me, really, my one and only goal is to play at the top. »
This is Jakob Pelletier’s state of mind heading into Calgary Flames training camp. The 22-year-old forward is coming off the biggest summer stretch of his young career, which saw him add around 8lbs of muscle mass to his 5’9″ frame.
“The big thing was that I gained a little mass. (…) It meant being stronger on the puck, making me pack less easily,” he says on the line, live from the Stampede city.
Every Tuesday during the summer, Pelletier drove from Quebec to Laval to train with other National League players like Alexis Lafrenière and brothers Mathieu and Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Jonathan Huberdeau, with whom he played a few games on the same line last season, was also in the mix. The two Quebecers built a great relationship in the last third of the campaign, when Pelletier was recalled.
It’s always nice to see him. I’ve seen him quite often. He came to Quebec and asked me if I wanted to go to dinner with him. I consider him my mentor.
Jakob Pelletier, about Jonathan Huberdeau
Having a mentor can’t hurt. Especially since Pelletier, who played his first 24 games in the National League in 2022-2023, only has eyes for a permanent place in the Flames lineup this season.
“I feel a lot more confident than last year,” he says. Playing 24 games gave me confidence. I know what the pace of the NHL is, I know how the guys play. For me, it’s definitely experience that I didn’t have before and that I have now. (…) It gives me a step ahead for the camp. »
This season will also be the last of his entry contract with the Flames. He will therefore be looking for a new agreement next summer. On this subject, the attacker does not show an ounce of nervousness. Either way, there’s no point in thinking too far ahead.
“In my head, I still play hockey for fun, like when I was a junior or midget. For me, it will be more at the end of the season, and it’s not me who manages that. (…) I focus on making the club and, then, helping it go to the playoffs. »
Several changes have taken place among the Calgary Flames in recent months. Not only does the organization have a new general manager, Craig Conroy, but it is also now led by Ryan Huska. The very acerbic Darryl Sutter was fired at the end of the last campaign.
Pelletier admits, “change is always stressful”, especially since he is not yet established in the Bettman circuit. “But at the same time,” he recalls, “it remains the same game. Yes, it’s stressful, but I know what to do and I know what I can bring to the club. »
Huska, who previously served as Sutter’s deputy, contacted him in recent months. “He told me that they know what I can bring to the club, but that it will be up to me to show that I can start at the top,” he summarizes.
That’s good, because that’s exactly what he intended to do.
Interesting fact: Pelletier will wear a new number at the start of camp. When the general manager asked him to change his number 49, which had been assigned to him during his first camp with the Flames, Pelletier chose 22.
“I always liked number 22. (…) Alexander Radulov, when he played for the Remparts, he had the number 22. He was the first player who was a bit of an idol for me. »
Who knows, maybe he will in turn be the idol of future number 22s?
Who is Jakob Pelletier?
- Left winger native of Quebec, aged 22.
- Choice of 1er round, 26e in total, from the Calgary Flames in 2019.
- In 24 games with the Flames last year, he scored 3 goals and had 4 assists, with an average ice time of 14:11.
- In the QMJHL, he played for the Moncton Wildcats and the Val-d’Or Foreurs.