FGD: A Pre-Season Tilt With the Rangers

Ryan Pike
September 23 2013 10:03AM

(you can thank ESPN for the pic)

 

We're eight days prior to the start of the NHL's regular season and inching closer and closer to final cuts. With 38 guys left in camp, there are still roster decisions to be made at more or less every position.

The Flames face the New York Rangers tonight at the Saddledome in their sixth of seven pre-season outings. The Rangers are almost on the opposite trajectory as the Flames – they're coming off a playoff year, they're poised for a strong season, and they're playing the third of six pre-season games.

THE LINE-UP

Calgary is enjoying a fairly productive pre-season, having posted a 3-2-0 record over their first five games. Now that things are getting serious in terms of roster decisions, they're putting together a line-up that is getting closer to being their opening day roster.

Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Galiardi – Monahan – Reinhart
Ferland – Backlund – Knight
Bouma – Horak – McGrattan
 
Russell – Wideman
Giordano – Brodie
Smith – O'Brien
 
Ramo
MacDonald

In terms of guys battling to stay on the big team, it's notable that Ferland, Knight and Reinhart are dressing, as they're probably on the outside looking in for final roster spots. With Reto Berra playing on Wednesday, we see Ramo tonight, as well as a defensive group devoid of young'uns. I'd expect we'll see two or three of Ramage, Sieloff and Wotherspoon on Wednesday, as well as perhaps Baertschi, David Jones and Jackman. Hudler and Cammalleri are nursing injuries, but should be ready for opening day.
 
In terms of battles, pay particular attention to how Derek Smith fares, as he may be competing with Chris Butler and the afroementioned kid trio, as well as the guys in the bottom two lines. Oh, and the guy in goal. But he should be noticeable either way.

The Flames complete their pre-season schedule on Wednesday at home against the Phoenix Coyotes.

THE OPPOSITION

The Rangers have 39 bodies in camp – they're without Derek Stepan, who is still embroiled in a contract dispute with the cap strapped Rags – and have been holding camp in Banff since last week. They lost to the Devils last Monday and beat the Flyers on Tuesday in their first two pre-season games.
 
Here are the Blueshirts line combos via Pat Steinberg:
 
Rick Nash - Brad Richards - Chris Kreider
Marek Hrivik - Brian Boyle - Danny Kristo
Taylor Pyatt - Oscar Lindberg - Jesper Fast
Brandon Mashinter - Darroll Powe - Arron Asham

Marc Staal - Michael Del Zotto
John Moore - Anton Stralman
Justin Falk - Stu Bickel

Martin Biron
Cam Talbot
 
The Rangers are beginning a span of four games in five days, including meetings with the Oilers, Canucks and Kings. So expect them to rotate through basically all of their available bodies in short order. Tonight they are boasting a fairly veteran laden roster, including Richards, Nash, Boyle, Del Zotto, Stralman and Staal. Going to be a stiff test for the Flames kids.

SUM IT UP

Five pre-season games down, two to go for the Flames. With 15 cuts left to make for the hometown team, tonight's game should prove very interesting, perhaps winning somebody a job – or banishing them to the minors.
 
Sometimes pre-season games are low-stakes. For some of the guys involved wearing red tonight, the stakes may never be higher this season.

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Now in his fourth 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 and the Wrestling Observer.
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#51 RexLibris
September 23 2013, 01:25PM
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schevvy wrote:

You're hoping MacIntyre is just for preseason Rex but the fact is he's totally going to be up there all season because he can punch faces

I'm wondering if he isn't a pickup until the Oilers see which way the Supplementary Discipline winds are blowing this season.

If it looks like the league is going to enforce their rules, he'll be dropped by the end of November at the latest because suspensions may start to have an effect.

If not, then he'll probably be around until the end of the season.

That being said, I wonder what McGrattan feels about MacIntyre's being brought on? The Ivanans fight is still fresh in many people's memory and I would hope, for everyone's sake, that neither team decides on a re-bout.

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#52 Avalain
September 23 2013, 01:26PM
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FireOnIce wrote:

Cammy had better get healing. The Flames are going to need him at the deadline to pick up another 1st or some 2nds.

Saw on Twitter that Flames MGMT is unimpressed with Joey MacDonald. Leaning towards Ramo/Berra. This was in the same time as saying that if they chose today, Monahan would stay on the team.

One can only hope Monahan plays like crap in his first couple games so they have to send him down.

Maybe it's unrealistic, but I hope Monahan plays amazing and improves in leaps and bounds every game.

Despite all of the debate between giving the kid shot in the NHL or being sent back down for a year, I don't think anyone really wants to see Monahan turn out to be a bad player.

