SUN Hockey Pool

Tough spot for hopeful

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Carsen Germyn has seen some of his buddies sent packing.

He's watched close friends shoulder their bags and leave the Saddledome for the AHL's Quad City Flames.

But the Calgary Flames hopeful sees the situation as it is during training camp -- tough for them, but good for him.

"They're your buddies and you feel bad for them, but I'm fighting for my life. My dream is to play up here and it's going to be that much harder," Germyn said. "It's exciting, though. It's my first year getting this far with the team."

As the Flames prepare for tonight's pre-season clash with the Edmonton Oilers -- the fourth of eight before games count for real -- they have 18 forwards, counting the injured Brandon Prust.

Eleven of those forwards are solid in their position, and with one-way contracts, as well as David Moss.

That leaves Germyn in the hunt with a handful of others -- Dustin Boyd, Warren Peters, Grant Stevenson and Brett Sutter -- battling for one position on the roster, maybe two.

Coming off a 60-point AHL season, Germyn, 25, arrived in camp with a focus.

Knowing there was a position or two in Calgary for a role player, he saw this year's training camp as his best opportunity to be a regular in the NHL.

"I had two good years down in Omaha," said the 5-ft.-11, 190-lb. forward. "In years before, I always worried about everything else around me, but this year I'm trying to focus on myself and do what I do best. I know the guys I'm going against and there are a lot of guys having good camps, but I know I just need to think about playing my game and hopefully it works out."

Most likely, the role would be for a fourth-line skater who'll provide energy.

Germyn, who joined the Flames organization after being signed as a free agent July 6, 2004, and played in four NHL games in call-up duty, said that role is right up his alley.

"In junior, I was an energy guy. They called me The Rat, just from creating energy and getting out there, getting involved. I'm not afraid to mix it up," he said.

"I've done it for a while and even though I got points, I still do that. I like it."

At the AHL level, he did show an unexpected element: An ability to rack up some numbers.

His 60 points, including 28 goals, tied him for top spot on the Omaha roster, making the most of the top-line opportunity given him by coach Ryan McGill.

"Confidence-wise, it was unbelievable," Germyn said. "I played with two guys who were great playmakers in Boyd and (Andrei) Taratukhin and that helped a lot.

"In my first couple of years (in the pro ranks), I wasn't too much of a point guy, and not too much of a go-to guy, but in the last couple of years, they've used me down there well.

"The whole game is about confidence and being sure about yourself and the points brought that. I've gained a lot of confidence."

Not that he can expect to have a first-line opportunity in Calgary, but Germyn believes his game is more rounded.

Besides, at this point in his career, it becomes time to make it when given a golden opportunity.

"There's a time period when you get that chance, and sometimes you only get that one chance in your whole hockey career to make the NHL," he said. "I know this year is one of the best chances I'm gonna get."


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