January 03 2017 02:00PM
The Calgary Flames have 22 healthy bodies on their roster right now, following the injury to winger Troy Brouwer last week. They've shown a reluctance to recall a player from the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat, likely in part because the Heat are doing so well that it would be a shame to pluck a youngster from that environment.
However, it seems that the waiver wire could be a fantastic place for the Flames to obtain some short-term depth. The St. Louis Blues have placed forward Ty Rattie on waivers and the Flames would be very wise to put in a claim.
Rattie could be a fantastic fit for the Flames for a few reasons.
He's young. He turns 24 next month.
He's local. He was born in Airdrie and only ever left Alberta to play hockey to join the Western Hockey League's powerhouse Portland Winterhawks.
He's a right shot. The Flames have habitually added a bunch of right-shooting forwards since last spring, if only to provide some depth to the position (and ideally to strike it rich when one of them actually clicks).
He's inexpensive. He's on a one-way deal this season that pays him just $650,000. The Flames can easily fit that under their LTIR-infused salary cap. The Flames also have only 45 contracts running right now, well under the league's 50-deal limit. Adding Rattie wouldn't handcuff them at all.
He's been very good at other levels (and is untested at the NHL level). He was a huge part of the powerhouse Portland clubs that routinely went to the WHL championship series, putting up 348 points in 269 games. He's been a superb AHL player with the Chicago Wolves, putting up 137 points in 196 games. He's only played 30 NHL games, though, and has scored eight points while playing 10 minutes or fewer in a bottom six role. He's only played four games this season (the last time on Nov. 28) and has been a frequent healthy scratch.
Right now, the Flames are 12th in the NHL's waiver priority order (ranked by points percentage). The teams ahead of them are Colorado, Arizona, Buffalo, Winnipeg, New Jersey, Vancouver, Detroit, the Islanders, Dallas, Florida and Nashville. Most of those teams could use Rattie, too. Claiming him wouldn't be a guarantee to actually obtaining him. But the Flames have the added benefit of Troy Brouwer's vacated roster spot and time to throw Rattie into the lineup to really evaluate him. If he's not a fit, they can throw him back into the waiver pool and not bat an eye if he gets claimed.
Right now, with some under-performing forwards on their roster and a seeming desire not to want to muck with Stockton's mojo too much, claiming Rattie could give the Flames roster a nice kick in the butt with an extremely minimal risk to the team. He'd be an extremely savvy pickup.