I'm not sure about the statistics, exactly, but I would imagine that the players who come into the NHL and play really well tend to turn out better than the players who come into the NHL and fall flat on their faces.

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#53 Clay
September 23 2013, 01:32PM
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Flames might go 2 for 2 with Nylanders during rebuilds.

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#54 RexLibris
September 23 2013, 02:27PM
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mattyc wrote:

Brad Richards + ESPN = NSFW

Could've been worse.

Two words: Mike. Ricci.

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#55 Clay
September 23 2013, 03:20PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Could've been worse.

Two words: Mike. Ricci.

Phil Kessel

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#56 Clyde
September 23 2013, 03:35PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I'm wondering if he isn't a pickup until the Oilers see which way the Supplementary Discipline winds are blowing this season.

If it looks like the league is going to enforce their rules, he'll be dropped by the end of November at the latest because suspensions may start to have an effect.

If not, then he'll probably be around until the end of the season.

That being said, I wonder what McGrattan feels about MacIntyre's being brought on? The Ivanans fight is still fresh in many people's memory and I would hope, for everyone's sake, that neither team decides on a re-bout.

I'm sure he understands as there are a lot of tough guys to deal with He was brought in to the Flames the first time in part to counter macyntire a few years ago and if you google their fight you will see he did very well. In fact macyntire didn't play another shift that game while mcgratten kept trying to get stortini to go the rest of the night.

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#57 EugeneV
September 23 2013, 06:38PM
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Reading about the Leafs cap situation, do you want the Flames to go and sign Cody Franson to an offer sheet?

average annual value of

1,110,250 to $1,682,194 = Loss of 3rd rounder $1,682,195 to $3,364,391 = Loss of 2nd rounder

His salary last year was $1,200,000.

What to do?

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#58 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:01PM
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Minor question... whats the goal song candidate tonight?

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#59 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:05PM
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Henrik is in net? I thought Biron was supposed to start?

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#60 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:08PM
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Well I finally get to see how some of these guys look this year.

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#61 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:11PM
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Nice shift for Backlund.

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#62 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:13PM
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@aloudoun

Not sure. Hopefully we find out.

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#63 aloudoun
September 23 2013, 07:16PM
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Monahan looking good early.

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#64 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:18PM
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Good play by Stajan to make the Glencross goal happen.

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#65 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:23PM
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Brodie and Gio are seeing a lot of the tough minutes already. They might be a duo to start the season.

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#66 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:28PM
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The Rangers don't look all that good to start this one.

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#67 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 07:29PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Good play by Stajan to make the Glencross goal happen.

I think Stajan is going to do pretty well this season without all of the 'star' players getting the prime minutes.

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#68 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 07:34PM
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@exsanguinator

Yeah. A 50-55 point season is definitely possible.

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#69 Vowswithin
September 23 2013, 07:35PM
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firstrownow.eu for those needing a link not in Alberta

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#70 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 08:10PM
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That was an excellent play.

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#71 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 08:10PM
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Brodie leads a clean entry to the Rangers end and would have a had a clear shot had Stempniak completed the give-and-go. Instead, the play goes the other way and Nash creates a chance...that Brodie breaks up after coming back up the ice.

And there's a Wideman PP marker.

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#72 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:19PM
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So I joined the stream just in time for Galiardi to carry the puck into the zone, leading to Wideman's goal. Crazy.

Good game so far? I haven't taken the time to read all the comments.

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#73 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 08:20PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Brodie leads a clean entry to the Rangers end and would have a had a clear shot had Stempniak completed the give-and-go. Instead, the play goes the other way and Nash creates a chance...that Brodie breaks up after coming back up the ice.

And there's a Wideman PP marker.

I have a feeling my previous comment was denied due to profanity.

I have no problem with Brodie being in the top 2 for D. He has a really solid game.

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#74 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 08:23PM
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Kris Russell can skate, but he gets pushed around a lot.

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#75 exsanguinator
September 23 2013, 08:23PM
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Ramo is looking pretty solid.

I'm really liking the CAL/MTL trade so far.

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#76 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 08:25PM
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@exsanguinator

Yeah he's looked good by eye so far.

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#77 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:27PM
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Brodie and Giordano seem to work pretty well together.

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#78 mattyc
September 23 2013, 08:29PM
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@Kent Wilson

Yeah - he always seems to make a good first pass

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#79 mattyc
September 23 2013, 08:29PM
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What's the deal with Baertschi? I haven't seen/heard much of him in preseason...

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#80 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:32PM
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I cannot believe that Galiardi has been such an unremarkable third line forward to this point in his career. He seems like so much more than that.

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#81 mattyc
September 23 2013, 08:33PM
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@Baalzamon

I agree. I really like him. I liked him last year couple years too though.

