Pelletier jokes about number change: 'Easier' for coaches to remember No. 22
Calgary Flames rookie Jakob Pelletier was in a humorous mood when he explained why he switched from No. 49 to No. 22 this offseason.
"I think it's easier for the coaches to kind of know the No. 22 (than) the No. 49," he said with a laugh.
Pelletier's comment appears to be a lighthearted reference to former Flames head coach Darryl Sutter's remarks about the youngster's NHL debut in January. When asked about Pelletier's performance, Sutter asked, "What number is he?" before reading out his stats in a flat tone.
Forward Jonathan Huberdeau said in May that he and his teammates "were all disappointed" with the way Sutter reacted to Pelletier's debut.
Pelletier, a Quebec native, joked Monday that his playful jab was just "bad English" before explaining the real reason for his number change.
The 22-year-old winger revealed that his grandma "loves" No. 22. He also said he wore it when he was younger. In addition, the digits are a nod to Alexander Radulov, who had his No. 22 jersey retired by the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts after he played for the team from 2004-06.
"When I was young, he was my first idol when he played for Quebec," Pelletier said. "He was unbelievable."
Trevor Lewis wore No. 22 with the Flames last season but signed with the Los Angeles Kings in July. Calgary general manager Craig Conroy also rocked those digits while with the Flames from 2001-04.
"I called him in the summer and I said, 'What number do you want?'" Conroy said, per the Calgary Sun's Wes Gilbertson. "And he said, 'Well, if I could pick any number, I'd take 22.' I said, 'Ooh, you might be kissing a little butt here.' He's like, 'What?' I told him, 'That was my number!' He didn't know that."
Pelletier amassed three goals and seven points over 24 games last season.
The Flames' 2023-24 campaign kicks off Oct. 11 against the Winnipeg Jets.