Prust begins new chapter

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Brandon Prust will admit it's hard to imagine any season topping what he experienced over the past 12 months.

Part of the London Knights, his hometown junior squad, he claimed both the OHL championship and Memorial Cup crowns. That's on top of the record the club set by going unbeaten in its first 31 games.

"It was so incredible and I couldn't have asked for anything more," Prust recalled after completing yesterday's fitness testing to open the Flames training camp. "We hosted the Memorial Cup but we got there by winning the OHL championship and then won the final by beating Rimouski 4-0."

Still, there is one development that could rival that dream campaign -- making the Flames roster.

"It'd definitely be a good start to a new season and my career," the 21-year-old left winger said with a grin.

Funny as it sounds, that feat won't be as easy for Prust to complete. As it stands, he has to figuratively kick down a door to make the Calgary Flames roster.

There may only be one open forward spot and the rookie with the best chance to grab it is Eric Nystrom.

However, don't count out Prust. After selecting Prust in the third round, 70th overall, in 2004, Flames GM/head coach Darryl Sutter said the rambunctious forward would be in the pro ranks long before most of the skaters chosen ahead of him.

Plus, the 5-ft. 11-in., 195-lb. Prust has a history of defying the odds, a story he's happy to relate.

"Back in London, it's something I've used when talking to younger kids," said the fan favourite. "I never played triple-A, I played for city teams and got invited to play junior B and made that team and then eventually made it to the Knights. I definitely didn't take the easy way.

"I hope it gives kids hope."

Not to mention himself.

Knowing the odds he's up against, Prust vows to do all he can to make the NHL roster.

"You don't want to just settle for going down to the AHL or the ECHL, you've got to set your goals real high. I'm coming here to take a spot because there's always a spot to be taken," he stated.

"I'll just have to go on the ice and and show what I've got and make them open the door. Don't leave a doubt in the mind and make it so they have no choice and that's what I've got to do."

ICE CHIPS: Flames prospect G Brent Krahn had to skip his physical yesterday because his wife Marcia went into labour with their first child ... The Detroit Red Wings re-signed forward Henrik Zetterberg, 24, to a $10.6-million US, four-year deal. He'll earn $2.65 million a season ... The New York Islanders signed G Rick DiPietro to a $2.5-million, one-year deal. DiPietro hopes to sign an extension later this season ... Anaheim re-signed defenceman Ruslan Salei to a one-year contract ... The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed restricted free agent forward Alexei Ponikarovsky to a two-year contract.


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