Calgary Flames signee Marek Hrivik hoping to score job at Saddledome
Marek Hrivik’s big-league resume is missing something.
The latest addition to the Calgary Flames’ forward ranks, Hrivik filled the net as a junior, has scored for Slovakia on the international stage and has tickled twine 61 times in American Hockey League action.
In 21 skates, though, at hockey’s highest level, the 25-year-old centre is still shooting for that special marker.
“I haven’t scored a goal yet, and that would be a big thing for me,” Hrivik said. “That’s obviously one of my goals for next season. Hopefully not just one, but more than that.
“But that’s not the way that I’m looking at it. I’m just trying to make sure that I make the team and help any way I’ll be able to.”
After a flurry of trades and contract announcements over the past several weeks, Flames general manager Brad Treliving perhaps started his Christmas shopping while his counterparts were clogging the NHL’s fax machine on Canada Day.
Treliving’s only signing on the first day of unrestricted free agency was a one-year, two-way deal for Hrivik. The Flames added another depth forward with Sunday’s signing of tough guy Luke Gazdic, ex of the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Hrivik logged 16 appearances last season for the New York Rangers, with two assists during his stint on Broadway. He had one helper in five glimpses with the Blueshirts the previous winter.
Hrivik has toiled for most of the past five campaigns in the AHL, including 16 goals and 40 points in 56 outings for the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2016-17.
The left-hander has scanned the Flames’ organizational depth chart and figures there could be a job opening at the Saddledome, but he also realizes that he’ll need to out-perform some of the up-and-comers and other ’tweeners during training camp or he’ll be en route to the farm club in Stockton.
“There was a bunch of teams, but Calgary was the one that was really onto it. They were really showing me a lot of interest,” Hrivik said Sunday from Slovakia. “They said there is a good opportunity for me. Obviously, I looked at their roster and Calgary has a lot of young prospects, a lot of young guys coming up. If that happens and I end up going down in the AHL, I just want to make sure that I play a lot and help the team win. I wouldn’t call myself an old guy, but obviously try to play in that role and help the younger guys out.”
Or, preferably, help the Flames in their bid for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
And score a few big-league goals along the way.
“Obviously, I don’t want to spend my whole career in the AHL. That’s not my goal … So I would say it is kind of like a turning point for me and one of seasons that I’ll really have to step up,” Hrivik said. “I’ve played a few years in the AHL and the past two or three years, I played a lot of minutes in Hartford. I would say that I’m ready for that jump. Maybe the opportunity wasn’t there in New York as I would hope, but I think the two-way game that I’ve played so far is something that a lot of teams in the NHL (want).
“Especially right now, in this stage in the game of hockey, you need to be a 200-foot player. I think that is one of my strengths and that’s what I’m hoping should help me to get into the NHL.”
ICE CHIPS: Linden Vey’s move to the Kontinental Hockey League was made official Sunday, with Barys Astana announcing they have signed the 25-year-old forward. Vey was limited to four games with the Flames last season but piled up 55 points for the AHL’s Stockton Heat. He received a qualifying offer from the brass in Calgary, so they will retain his NHL rights.
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