Season over, Flames return five call-ups to the Stockton Heat

Ryan Pike
April 10 2016 01:30PM

The Calgary Flames finished their 2015-16 season last night in Minnesota. Since there are no longer games left to be played, the Flames are no longer in an emergency roster situation. And since the emergency situation is over, the team officially announced earlier today they've returned five players – all up on emergency recalls – to the American Hockey League's Stockton Heat.

So farewell (for now) to defensemen Oliver Kylington and Patrick Sieloff and forwards Drew Shore, Turner Elson and Hunter Shinkaruk. They'll rejoin a Heat club that's desperately trying to stay alive in a playoff race and will be stoked about the additions.

Not heading back to the AHL are Joni Ortio and Derek Grant (both eligible but requiring waivers to go back) and Jakub Nakladal (who wasn't on the Heat's playoff roster).

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Saying goodbye to the 2015-16 Flames

Ari Yanover
April 10 2016 12:00PM

So this is how it ends. 

Not with the quiet deflation met 11 months ago, an acceptance at having been bested by a superior opponent while clinging to life with the skin of teeth. Rather, with personal bests across the board and smiling, youthful faces living out their dreams and getting a shot.

The latter is much more pleasant, but much more hollow. It shows a promise of a future: a future already met by the former. We already lived it. Not for long, but we did. And in comparison, this is cheap. 

Two steps forward, one step back. This season was the step backwards. It was coming, it was expected, but that doesn't make it any easier to swallow.

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Flames 2, Wild 1 post-game embers: 36 shots, 31 seconds

Ari Yanover
April 10 2016 08:00AM

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Photo credit: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports

All it took was 31 seconds and a couple of first-ever NHL points to bring the Flames up from the drudges of a 1-0 loss, give an old goaltender the best possible farewell he probably could have asked for, and pick up a completely unnecessary two points.

Thirty-one seconds, and a trio of unlikely performers.

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Post-Game: Backstrom's Last Stand

Ryan Pike
April 09 2016 08:23PM

It was a nice gesture by the Calgary Flames to give veteran goaltender Niklas Backstrom the final start of the season, which happened to be in his old stomping grounds of Minnesota. Backstrom played just over 400 games with the Wild and at 38 years of age, it doesn't seem likely that he'll be back in the National Hockey League next season.

But Backstrom was a massive difference-maker for a Flames roster full of youthful exuberance tonight, making 35 saves en route to a 2-1 comeback victory to close out the 2015-16 season.

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What's left to play for?

Ari Yanover
April 09 2016 02:00PM

The Flames are out of a playoff spot; the Wild are in. The only effect on the standings there is to be regards the Flames' lottery odds, which the players on the ice probably don't care about.

It will be the NHL debut for three Flames prospects, though, and that means plenty. In addition to that, there are a handful of seasonal and personal milestones still within reach. Some more likely than others, but reaching them could help add a silver lining to what has, ultimately, been a dismal season.

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