While a disappointing season has allowed the Calgary Flames to get many of their young prospects some experience at the NHL level, one youngster who has not made the jump from the AHL is former first-round draft pick Greg Nemisz. After showing promise in the OHL and his first two AHL seasons, Nemisz has tapered off this season, and presents an interesting decision for the Flames this summer as his entry-level contract runs out and he is slated to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Nemisz has seen 15 games of action for the Flames, but has just one assist to show for his time there. He was drafted after an outstanding season for the Windsor Spitfires in which he scored 34 goals and had 67 points. He would stay with the Spitfires for two more seasons, winning two Memorial Cup championships and scoring 115 goals over four years. His first season with the Abbotsford Heat was impressive (14 goals, 33 points) and he performed just as well (13 goals, 29 points) last season. A lower-body injury limited his time for the Heat early on this season, and he has struggled to produce when in the lineup.
The Flames have recalled Akim Aliu, Max Reinhart and Paul Byron this season and Mickael Backlund and Roman Cerevnka look ready to see a lot of ice time at center in coming seasons. That may limit the chances for Nemisz to have an impact, and the Flames will now have to decide if they are ready to cut ties with their former top pick or give him a few more seasons to develop. If he doesn’t start producing soon, he will make the decision very easy for them.