Flames Cut Byron and Bouma



Calgary has re-assigned Paul Byron and Lance Bourma to the Abbotsford Heat today. Roman Horak, Derek Smith and Jordan Henry are therefore one step closer to making the big club.

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The Flames are still at 28 players thanks to the persistence of the three guys mentioned and the pugilists. They eventually have to get things down to 23, so there are more cuts to come. The delay may be to assess who is healthy enough to go once game one rolls around, with Bourque, Jackman, Morrison, Iginla and Carson still up in the air with various ailments.

Horak is easily the most interesting story in camp. I can’t think of anyone who expected him to come in and vie for a spot, but he’s been poised and nearly error free, which is extremely rare for a 20-year old rookie. If Morrison isn’t ready to go right away, I fully expect Horak to suit up in the 3/4 center position. It will likely be a short-lived audition, but it’s encouraging to see a young forward make such a strong push.

I’m less encouraged, however, by the team’s insistence on keeping around the knuckle-chuckers. Desbiens is probably the best of the lot in terms of actual hockey ability, but he still looks a few steps behind your average 4th liner to me. PL3 is serving out his suspension, but if memory serves that doesn’t mean he couldn’t be sent down to the AHL. Ivanans can’t be dealt with until he’s fully healthy and I’m guesing the club is waiting for him (and Jackman) to come back at 100% before they make any decisions fighter-wise. I personally wish they weren’t bothering with the role at all, frankly, especially since the Flames have a lot of better players already fighting over a few precious spots in the bottom 6. Oh well.

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Five more players need to be cut by October 8th. The candidates are: Henry, Smith, Carson, P3L, Ivanans, Desbiens, Horak, with wildcards Kostopolous and Stajan. Horak and (maybe) Desbiens are the only guys who don’t have to pass through waivers to be re-assigned. I doubt at this point that Kostopolous or Stajan are in real trouble, but I guess we’ll see.

UPDATE – Apparently Desbiens is subject to waivers, which is where he finds himself today.

  • everton fc

    To all those who gave me the business about Desbiens…

    Bouma is better off getting minutes. A guy like Desbiens – his development – is not hurt by sitting most nights, like Mikkelson did last year. And if someone gets hurt, Desbiens is serviceable, in the 4th line wingers role.

    Horak is this year’s Brodie. But he also doesn’t have to clear waivers if sent down. Important point. Same with Desbiens. If they like him, they can send him down and recall him, need be…

    Byron will play most of the season in Abby. Bouma is the first call up, if Desbiens is also sent packing. If Jackman can’t go, Desbiens stays. I think we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief when P3L is shipped west, and Ivanans is place on waivers, the to Abby, if he isn’t placed in I/R.

    Stajan was probably never in trouble, in terms of being cut or waived. Kosto still could be, but moving Bouma, and possibly having Jackman on the shelf, along w/Bourque, may save him.

    What’s with Bourque, anyways? Always lame. He’s like Luis Saha at Everton FC – one of the better strikers, but in physio more than a senior citizen! Bourque’s not that bad, of course… But seems awful fragile for his frame. Is his a groin, too? What’s his ailment?

      • jeremywilhelm

        Bourque, Iginla and Carson are all skating this morning with Lowry, that could be a really bad sign. From what I get, Carson is the most injured out of the bunch, so if Bourque and Iginla are both skating with him are they as bad as he is and they will both be sitting out to start the year? If thats the case, Stempniak just shot right up the depth chart.

        • On twitter today, I noted that I don’t personally expect Jarome to start the year. He hasn’t taken one contact practice since TC started and only recently began skating at all. That’s a pretty slow recovery schedule.

          • jeremywilhelm

            Yeah saw that on Twitter(I do follow you and most everyone covering the Flames, what Flames fan doesn’t at this point), took what you said and now what people are saying about whos skating at what time and with what group now has me legitamately scared that Iginla doesn’t start the year and make acctually spend time on LTIR.

            If Iginla and Bourque both don’t start the year on the team, that leaves a HUGE hole at RW, I mean Moss and Stempniak would be our #1 RWers, and I don’t know if you take Moss off the OMG line so that means Stempniak would be on with Tanguay and Backlund, I don’t know how I like that….. I can’t see anyone on this team being able to even half fill that 1st line RW spot.

          • jeremywilhelm

            Thats not really a risk per se, its more a matter a fact around the NHL, some entire teams don’t have a player on their roster that could take Iginlas Roster spot.

