Space was at a premium at Flames practice this morning, as the Calgary Flames had their first practice with their three Olympians back in the city. After a two-week break, the Flames are healthy, which means a ton of bodies on the ice and only 20 slots open against Minnesota on Wednesday.
For the record, the top two lines stayed together from what they were before the break. Matt Stajan was centering Niklas Hagman and Jarome Iginla while Ales Kotalik and Chris Higgins flanked Daymond Langkow. The Flames called up Mikael Backlund from the American Hockey League Tuesday, he was between Rene Bourque and David Moss on the third line.
However, that’s just over half of the forwards on the ice Tuesday. Eric Nystrom, Curtis Glencross and Jamal Mayers all skated together while Craig Conroy took reps with Nigel Dawes and Dustin Boyd on his wings. Brian McGrattan was the extra forward… or in this case, the extra extra forward.
With seven healthy defencemen (Aaron Johnson being the 7th currently), that’s 25 players currently skating with the Calgary Flames. So, is it a guarantee they’ll do anything big? Well, no, not really. Following the deadline, a team can carry as many players as they please IF they’re under the salary cap. If they can work around the cap, which is possible even with 25 players, this could be the team they have. Or, they could move pieces to acquire draft picks. And if there’s a homerun out there, I’m sure they’ll go for it. But as of right now, I just don’t think anything is guaranteed.