Flames Cut 14 Including Baertschi, Brodie



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.

  • everton fc

    “Surprising non-cuts include: Jordan Henry, Derek Smith, Paul Bryon, Roman Horak and Lance Bouma.”

    Surprised by Smith, as well. Makes no sense.

    Horak and Byron are indeed getting a long look. Notice Stajan’s minutes last evening. Not good for Stajan.

    I’m pulling for Henry.

    Desbiens is hanging on! (Couldn’t resist, though he’s done nothing spectacular, he’s also done nothing horrific.)

    How long is Jackman on the shelf?

    • everton fc

      You really think Kosotpolous is in trouble? Never really thought about him… I’d be interested in your thoughts on this…

      A fourth line of Desbiens/Bouma/Jackman would be interesting, though Desbiens is a RW, as is Jackman. Then again, so is Kostopolous…

      With Morrison on the mend… Perhaps Kostopolous is expendable. I think Kosto played well in his role last year. But Morrison w/Bouma and Jackman would also be interesting. Morrison’s paid 4th line wages…

      Bouma being a centre… Stajan may be in sincere trouble. Morrison could also centre a fourth line, with Bouma moving to a wing. Bouma/Morrison/Jackman. Not bad, with Desbiens your floater. I could live with that…

      P3L, to me, is sitting in the press box most nights, if he even makes the team. I hope he is shipped to Abby.

      Still can’t see where Byron fits in. At centre, I mean. Unless on a fourth line; Bouma-Byron-Jackman.

      Might work. And Byron – could he centre Bourque & Stempniak? If Stajan’s cut loose??

      Might also work.

      I find this phase of camp pretty awesome, as a fan.

  • icedawg_42

    Baertschi was very impressive on a raw hockey level, but he needs to get stronger, so I don’t really think anyone could argue that going back to junior is the best thing for him. Im pleasantly surprised by Horak myself, he seemed very tenacious in the offensive zone last night.

    ……….and I’d love to see Stajan in Abby

  • icedawg_42

    The Baertschi and Reinhart demotions are for the best and I think it was Steinberg or Kent in another thread or on the radio who said if you are planning to do it, do it sooner rather than later, cause if you keep Baertschi for a lot longer than you run the risk of him not meshing with his Portland teammates when he gets back. So better to do it now.

    Not surprised that henry is up, watching the games he seemed like the most CONSISTENT flame, maybe not the best but he wasn’t the worst either, consistency is good sometimes. Probably played better than Babchuk did. Wouldn’t surprise me if he got the 6 spot playing with Babchuk on the third pairing. The last thing this team needs is Smith and Babchuk on the same pairing, ugh.

    As for Mikkelson, I don’t know whats up either, trade him or put him back on waivers(doesn’t he have to clear to be sent down?).

    Good for Bouma and Horak as well, hopefully they can continue their strong play and push a few of the vets.

  • Vintage Flame

    Not really surprised by any of the cuts made. Glad to see Reinhart and Sven sent back to the WHL.

    Surprised Smith made the cuts. He looked just terrible last night, while I thought Henry looked fairly solid. Definitely warranted more time.

    I’m wondering what Sutter and company see in Horak. He looked better last night but so far hasn’t stood out by any means. Be interesting to see what he does in the last 2 pre-season games.

    I agree with you Kent on Kostopolous. He looked pretty bad last night, so maybe his spot is in trouble. Stajan was just Stajan last night and just looked freaking terrible. Looked lost and out of position most of the time. I wonder if he called in sick a lot at Gary Robert’s training camp.. cause his skating was brutal last night. Doesn’t look in any better shape to me?

    • Vintage Flame

      Apparently Backlund might be injured/hurt, so maybe they are giving Horak an extended look as another skilled center that can slot in rather than moving the terrible Stajan or Kostopolous up the depth chart as both of them don’t deserve to move up. And watching Horak he looked like he deserved to last night. Have to see if he can continue that strong play farther into the pre-season, but if it conitnues why not keep him, especially if Backlund has to miss any significant time, or so help us, Iginla has to miss any significant time as well.

  • everton fc

    Poor Stefan Meyer. His whole time w/the club, everyone calls him “Meyers”!

    If Backlund’s hurt (any more news on this?)… What about Byron between Tanguay and Iggy. Is that madness? Or would Horak be a better option?

    You know… with all these centres… Is it me, or do we feel “thin” and somewhat small… In the middle?

  • Is Jackman’s injury the thing from the end of last season? IIR it was a knee or ankle thing that was pretty bad…

    Backlund being hurt is no good. Wonder what it is, as I dont recall any play where he looked like he got hurt.