          • jeremywilhelm

            Entirely true, but we weren’t so fortunate as to be so bad for 5 or more years straight to draft a Malkin/Crosby or Ovechkin/Backstrom/Semin. Best we can hope for is that Feaster is right, and if he isn’t, hopefully Stempniak gets some of that lightning in a bottle he caught after his trade to phoenix.

          • everton fc

            Now this could be a full blog topic & when DSutter had that meltdown in Jan 2010 & traded away 2 of his highest paid players, Sutter actually commented on whether you were better off having a number of stars eating up the payroll versus a team balanced with 3.0-3.5 mill players. He then proceeded to give/acquire 2nd & 3rd liners that were in the 3.0mill established salary range contracts & stock piling these kind of players. He thought he did great signing Stajan & resigning Jokinen to 3.0Mill & 3.5 mill cap hits. Fit his mode of operande’.
            What is now evident is we have streaky 2nd/3rd line players who at different times catch on & come close to supporting their salary level & others that turn out to be poor value for the money. In takes you to the max of your cap & it fiscally limits the opportuntiy to roll deserving young players into the lineup. I expect nothing less than to see pretty well the same team as last year with similar results. Was at the game last night & the one thing this team terribly lacks is the creativity from players coming into the offensive zone. The power plays in the first period were like “oh no, its going to be a long friggin year”.
            This team’s “Star Power” is going to be carried by who else Iggy & Kipper. That’s all we got. JBO is paid like one but is just a very solid minute munching Dman & Gio’s star has not been acknowledged in the league yet but I see his time coming. We all know it’s way harder to trade or buy those stars, you need to find some of them from within. Finding these diamonds is tedius but inexpensive & if you have a true top line of bonafide stars, the team will still have the entertainment value. My last point is I see no value sending a kid like Byron down, stars are made in the NHL not the AHL. I know Feaster didnt have many fiscal options, I know I’m synical, but who wants to bet what this lineup looks like by the end of October, pretty well same ole same ole. 2 of Horak, Smith & Henry will be down in Abbottsford & one will be a 7th defenceman depending on the health of Carson. PL3 will be in the press box for most games & Ivanans waived. Sorry guys but this team has de ja vu written all over it.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      “To all those who gave me the business about Desbiens…”

      Just given it to your for the S&^ts and giggles. Personally, I’m on board, if we need a role player like this, he should know how to play hockey. For me the heavyweight role is an ineffective strategy and a waste of cap space.

      @ all FN
      You got me thinking about the heavyweight role in the NHL today. With the new sheriff in town (a la Brendan Shanahan) the NHL will be going through a big shake up. The natural conclusion of the all the suspensions and clarity of what will be a suspend-able act will be culture change. Both the players and coaches will have to alter their ideas of how physical they can play. No single play will be worth a lengthy suspension or the financial loss to the player.

      Question: How will this affect the pugilist? Will their stock go up, or will the role be eliminated?

      I ask the question because I can’t see how the likes of Matt Cooke will survive, in the long term. If these players are pushed out, how will it affect the game. Does this mean that teams don’t need a heavyweight because the cheap shot artists will be pushed out? Alternatively, does the heavyweight role become more important, since they will now be the only players to fear on the ice?

      • everton fc

        I know it was all in jest. Truth is, Desbiens let me down… 🙂 I had a strong feeling he’d get the boot down to Abby by the end of the weekend.

        Funny thing about pugilists and fighting… Lots of scraps in the pre-season. Seems this summers tragedies have not reduced the appetite. I am not against a good scrap. But to watch a guy like Hordichuk drop ’em w/Fedoruk… What’s the value?

        PL3… Ivanans… They have no skill. No offencive or defencive upside. If the organization thinks they can teach PL3 hockey, okay… Ivanans is not going to get that type of coaching…

        A guy like Shanny, in his day… Would have dropped Cooke. Everyone would have targeted him, including coaches. Don’t you think? If the guy is continuously signed by teams… If there’s a market for him (and the likes of Ivanans, for that matter)… Then they will exist…

        The heavyweights fight one another, generally speaking… The whole role is obsolete.

      • Vintage Flame

        “Question: How will this affect the pugilist? Will their stock go up, or will the role be eliminated?”

        I think it depends on how Shanny views fighting and it’s role. Clearly, right now, he is going full boar after the head shots and hits from behind.. But that’s a far cry from fighting.

        What might be the tell tale for Shanny’s view on fighting and the “pugilists” of the league, is when the whole instigator subject comes up in front of him.

