WRANGLERS REPORT: Jakob Pelletier on a hot streak

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Jakob Pelletier is perhaps the hottest player in the AHL right now.

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And the Calgary Wranglers are arguably the most popular team in the league.

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That second point is much more important to Pelletier, as you might imagine. The 21-year-old winger has no personality to look at me, even though his game inevitably attracts a lot of attention.

And right now, the way Pelletier plays is absolutely worthy of the spotlight.

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Heading into Thursday’s matchup with the Coachella Valley Firebirds, Pelletier had a seven game point streak that gave him four goals and nine assists for the Calgary Flames farm club. It’s the longest active streak in the league right now and that’s got people talking.

However, Pelletier doesn’t really listen to what anyone says.

“To be honest, I think for myself I try to focus on myself and I try to focus on the way I play. I don’t really read Twitter or Facebook or news,” Pelletier said. “It’s nice to help the team win and I think we’ve won eight of our last nine games at the moment, so that feels good to be honest.”

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The Wranglers are certainly winning big these days, and Pelletier’s production has been a big part of why. Their only loss in their last eight games was in overtime against the Manitoba Moose on November 13, and they have scored five goals in each of their last three games, beating their opponents 15-6 in that stretch.

Pelletier’s hot streak has pushed him into the top 20 in league scoring – his 17 points are 16th most in the AHL – where you’ll also find teammates Connor Zary and Matthew Phillips.

So yeah, it’s definitely clicking for the Wranglers right now. After a slow start that saw them go 2-5 in their first seven games, they’ve moved up the Pacific Division standings in recent weeks and have been on the heels of the first-place Colorado Eagles heading into Thursday’s game. They also had the third-best record in the entire Western Conference.

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What has changed between their slow start and their current blazing pace? Pelletier makes it sound like it wasn’t that complicated.

“I think we just play simple,” Pelletier said. “I think we tried a little too much in the first five or six games, but I think now we just play simple and hard and for the last ten or so games it has worked. We just have to keep it up.”

Drafted in the first round, 26th overall, by the Flames in 2019, Pelletier has become a source of fascination and excitement for local hockey fans. His first season of pro hockey went smoothly last year with the then-Stockton Heat, raising questions about how quickly he could make the transition to playing in the NHL with the Flames.

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With his current form, those questions are sure to get louder and more persistent, but Pelletier insisted he has no qualms about shutting out the noise and focusing only on himself and his game with the Wranglers.

He can probably be pretty confident that an opportunity with the Flames will come sooner rather than later, and he only has to look to former teammate Adam Ruzicka to see proof that the work you do in the AHL can quickly add up. translate into NHL success.

“I had the chance to play with him in the first 20 games in the A last year, so it’s nice to see him succeed there and it shows that it all starts in the A,” said Pelletier. “If you have a good season, you can move up and do the same thing he did.”

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

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Friday – Wranglers vs. Abbotsford Canucks, 1 p.m. Saddledome

Monday – Wranglers vs. Abbotsford Canucks, 1 p.m. Saddledome

Friday, December 2 – Wranglers at San Diego Gulls, 8 p.m

WHO SHOT?

Pelletier is probably the best player in the AHL right now, but let’s also take a look at Connor Zary’s game. The 21-year-old has nine points in the Wranglers’ last seven games, including four goals.

FUN FACT

The Wranglers make teams pay for taking penalties against them these days. They have had the man advantage 78 times this season, scoring 23 goals. No team in the AHL has more power play goals, and their 29.5% conversion rate is also the third best in the league.

daustin@postmedia.com

www.twitter.com/DannyAustin_9

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