Random Thoughts - July 6 2013

Ryan Pike
July 08 2013 07:24AM

 

 

I was in Las Vegas during the annual NHL free agency frenzy and had these thoughts on the Flames moves from inside various casinos and sports bars.

THE ROSTER, AS IT STANDS

After the latest group of signings, the Flames have 37 players under contract for this coming season, with another eight guys (including T.J. Brodie and Mikael Backlund) being restricted free agents. Essentially, most of the roster work is done as that puts them at about 45 bodies under deals. We may see one or two tweaks, probably minor league guys to keep Abbotsford competitive, but this is what the team will be next year.

The Flames have, by my fuzzy math, 21 players on one-way pacts: goalies Karri Ramo and Joey MacDonald, defenders Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Shane O'Brien, Kris Russell, Derek Smith, Chris Butler (and eventually T.J. Brodie), and forwards Mike Cammalleri, Jiri Hudler, Curtis Glencross, Blair Jones, David Jones, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, T.J. Galiardi, Brian McGrattan, Tim Jackman (and eventually Mikael Backlund).

The forward group lacks an elite centre - or elite anything for that matter. The top nine group shows some promise but has a couple holes, but that may allow guys like Sven Baertschi and Sean Monahan – or even Roman Horak – to step in without displacing anybody.

I'd expect McGrattan to be in and out of the line-up depending on the opposition, but that probably means there's going to be opportunities for the Boumas and Reinharts of the world to get a roster spot, particularly given that Blair Jones was sent down to the farm by this coaching staff already last year. One-way or not, I wouldn't expect him to be a lock.

On the back-end, it's actually pretty decent, although it lacks a top guy outside of (maybe?) T.J. Brodie. The remaining skaters are decent second and third-pairing options, although circumstances will dictate some of them eating top-pairing minutes, which has posed a problem in the past. And given it's seven guys under one-ways, you could expect some movement here – either to the farm or to another team – if Flames management decides it would like to see Mark Cundari or Chris Breen on the main roster.

The goaltending tandem is what it is – nobody's sure which two bodies will be there, but given that Ramo and MacDonald have one-ways, I'd give them the edge. That said, I doubt that would stop management from shelving somebody who doesn't belong on the NHL roster. Competition should be fierce at camp this fall.

THE FUTURE, AS IT LOOKS

We're coming up on my favourite time of the year: Calgary Flames development camp. While the tone of the coverage of the main roster may be all doom and gloom of late, development camp has become more of a spot for optimism.

The official roster and schedule have yet to be released by the club, but the camp will be July 10-15 at Winsport. Here's a list of players you can reasonably expect to see there, given that they're either unsigned draftees or on entry-level deals

Forwards: Corban Knight, Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Ben Hanowski, Max Reinhart, Ryan Howse, Roman Horak, Michael Ferland, Ben Street, Turner Elson, David Eddy, Coda Gordon, Morgan Klimchuk, Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, Kenny Agostino, Bill Arnold, Johnny Gaudreau, Tim Harrison, Mark Jankowski and Matt Deblouw

Defensemen: Tyler Wotherspoon, John Ramage, James Martin, Brett Kulak, Keegan Kanzig, Eric Roy, Ryan Culkin, Patrick Sieloff, Rushan Rafikov and John Gilmour

Goalies: Reto Berra, Laurent Brossoit, Joni Ortio and Jon Gillies

Granted, this isn't an exhaustive list of potential invites – the club usually has five or six college or junior free agents they invite on try-outs – but it's a pretty promising group of names. The forward group, in particular, reflects how much improvement the Flames' scouting and drafting has shown in the last few years. I'm sure we can all remember four or five years back and see the jump in offensive talent and creativity up front.

It'll also be fans' first chance to see a lot of guys on the ice. The FlamesNation crew should be at a good number of the sessions – I'm endeavouring to be there everyday – so if there's anybody you're jonesing for coverage of or merely want to know a bit more about, let us know in the comments.