        Like JF said before.. I have no problem watching a fight break out at a game. What I hate is the idea or encouragement of the premeditated fight. I don’t think there is a need for it in the game and all it’s doing is apparently putting players lives at stake later on in life.

        The whole notion of a guy playing 2 min or less of hockey and racking up 15-20 minutes in penalties, is a waste of time and a ridiculous part of the game.

        Get rid of the McIntyre’s, the PL3’s, the Brashier’s.. The list goes on. If players wanna fight, good on them, but I don’t need to see fighters try and play hockey.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          I agree wholeheartedly with your view on the types of fights that are acceptable as well as the kinds of hockey players that are not necessary. My question is more about how the current crackdown on head shots and dangerous hits will affect how these players will be used. I can see a day where one dimensional heavyweights are no longer a fit for any club, on the other hand you could argue at staged fights will actually be needed for some of the American and old school audiences that enjoy this part of the game.

  • everton fc

    Desbiens is in the line up until PLL and Jackman are back. Horak is in the line-up until Morrison is back. Henry and Smith are fighting for the number 7 D spot. I think the Flames carry 8D to start the season. It sounds like Carson is going to start on the IR. They will reassess when he is back.

  • everton fc

    Desbiens, PL3, Ivanans should all be tossed, waivered or whatever, there is NO reason to give them a roster spot over the following third/fourth liners; Bourque, Hagman, Stajan, Horak, Jackman and Stempniak.

    Depending on peoples health Kostopolous will probably be waived and save on the dollars, if he’s not playing why not just waive him or trade him if there are takers and save his dollars.

    Carson will probably start on the LTIR, haven’t even heard if he’s suited up at least once yet, even witht he 9 days rest I don’t see him suiting up opening day, so that means a spot for Smith or Henry, my preference is still Henry, but it looks like both are just the 7th Dman, so it depends on which you think will leat likely get picked up on waivers going down.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I’m disappointed Bouma is gone. I think Desbiens, Ivanans and PL3 are stinking wastes of a roster spot.

    I’m willing to give Smith a few more looks as he wasn’t bad last night against an NHL roster.

  • jeremywilhelm

    The logjam of enforcers is truly puzzling. I think Desbiens has looked very slow to this point. Guys like Jackman and Kostopoulos are better all around hockey players, so I don’t see the need for any of these pugilists.

    Speaking of Kostopoulos: I don’t see him in danger at all. Prior to camp, I saw him fitting in as an extra forward. I still expect to see that. Had Bouma stuck around, perhaps I would feel differently. TK is still an above average 4th line guy, who can fill in just about anywhere, and his paycheque doesnt hurt you either way.

    If we must ice an enforcer with the big club, my preference would be PL3. In my limited viewings of him, he actually has some speed, acceptable puck skills and can play an agitating role. Desbiens and Ivanans are tough to watch.

    Good for Horak, he has looked very calm and poised in his decision making, which is impressive for a guy with no NHL experience. He has shown some slick hands, and his face-off efficiency has been very impressive to date as well. Unfortunately, my bet is that he’ll be the next guy to go, once any of the injured fwds return.

    Don’t get what the Flames have seen in Smith. He hasn’t looked any better than a Mikkelsson, or any other fringe NHL D man. He’s been shaky in his own end, and I haven’t seen enough offensive flare to be impressed with that either. Speaking of Mikkelsson, I think he’s been sorta screwed over by the Flames so far

  • Speaking of Mikkelsson, I think he’s been sorta screwed over by the Flames so far

    I don’t think I’ll ever understand why the Flames grabbed him off of waivers. Maybe it was concern over Sarich’s health or something, but he’s been the ugly duckling ever since.

  • I’m a little surprised by this. I definitely agree that Horak has earned a cup of coffee, but he has never played a season of pro hockey. He stood out again to me last night but for the wrong reasons, it looked like he was fighting the puck.

    I love the way Byron has played, never shying away from physical play and going hard after pucks. I feel like he shouldn’t have been evaluated on the same level as other rookies trying to make the team due to his AHL experience. I noticed they tried both Horak and Byron on the wing during the game last night maybe to see if one of them could make the switch easily, and it looked to me like Byron struggled with his positioning on the wing and gravitated towards centre. Which tells me he might have been sent down due to the log jam at centre and being unable to easily adapt to the wing. Anyway I hope to see him up again at some point this year and hopefully the cut doesn’t crush his confidence.

    I also wanted to mention that Hagman looked great last night. Fed a number of beautiful passes that didn’t connect due to the receiver not expecting it.

    PS I agree that Bouma is the first call up if a 3/4 liner goes down, but Byron gets a call if a top six player gets hurt.

