Unlike the first round of cuts, this one features some of the guys many in Flamesland expected to press for a spot on the big club. It looks like the organization is getting serious about the last few pre-season games and making room for the rest of vets to come in and get some reps in before the real stuff begins.
According to the Flames official site, 12 more players are headed to Abbotsford:
- Carter Bancks (LW)
- Chris Breen (D)
- T.J. Brodie (D)
- Leland Irving (G)
- Stefan Meyer (C)
- Brendan Mikkelson (D)
- Greg Nemisz (RW)
- Joni Ortio (G)
- Gaelan Patterson (C)
- Joe Piskula (D)
- Ben Walter (C)
- Clay Wilson (D)
Brodie, Breen, Irving, Mikkelson and Nemisz are the most notable names here. Brodie was able to parlay a strong showing into a three game try-out last year but didn’t even make it to the end of camp this time around. The demotion must also be a bitter pill to swallow for Brendan Mikkelson who was oddly picked off of waivers by the Flames last season from the Ducks. The franchise has shown an enduring disinterest in the player since then, making me (and probably Mikkelson himself) wonder why they would bother to grab him in the first place.
Nemisz and Breen aren’t big surprises since most onlookers expected them to need at least one more year of AHL seasoning before making the jump. Breen was hampered by injury and also needs to work on his mobility in order to challenge for a spot. Nemisz had a good first game against the Vancouver Canucks D-squad but was pretty quiet in both the regular training camp and Penticton rookie tourny otherwise.
Calgary also sent stand-outs Sven Baertschi and Max Reinhart back to their respective junior clubs. Both showed well considering their ages this time around, particularly Baertschi who was well ahead of the curve by my eyes considering his size and age. Another year in junior is the best bet for his and the club’s long-term health.
Surprising non-cuts include: Jordan Henry, Derek Smith, Paul Bryon, Roman Horak and Lance Bouma. The defenders are likely here due to the injuries to Brett Carson and Cory Sarich. Henry looks steady enough, but Smith was downright awful in his own zone versus the Oilers last night so I’m surprised he’s the guy the Flames have apparently tabbed to be the stop-gap.
Much to Matt Stajan’s chagrin, Byron and Horak might be in the mix for a bit of an audition on the fourth line to start the season. The club has seemed a lot more interested in giving both of those guys a closer look this pre-season than allow Stajan a chance to show his stuff. Like Nemisz, Byron had a big first game against the Canucks but has been relatively quiet since. You can see his skating and puck skills on display whenever he’s on the ice.
Horak might be the most surprising guy to me so far. He didn’t do anything of note in the young stars games and wasn’t notable in the regular training camp until last night, where he stood out as one of the best forwards on the Flames last night. Horak has flashed some really slick hands at times and seems to be a slippery guy to contain defensively. That said, it still strikes me as surprising that the first year pro has stuck around to this point in the camp. Feel free to speculate on whether his involvement in the Erixon swap may be "encouraging" management to give him an extra long look in the comment section.