SUN Hockey Pool

Pardy plans put on hold?

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

The goal Adam Pardy scored was easy to see.

As was the assist he collected when his point-shot ricocheted off Marcus Nilson and into the net.

What the Calgary Flames prospect hopes the team's braintrust saw in his performance Saturday night goes beyond simple stats.

Amidst the 5-4 overtime loss to the Edmonton Oilers was how he played in the pre-season tilt.

"I think I played with confidence," said the 23-year-old defenceman. "I didn't get nervous and didn't get scared. I was assertive on the puck and making plays.

"A big part of the game is making a simple pass, getting pucks out and creating offence. I think I did a good job of making those passes and the easy, simple plays."

Pardy's hopes were realized in the immediate moments after the clash. Pressed for his assessment of Pardy in the wake of the game, head coach Mike Keenan said, "I thought he played exceptionally well. He played with poise and confidence and made some good decisions. He kept his game simple, and, as a defenceman, it's a tough transition."

The numbers collected by the 6-ft.-4, 210-lb. defenceman mean a lot, but a bigger number is currently staring at the product of Bonavista, Nfld. -- eight.

With half of Calgary's pre-season schedule remaining and a return to action tomorrow night against the San Jose Sharks, there are only eight defenceman remaining in Flames camp.

Six of them -- Robyn Regehr, Adrian Aucoin, Cory Sarich, Rhett Warrener, Anders Eriksson and David Hale -- are on one-way contracts, and the other is Dion Phaneuf.

Barring injury, Pardy is most likely going to start the season with the AHL's Quad City Flames, but he's served notice as a legitimate call-up when the time comes.

Considering injuries always put a dent in a defence corps -- the Flames dressed 10 last year -- Pardy has a big achievement in his pocket, especially since he's flown well under the radar since being chosen in the sixth round, 173rd overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

"It's a huge accomplishment. A year ago, you wouldn't have seen that. It's a good situation I'm in now," he said. "I'm here right now, and that's all that matters, I guess. I'm not thinking about the next day. You've got to realize the situation you're in, and right now it's a really good situation for me. The longer I stay, the better and better it's gonna be for me."

While the battle for the final one -- and possibly two -- forward positions continues on because none of the candidates have managed to grab it, the same can't be said for Pardy's accomplishment.

He may be known for his defensive game, getting just two goals and six assists in 70 AHL clashes last year, but Pardy has proven he can do more than skate backwards.

Defensive posture will still be his bread and butter, but Pardy has been noticeable for his willingness to pinch at the offensive blueline to keep the puck in the zone and even go low for scoring chances.

It's how he scored at the Saddledome.

"When I came into this camp, I said I'm just gonna try things, not leave anything out there," Pardy said. "I was gonna try to make plays and get involved in the play.

"With the position I'm in, I can't just have a regular game. I have to impress, step up and get involved."

Pardy has seen first-hand what can be achieved with that mindset. Over the past few years, the Flames have proven you don't need to be a highly touted junior star to earn a spot in the NHL, having developed unheralded defencemen Mike Commodore, Steve Montador, Richie Regehr and Mark Giordano.

It's an organization that wants to give guys a shot.

"They don't just bring us in to have camps or just watch us play," Pardy said. "They want to teach us and have been doing a great job."


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