    Mikkelson on waivers is good, hopefully someone picks him up so we dont have to hold on to him. He has been quite useless as a Flame – quite frankly, he scared me everyone he was on the ice.

  • You really think Kosotpolous is in trouble? Never really thought about him… I’d be interested in your thoughts on this…

    He’s a career 4th-liner with a pretty low ceiling. He has just one year left on his contract as well. He’d be a relatively easy guy to demote, cost-wise and it’s not like he’s going to be getting any better.

    If the Flames really think they have something on their hands with one of the kids, then moving or demoting Kostopolous wouldn’t be terrible. That said, I hope he’s not bumped for the likes of Desbiens or P3L.

    • everton fc

      Good points, on and all. He’d never clear waivers. Which may be good.

      I wouldn’t like to see him get bumped for P3L. Still don’t see Desbiens as the same type of player as P3L. More like Jackman…

      Your theory certainly bodes well for Bouma. In theory, of course!

      • Super_Gio

        I think Desbiens and PL3 are differnt types of players as well. I’d put Bouma, Jackman, Desbiens and Kosto in one category and guys like Ivanans and PL3 in another. The second category is guys we don’t need, the first category are guys who COULD be useful on your fourth line.

        It will be interesting end to the pre-season as the Boomer, Walker and Warrener were talking about this morning, the Vets will acctually start trying seriously now and will be interesting to see if that includes Stajan and Kostopolous, if not, Desbiens and Bouma could be in line for a roster spot come opening day.

  • Super_Gio

    Wait hold on a moment…Are we saying that Stajan ACTUALLY could be demoted? I thought he had a one way preventing him from being sent down? Any clarifications would be greatly appreciated as I do not want to fuel any unnecessary excitement.

    • One-way contract has no bearing on whether a guy can be demoted or not.

      The only contractual clause that can prevent a demotion to the minors is a no movement clause (the player can say no to being moved). Stajan doesn’t have one of those.

      The reason Stajan is tough to demote is basically his $4.5M in real salary this year. That’s a huge chunk of dough to ask the ownership to eat.

      • Super_Gio

        Thanks for clarification.
        Yeah that unfortunately is a massive hit..but when it comes to the organization wanting to win isn’t this a small (yet massive) price to pay? I guess we’ll find out in the coming weeks. My guess is he stays with the big club..ugh.

  • xis10ce

    I was really hoping for a big come back this year from Stajan given how hard he supposedly trained over the summer but that doesn’t look good right now after seeing him play in the preseason.

    It remains to be seen if he shapes up his play come the regular season.

    I’m still hoping that some team looking to hit the cap floor will eat his 2.5mil next year for moneypuck and take him off our hands, but that also might be a pipe dream.

    • Really depends on what we do this year. If we go in the crapper farther this year, we could always put Stajan on a line with Iggy and Tanguay, feed them 60%+ zone starts and try to just rack up points and make him look like a valuable player, someone dumb enough will trade for him in the offseason(if the deals this year are any indication). If we bury him, probably be really hard to move in the offseason. But chances are if we have to bury him its cause other guys are stepping up, which means maybe playoffs, which means extra money to bury his ass in the AHL next season. And maybe he lights it up there and some dumb GM takes him off our hands his last season of that contract.

  • Not surprised by any of those moves whatsoever.

    Baertschi and Reinhart aren’t NHL ready, so there’s no sense in playing them in the regular season if you can get them back to their junior teams for the start of the season.

    Brodie isn’t NHL ready, plain and simple. Mikkelson hasn’t been impressive at all either.

  • everton fc

    Stajan would have to clear waivers…

    The organization can hope he doesn’t.

    To play devil’s advocate, what kind of linemates did Stajan have in the pre-season? Could he actually look better with better linemates?

    Sure… I’m stretching.

    Also – we have a lot of right wings. Iginla/Moss/Stempniak/Hagman/Jackman/Kostopolous/Desbiens… Morrison, when the need be…

    I wonder if Moss doesn’t get a longer look at centre. Maybe between Bourque and Stempniak, or between Tanguay and Iginla, if Backlund can go in the opener.

    We shall see…

    • That’s where Stajan is at with the org at this point. He has to basically prove them wrong. So unless he outshines his circumstances, he’s probably not going to convince Sutter to move him up the rotation.

      • everton fc

        I know. And I 100% agree. Bouma has more upside, at the moment. In terms of the organization looking at how someone plays with better linemates…

        If he could only be picked up off waivers…


        “I think the third line is Stempniak Stajan Hagman because of the NHL experience plus that line should put up points against opponent bottom 6.”