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Now in his third full season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers, the Wrestling Observer and Tough Talk MMA.
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#51 Thprop1
July 08 2013, 05:07PM
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I want someone to ask Jonny G if he looks forward to playing in Calgary. Preface it with "Calgary fans are nervous etc. " Just to see how he answers.

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#52 MangoTanker
July 08 2013, 05:18PM
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I'd appreciate if you could keep an extra eye out for Brett Kulak, Ryan. He put up alot of points last year in Vancouver, but he was on one of the worst teams in the entire CHL. Very interested to see how he looks in this camp.

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#53 TheBear64
July 08 2013, 05:29PM
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I am moderately optimistic about the Flames this coming season. No going back to the "patch-em-up and hope we make the playoffs" system we've seen for so many years. I really like that some of the young players are going to get a decent shot this season; you need to develop those guys because that's where your future is.

I think Sean Monahan is going to be a really good player, but I doubt whether he's ready to step in right away. Probably a good idea to give him at least another year of junior, maybe shift him to the AHL late in the season and see how he does there.If he looks good there, then maybe give him a look with the big club early the following season.

The most encouraging thing is, I think the team is finally moving in the right direction. It might take a few years to get back to being a competitive team, but this is how it needs to be done; build from within rather than trying to fix things up with a band-aid approach.

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#54 Tony
July 08 2013, 05:33PM
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Development camp rosters released:

http://flames.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=677255

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#55 T&A4Flames
July 08 2013, 06:31PM
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Bezer wrote:

I'm very excited to see how Sieloff has developed after a year with Windsor. I like what he brings with his physical game. Something I think the Flames are missing on D other than maybe SOB.

Yes, Sieloff. Both he and Janko seemed to start slow, maybe a little timid at last years camp but picked it up after a couple days. It'll be interesting to see if they come in with a bit more swagger now that they know what to expect.

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#56 T&A4Flames
July 08 2013, 06:32PM
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@McRib

"Mark Jankowski was not a couple weeks from being in this years draft he was two days (Sept 15), Haha."

Just for interest sake, Janko is just under (1day) a month older than Monahan.

Edit: I see that has already been said a few times.

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#57 T&A4Flames
July 08 2013, 06:45PM
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Parallex wrote:

No interest from me. I like Couturier as much as the next guy but the team should be looking to add young talent not exchange it (and certainly not in greater numbers going the other way). There are to many question marks regarding the teams probable final placement for me to be interested in moving a 1st. If I thought there was a high probability of the team being at least a bubble team I'd make that trade but I think there is at least as much a chance that the team ends up drafting a Reinhart/Ekblad/Nylander.

Besides which Gio is basically the next captain of the team I don't see why the team would want to exchange him for Mezaros (nor why the Flyers would consider that a salary dump considering the small difference in cost between the two).

I would trade for Couts in a heart beat. But as you said, the cost has to be worth it. If Gio is the guy, then it makes sense that it would be Timonen and his $6mil salary coming back.

So Gio, maybe Horak and a 2nd at most for Couts and Timonen is what I would consider.

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#58 loudogYYC
July 08 2013, 10:50PM
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@T&A4Flames

They re-signed Timonen in January 2013. I'm pretty sure he's part of the solution in Philly. Meszaros on the other hand...

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#59 T&A4Flames
July 09 2013, 07:20AM
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@loudogYYC

Timonen was signed for one year. And since when does anyone put stock in Homer keeping players he's signed, regardless of the time he signed them.

I'm just saying, taking back and clearing up over 4mil in salaries for PHI should bring back an asset like Couturier. Especially if we send a player like Giordano that improves their back end and is signed for 2 or 3 more years.

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#60 Veggie Dog
July 09 2013, 11:16AM
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Mezaros actually makes slightly less than Gio, so there is not likely any benefit for PHI in that.

And as others have pointed out, Pronger's $ can be deducted for LTIR I think, so PHI is not as up against it as they look like.

Unlike VAN, CAR and PITT, Philly already has 24 players signed. We can always hope that Holmgren does something nutty over the summer and gets in more cap trouble though.

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