SUN Hockey Pool

Nyren takes a shot

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

Calgary has been kind to Giffen Nyren.

A trade to the Hitmen early last season — his final year in the WHL — saved him from relative obscurity with the Kamloops Blazers.

A long playoff run and a berth in the Memorial Cup didn’t go unnoticed by NHL teams. Among them were the Calgary Flames, who invited the hometown defenceman to this week’s development camp on an amateur tryout basis.

“Thank God, I got to Calgary,” grinned the 21-year-old, who said his outlook is night-and-day from where it was a year ago.

“I’d most likely be already committed to a school right now and getting my mind wrapped around that instead of going for a pro life.”

So instead of becoming a University of Alberta Golden Bears player, a Calgary Dinos star or a member of the Acadia Axemen, Nyren is giving the AHL a shot to play in the Flames organization.

“Getting traded to the Calgary Hitmen was one thing. Getting the Calgary Flames camp invite was just a step up,” Nyren said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Other teams were calling after a playoff run with the Hitmen that took his stock to a new level.

Five goals and 18 points to go with a plus-15 rating in 23 WHL playoff games en route to a league title turned heads.

The decision was easy when Nyren discovered just before June’s NHL Entry Draft the Flames, the team for which he grew up cheering, were among those with whiplash.

“My first thought is what a good place to play — I love it here,” Nyren said. “Then again, I knew it would be a battle to get a contract and get a spot on the team.

“There’s nothing else going through my mind than that right now.”


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