        Stempniak’s a RW, correct? I could see Bourque/Stajan/Stempniak as a more likely… But like I said earlier, we have a glut of guys at RW. If Moss is moved to centre, then I think your RWs are Iginla/Stempniak/Hagman/Jackman, with Kent’s comments on Kosto being on the bubble more valid. Perhaps Desbiens rides the pines as the extra forward.

        Who knows?!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    On a Brent Sutter coached team, what does he want out of his 3 and 4 lines? I think he doesn’t want goals against so the question is who does he trust to be defensively responsible in those slots?
    I think the third line is Stempniak Stajan Hagman because of the NHL experience plus that line should put up points against opponent bottom 6. I think Byron’s offensive upside isn’t enough for Brent to play him all year. Basically Byron is a top 6 replacement (injuries or poor performance).
    Jackman and Kotsopolus earned the trust and minutes. My guess is Bouma fits with those two.
    Stajan needs to show he can be strong on the puck down low. Too many times last hear he was out muscled and a lot of cycles got busted when he had the puck. The points should come as he does have talent but to win over Sutter he has to show more battle.
    The big issue for Calgary is the d corps. With the Injuries and change over how that group meshes with Kipper is going to go a long way in determining how the season will go. Kipper needs to be able to trust how the d play in front of him, so he can play aggressively and decisively. The biggest coaching job is going to fall on Hartsburg.
    Personally I would have liked a Byron Bartschi Backlund third line and live with the mistakes in order to generate some dynamic offense but I know that will never happen.

  • On a Brent Sutter coached team, what does he want out of his 3 and 4 lines?

    I think he’ll want what he had last year – a line that can outplay other 4th lines. Whether that means Byron, Stajan, Bouma etc. remains to be seen.

    The idea that you can’t have an offensive type player on the 4th line is a bit misleading I think. There’s reasons you don’t typically see 4th line offensive players – offense is usually expensive and highly valued, so those guys almost always get better assignments. In addition playing on the 4th line means you get the least amount of opportunity to put up points…so the assignment becomes something of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    That said, I don’t think you *can’t* have a guy like Byron in the 4th line. Mikael Backlund had a pretty decent season between Jackman and Kostopolous for the most part and it was that experience which allowed to take a few steps forward and really get his legs under him.

    Frankly, if the team is done with Stajan and they think Byron can hack it in the big league, then I couldn’t imagine a better apprenticeship for the rookie.

    • everton fc

      I like Byron slotted between Bouma and Jackman. He’s small. This was the reason some say he couldn’t crack the Sabres lineup – too small, no big guys to sandwhich him between.

      These two bookends would provide him more than adequate protection…

      Kostopolous/Byron/Jackman would also provide a similar effect, but I think Bouma has more offencive upside than Kostopolous, even if he hasn’t shown the same in juniors… and at Abby.

      I think of Bouma as a Nystrom-type, potentially. The kind of guy who’s steady, and can perform under pressure, particularly in the playoffs, as he seems to have in the WHL.

      It’s fun speculation, hey?!

  • I wish that at least 2 or 3 young players would stick on the team , have to generate youth and excitement , and the fans need sone hope for the future , let some of the young guys play and see how it goes , let Stajan and who ever else sucks sit in the press box or go to the minors, we have to start somewhere , common flames , ken king should be fired also , what’s going to happen to iggy and kipper if at the half way mark we are almost out of a playoff spot ??

    • Vintage Flame

      Since Kipper is in the last year of his NMC, if the Flames are in that much trouble there may be takers on him. Depends where the team that comes looking is sitting in the standings. No matter what happens,I don’t see the Flames moving Iggy. Just don’t see the possibility of it whatsoever.

  • I think the same could be said of Byron and Horak. Both have had one or two good shifts in the preseason, but I don’t feel they’ve stood out in any way. That “great” game that Byron had against the Canucks? I thought he made one good move, and otherwise simply survived alongside Tangs and Bourque – against AHLers. I do wonder if it’s simply trying to create this illusion that the prospects they acquired this summer are close to being NHLers. If Paul Byron was drafted and developed by the Flames from day one, does he survive today’s cuts? I would suggest not, based on the decisions made with Howse and Brodie. Yet we continue to hear Jay tell us how he’s been impressed with Byron and Horak in camp.

    Having said that, I didnt see last night’s game in its entirety. I recorded the game on VHS (yup, I’m that guy), so I’ll watch it tonight (yup, I’m that guy) and rightfully revoke any of the above comments if I’m blown away by either player. Based on what I heard from Brent, I expect to be very impressed with Horak.

    Bare minimum, it’s nice to have some youngsters to discuss and debate over this year. Training camp in recent years has been truly painful without that element.