Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hard-hitting tryout Brett Ritchie makes case for contract with Flames

Hard-hitting tryout Brett Ritchie makes case for contract with Flames

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It’s up to Ritchie — a big dude at 6-foot-4 and 220 lb. — to make it happen.

The 27-year-old right-winger was a late arrival at camp due to quarantine requirements and must have been feeling a bit conflicted in Monday’s intrasquad scrimmage, anxious to show his bruising abilities but not wanting to leave a mark on any could-be teammates. He could have, for example, cranked Chris Tanev on the forecheck but wisely opted for more of a bear-hug.

Despite having to be a little more courteous than usual, Ritchie was still the most physical guy in the Flames’ final tune-up game and offered a taste of why he could be an intriguing add . . . if he is offered a contract. It would be a bummer if his isolation lasted longer than his audition did.

Ritchie is looking for a bounce-back opportunity after only 27 appearances in 2019-20 with the Boston Bruins. He was buried in the minors — too bad, since the B’s landed his younger brother, Nick, just before the trade deadline — and wasn’t even invited to their summer camp.

Brett is not likely going to muscle his way into this lineup for Thursday’s season-opener against the Jets in Winnipeg (6 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan), but he is the type of proven commodity that might be a sensible fit for a taxi squad.

In 268 career contests at the NHL level, he has collected 35 goals and 25 assists and racked up 659 hits.

During Monday’s scrimmage, he was spotted several times on a line with Sam Bennett and Milan Lucic. With the rivalries about to get ratcheted up in an all-Canadian division, that testy trio could really wear on opponents.

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