Flames Cut Pelech

CALGARY, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 15: Matt Pelech #56 of the Calgary Flames battles with Jean-Francois Jacques #22 of the Edmonton Oilers in the third period of the pre-season NHL game on September 15, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images)


According to various reports this morning, the Flames have made some additional cuts, the most interesting of which is Matt Pelech.

The big guy didn’t make much of a case to stay will the big club in training camp, but it’s still somewhat surprising to see him on waivers this morning. There’s little chance he’ll be claimed by anyone given the fact he’d have to make the parent squad of the claimant (in order not to go back on waivers). Given his lack of NHL experience and ho-hum performance this September, Pelech remains an AHL option more than anything else at this point in his career.

One wonders what this means for the big guy. Pelech is now 23 years-old with three pro seasons under his belt, but hasn’t shown enough progression to force the decision makers hand. While this doesn’t mean his window for becoming an NHLer is necessarily closed yet, it does likely mean his ceiling is considerably lower than his draft pedigree would suggest.

This news also suggests that TJ Brodie remains in the mix to make the team out of camp, something Eric Francis has claimed is all but assured.

  • He just doesn’t feel like a guy who is ever going to be anything more than a borderline NHL defender. Sutter gave him a chance to show that he can be better and he hasn’t shown much.

    With 10 points in 42 AHL games last year he certainly hasn’t shown any offensive upside.

    Time to move on…

  • Robert Cleave

    Pelech’s still struggling with the pace of the game, and I’m still of the opinion that losing half of last year set him back a fair ways.

    Roster wise, with all the injuries at forward and Kronwall not in the plans, I think that the Flames will carry 8 D until at least one of Moss, Kotalik, Langkow or Stajan gets healthy. I don’t think Stone getting healthy would be enough to bump someone.

  • everton fc

    The preseason has been the perfect storm so to say. The flames have been forced to play the young kids just to fill in the holes. Which then gave the fans a look at what a younger faster squad can do. Granted its only the preseason but I would have no problem watching the same line up from sunday night start thursday. No one should sell the farm on this team because there is still 82 games to play. Then the first round of the playoffs is the hurdle this team has to overcome. But this forced youth movement just might be heart and energy the flames have been missing in years past.

    • I’m not really sure we’re seeing any kind of youth movement here: Brodie played really well and may stick for awhile, but the other guys are around because of injury and will likely be kicked back to the farm as soon as everyone else is healthy.

  • It isn’t as though the Flames are telling Pelech to get lost. They’re just saying that they have better options right now for the big club. He lasted in camp this long so clearly he is close to being NHL ready.

    He’ll go back down to Abbotsford (assuming he clears waivers) and will continue to develop.

    If you are going to keep Brodie then that leaves 9 defenders in camp:


    All of the other 8 would need to clear waivers before going to Abbotsford. I would suggest that Pelech is the most likely of the 8 to clear?

  • Of course you could also keep Pelech around as your #8 (if you thought he wouldn’t clear) and move somebody like Staios, Sarich, or Pardy to make room (assuming that they are “movable”).

    However, he isn’t likely to develop much sitting in the press box in Calgary.

    Sometimes clearing waivers is the best thing that can happen to a player. A wake up call of sorts. Best case scenario sees Pelech go down to Abbotsford, continue to develop under Playfair, and then get called up later this year and force his way into the top 6.

  • Graham

    From a Flames point of view, another first rounder that looks like he is beginning to fade into obscurity.

    Pelech signed a one year deal earlier this year, the Flames have a number of upcoming defensive prospects that look like they can compete for spots in Abbotsford, so things are looking grim for Pelech’s prospects.

    He needs to take this ‘kick in the rear end’ and use it to his advantage in Abbotsford.
    Some luck (an injury free year) and some hard work may earn him one more shot… but it’s going to be an uphill battle.

  • Robert Cleave

    Staios would clear in a heartbeat for exactly the reasons JF laid out. He might get some interest at the deadline, when his cost is quite low in relative terms, but given his cap hit, there’s no reason to claim him unless you think he can play in your top 4. I don’t think Staios would make many other teams’ top 4s at the moment, and the few teams where he might have a sniff at those sort of minutes won’t spend any dough.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the players perception. The Flames blueline is hopelessly crowded (although that may change next year). The emergence of TJ Brodie certainly hasn’t helped things for Pelech either.

      He likely hopes to be claimed.

  • thymebalm

    Pelech just needs one full season of AHL time without injury. It looks like he’s had 3 pro seasons, but with injuries, it’s really only two. If Pelech clears waivers and stays healthy, he’ll be one of the go-to guys in Abbotsford. It’s hard to get momentum going on your development when you are hampered by injuries. If he plays 75+ games this season, he’ll be ready for the NHL next year. I thought he’d get a couple of call ups this season, but his age and waiver situation makes it difficult.

  • Greg

    I thought this was another first round fizzle too, but if you compare him to Commodore, he’s not that far off. It took Sideshow Mike a full 5 seasons (6 if you count the lockout) of bouncing around between the NHL and AHL before he finally stuck, and another couple to show he really belonged. I’d say given the injuries Pelech has suffered, there’s still a good chance he could develop into a serviceable #3-5 defenceman.

    I hope he clears waivers and has a healthy season in the AHL though. Another major injury and his career will continue to look more like Krahn than Commodore.