Quine still working to be everyday NHL’er

American Hockey League

NASHVILLE — You couldn’t blame the guy if he figured he had it made. 

Alan Quine had just lived his childhood dream, logging his first appearance at the NHL level. In a blink, the rookie forward found himself skating on the New York Islanders’ top line … alongside a bonafide superstar and in the glare of the Stanley Cup playoff spotlight, no less.

“My first game was a call-up at the end of the year in New York,” Quine said, reminiscing about that whirlwind stretch in the spring of 2016. “There was, I think, two or three games left in the season and they had already clinched a playoff spot, so they were resting a few guys. I’d had a pretty good season in Bridgeport, so it was kind of a reward at the time. And then I scored in my first game, on the penalty-kill. They sent me back down at the end of the season but brought me up again for the playoffs. 

“And I ended up playing right away in the playoffs. That was a crazy couple of weeks, too. At the time, it was like, ‘Wow.’ I knew I could play, but all of a sudden … I didn’t expect to be in the playoffs, Game 1, on (John) Tavares’ line. So that was pretty cool.”

Now employed by the Calgary Flames, Quine marked another career milestone in Tuesday’s 2-1 gut-punch from the Carolina Hurricanes, ascending to the 100-game plateau at hockey’s highest level. (It would have been more memorable if he had capitalized on a breakaway on his first shift of the evening at PNC Arena, or if his squad had not frittered away a third-period lead for the second straight contest.)

Some guys are still in their teens when they hit triple digits in games played. That’s not the case for Quine, now 26 and continuing his quest to prove that he’s more than a ’tweener — one of those dudes who can dominate in the minors but has yet to establish himself as an everyday NHLer.

“To be able to look back on it and say you’ve played 100 games in this league, I think that’s a good little accomplishment,” Quine said. “It’s a first step for me, I guess. You obviously want to play a ton more, but it’s pretty cool and I’m happy about it.”

The son of a pilot, Quine would be happy if he could rack up a few less frequent-flyer points this winter.

In two seasons with the Flames, he has been up and down like a yo-yo, already shuffled five times between Calgary and Stockton, Calif., home of the AHL’s Heat.

This might represent his best opportunity yet.

Recalled just in time for the 2019 Heritage Classic at Mosaic Stadium, Quine was skating Tuesday alongside snakebitten centre Sean Monahan — now without a goal in a dozen straight dates — and rugged winger Sam Bennett on what would be considered Calgary’s second line. 

After blowing leads in both Regina and Raleigh, the Flames return to action for a Halloween howler against the Nashville Predators (6 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan). 

This is the time of year for costume parties, but Quine knows he can look the part of NHLer on a full-time basis. 

The lefty averaged 1.27 points per game in Stockton last winter and also tallied three times in 13 showings with the big club. The Flames could use a tad more offence from everybody not named Elias Lindholm, so his recipe to stay in the top-six is fairly simple.

“This (opportunity) comes at a good time, and hopefully I can prove myself,” Quine said. “I think it’s just about believing in yourself. I know every time that I go down to the American League, I feel like I’ve kind of been-there, done-that. I’ve done a lot in that league, so I feel like I’m ready to take that next step. It’s just an opportunity thing, where hopefully you can get it and start running with it. If that’s the case now, that would be great.

“The bigger picture is obviously in the back of your mind. You know this opportunity means a ton. But at the same time, you can’t worry too much about it. You just have to play hockey and trust yourself, trust your instincts, and let it happen.”



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