Flames assign veteran Begin, five youngsters to Heat

The Abbotsford Heat received a second wave of players from the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Steve Begin was among a group of six players assigned to the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday.

Steve Begin was among a group of six players assigned to the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday.

The Abbotsford Heat received a second wave of players from the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, with veteran centre Steve Begin the outlier among an otherwise youthful group.

Begin, 35, has 524 NHL games to his name, accrued over the past 16 seasons with the Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators. He signed an AHL deal with the Heat in late August.

Defenceman Chad Billins, a sophomore pro, was also sent to the Heat. He was signed as a free agent this summer after helping the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, win the Calder Cup last season.

The other four players reassigned Wednesday – forwards Markus Granlund and Josh Jooris, and defencemen John Ramage and Tyler Wotherspoon – are all first-year pros.

Granlund, a 20-year-old centre from Finland who was picked by the Flames in the second round of the 2011 draft, was a teammate of Heat goalie Joni Ortio’s last season at HIFK Helsinki, where he posted 10 goals and 20 assists in 50 games.

Jooris was signed as a free agent out of the NCAA’s Union College, where he managed 12 goals and 16 assists in 39 games last season.

Ramage and Wotherspoon both participated in the 2013 World Junior Championships – Ramage winning a gold medal with the United States, and Wotherspoon wearing Canadian colours.

Ramage, whose father Rob won a Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989, was a fourth-round selection by Calgary in 2010. Last season he wrapped up a four-year career with the University of Wisconsin Badgers.

Wotherspoon, a second-round pick by the Flames in 2011, helped the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks to a runner-up finish at the Memorial Cup last season.

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