The Kansas City Mavericks' NHL affiliate is blessed with a deep goalie corps throughout its organization - a team strength that creates a ripple effect down the organizational ladder.
Starting the 2017-18 season with Mike Smith and Eddie Lack in Calgary meant that Jon Gillies and David Rittich occupied the net out west in Stockton, and thus the Mavericks received a pair of second round draft picks to tend the crease - Mason McDonald (2014 NHL Draft - 34th overall) and Tyler Parsons (2016 NHL Draft - 54th overall).
The midseason departure of Lack via trade last year, combined with some injuries meant a lot of movement for Parsons and McDonald throughout the season - a difficult situation that offered both young goalies a chance to show what they could do.
For McDonald, it meant a hot 3-0 start in Stockton and a finish of 3-1-0 with a 3.48 GAA.
"It was good to go to Stockton and contribute," said McDonald about his 17-18 season. "I hadn't had much experience at the AHL level and it was good to get some games up there and realize that I can play. Those games were a big boost for my confidence."
With the Mavs, McDonald went 11-14-0-1 with a 3.16 GAA and .894 SVP. It was his second pro season, following a 16-17 campaign in which he went 13-9-2-3 with Adirondack, including a 2.72 GAA and .897 SVP in 29 games.
With this year's Flames development camp, McDonald had a chance to showcase what he can do for a new staff in Calgary and Stockton. So, how was the camp?
"It was hard, actually," said the 22-year-old netminder while awaiting a flight home. "I'm pretty tired. It was a lot of work but was fun to be back out there."
The camp began with physical testing on Thursday and concluded with a scrimmage on Sunday afternoon that featured many up-and-comers in the Flames' system.
"With Cail (MacLean) getting hired (as head coach) in Stockton and new coaches in Calgary, it was good to show them what I can do," said McDonald. "It was good to get around them and get to know them."
The next chance McDonald will have to showcase his skills will be at Stockton's camp prior to the season, where he and teammate Tyler Parsons as well as first-year pro Nick Schneider are expected to battle for a spot on the Heat's roster.
"I want to show that I'm ready to make the jump to the next level," McDonald said. "I want to show more consistency to my game, show that I'm ready to face the shots at in the AHL. They come harder and the guys are quicker - I've worked hard to prepare and I want to show that I'm ready for the speed at that level."
In the meantime, McDonald plans to enjoy spending time with friends and family in his home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia and continue regular workouts on the ice. That doesn't mean he's not already looking forward to a 2018-19 season while setting some lofty goals.
"I won't set number expectations for myself, but I'll just stay focused on winning games and enjoying playing at the same time," he said. "If you're not enjoying what you're doing, what's the point? I'm going into the season expecting to move up, and hopefully that's the case."