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#82 clyde
September 23 2013, 08:37PM
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EugeneV wrote:

Monahan looks to be over thinking, putting him a fraction away from where he should be.

Seems to shy away from being physical as he is thinking about where he needs to be next, rather than finishing what he is doing.

Yes, he is not reacting or letting the game come to him as he is trying to be very safe.He looks bigger than I expected out there.

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#83 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 08:57PM
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I'm liking Ramo's mask.

Oh, and his game too.

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#84 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 09:05PM
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Whoa nice try by Ferland.

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#85 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:11PM
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Wideman likes running people over. Hopefully that doesn't apply to his driving..

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#86 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:13PM
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Oof. Where has that shot been all these years?

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#87 Kent Wilson
September 23 2013, 09:13PM
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Nice finish by Stajan. Read that again.

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#88 SoCalFlamesFan
September 23 2013, 09:26PM
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Hmm at this rate Stajan is due to get 246 points this year. So much for finishing in the bottom 5.

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#89 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:26PM
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Nash seems to be highly talented at painting himself into a corner. Or, more specifically, finessing himself into a washing machine. Or... something.

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#90 seve927
September 23 2013, 09:30PM
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Karri Ramo hasn't given up an ES goal in two games. I don't have my calculator, but that's got to be a pretty high ES Sv Pct.

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#91 Bezer
September 23 2013, 09:43PM
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I really enjoyed that game. The PP looked pretty good. It was no more than 2 seconds on the stick before a pass or shot. The Rangers PK looked like the Flames of old, slow. chasing and out of position.

I really doubt we win a lot of games this year but if it is that entertaining I am (somewhat) OK with it.

I am really torn about Monohan. Originally I was in the "Send him to junior no matter what" camp but he sure hasn't looked out of place. He hasn't been perfect but does sending him back to junior even help him develop much more? He might learn and develop more with the big team this year.

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#92 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 09:43PM
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Ramo has looked good. One thing, though, is that Henrik Karlsson looked pretty good in his first training camp and... yeesh.

But I believe in Ramo. I think he could be a league-average goalie for a few years.

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#93 everton fc
September 23 2013, 09:57PM
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How did Ferland look? All this talk about Monahan is great, but how does Ferland look against the pros?

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#94 everton fc
September 23 2013, 10:01PM
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Also, Bouma seems to be quietly staking his place on the long-term roster.

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#95 Baalzamon
September 23 2013, 10:15PM
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This is the first training camp I can remember where the Flames don't play against the Panthers.

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#96 Kypreos
September 24 2013, 06:07AM
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Victoria Flames Fan wrote:

I thought Ferland looked the best of all the bubble players. He had a couple nice chances, had 3 SOGs, finished all his hits. Don't know about advanced stats. I don't know what his ceiling is buthe has impressed me the most of all the U22's.

As much as an old guy like me loves to see a Russell manning the point (think Phil Russell) I am not at all impressed with Kris. Loved him as a Jr. for the Giants and Team Canada but I don't think he's matured into much of an NhLer. If it is him vs. Butler or Derek Smith, I'm not sure. I'd love to see Ramage up his game.

Get out of the past.

Kris has a different game. He is a good skater makes better decisions than Butler or smith. He is not going to run over anyone with his size but he is a reliable 5 or 6 pairing. Glad he is on the team.

He is a good Caroline Alberta boy!

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#97 seve927
September 24 2013, 07:37AM
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everton fc wrote:

How did Ferland look? All this talk about Monahan is great, but how does Ferland look against the pros?

I think Ferland looks good. I'd like to see him spend the year, or at least a few months in Abby, but it looks like he's back on track. His line, with Backlund and Knight, looked to be keeping the play on the Rangers side of the ice for the most part.

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#98 McRib
September 24 2013, 09:08AM
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@Victoria Flames Fan

Come On Man, Kris Russell was a Medicine Hat Tiger!!!

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#99 Baalzamon
September 24 2013, 09:15AM
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@Victoria Flames Fan

I've had no problems with Russell's play so far (aside from his game against the Oilers..) He was great against the Islanders, and passable last night (he was playing second pair with Wideman and looked better than Smith who was playing third).

Russell is a better player than Butler. Full stop. One of Russell, Butler, Smith, and O'Brien is going to be starting the season in the top four, and Russell is the best of the bunch.

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#100 exsanguinator
September 24 2013, 06:38PM
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Baalzamon wrote:

Ramo has looked good. One thing, though, is that Henrik Karlsson looked pretty good in his first training camp and... yeesh.

But I believe in Ramo. I think he could be a league-average goalie for a few years.

Ramo has a lot more playing experience at a much higher level than Karlsson did so my hopes aren't dashed quite yet.

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