    • jeremywilhelm

      I think Byron struggled a bit in the physical portion of the game. The cycle mostly. Kid looks good on the rush, unfortunately unless his linemated are Tanguay and Bourque, no one can keep up with his speed. He can’t work the down low cycle game the mid level lines on this team plays.

  • thymebalm

    I was quite surprised to see the cut list and not see Desbiens name on it. Makes sense that he has to pass through waivers. Pretty physical, but no flare and he got his ass handed to him by biznasty. Hopefully he fairs better in the AHL.

  • everton fc

    Desbiens hitting waivers means Kosto’s safe.

    If Iggy and Bourque don’t start the season:

    Tanguay-Backlund-Stempniak Glencross-Jokinen-Moss Hagman-Horak/Stajan-Jackman Kosto-Stajan/Horak-PL3 (Hate to say it…)

    Go with 11 forwards for the opener? Or we could simply call up Bouma… as 4th line RW.

    If Iggy and Bourque can’t go, Bouma may get another look.

  • SickFloBro

    Has Horak really played THAT well? Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to watch any of the games that he’s played in.

    It’s a nice surprise…but do you think there’s any chance that his long stay has been helped by the fact that he was acquired in exchange for an NHL-ready player (Erixon)?

    I’m not really trying to suggest that he doesn’t deserve his spot…but that thought did occur to me. Keeping Horak up certainly makes the whole Erixon situation look a whole lot better, no?

    • Horak played pretty well, but the prrof will be in the pudding when the real stuff begins. I’ve seen guys have more impressive camps (I liked TJ Brodie more last season, for instance) only to fall pretty flat in the face of real competition.

      Horak will be a true revelation if he sticks around until November.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Why are there so many people whining about fighting , fighting has been in hockey since the beginning, if you don’t like to watch a good scrap go watch figure skating , hockey is going to be a non contact sport if everyone keeps whining about it , there is hardly any real decent hitting anymore and now some people don’t want fighting , leave the sport alone , the best hockey was in the 70s and 80s when a guy would be punished for standing in the crease , now they just poke him with there stick and try not to get in his way , no one wants to see anyone get seriously hurt but they get paid big bucks to do what they do,

    • jeremywilhelm

      If you like fighting go watch the UFC. I don’t mind hockey fights, but guys who can’t even play hockey have no reason to be in the NHL fight for no good reason. Let the Iginlas and the Lucics Of the NHL police themselves. They are the fun ones to watch. All I see when I watch Steve “shaved gorrilla” Macyntire and Eric “skull full of rocks” Goddard fight, is two pathetic knuckleheads wasting my time in a good hockey game.

    • Why are there so many people whining about whining about fighting, fighting has been a penalty in hockey since the beginning, if you like to watch a good scrap go watch MMA, hockey is going to be a skill focused sport if everyone keeps stops whining about whining, there is plenty of legitimate contact and plenty of people don’t want otherwise useless goons fighting, the sport continues to adapt with the times, the best hockey is yet to come, Ron doersn’t seem to really care if someone get’s seriously hurt because they get paid big bucks to do what they do. /Sarcasm.

      All mockery aside people aren’t complaining about “fighting” they’re complaining about NHL teams continuing to employ guys who have less actual skill then many Beer League players to fill a role that no one has ever statistically shown to actually improve a teams performance. For the record I don’t object to watching two hockey players fight, I object to watching two fighters play hockey. There are lot’s of activities out there classified as combat sports out there… hockey isn’t one of them.

  • marty

    desbiens down! now we just need ivanans ready for opening night vs mcityre and we are looking alright (i don’t actually wish harm on him just don’t want him on the roster) let’s go stajan! to abby that is, horak on the team.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I think one tough guy will hang around but will rarely see the ice. Jackman was the resident fighter until he proved too valuable last year. This brings up another point: I believe Kostopolous is in NO danger of being displaced. He and Jackman consistently played their roles and Sutter wants that.

    I really only have one concern. I hope they don’t turn Horak into what we had with Lombardi. A skilled guy who is turned into a checker in his time with Calgary.

    Wherever Horak plays it should be a role with offensive players and minutes. In Calgary, fourth line no, third or higher yes. Abbotsford, top 6.

    I saw the same thing with Backlund in the past. They keep him up, never trust him to play offensive or better yet punish him with reduced minutes on a lower line until he turns into a low risk defensive player. I hate that. It makes players play with fear of making a mistake rather than trying to make plays. That kills their confidence and they never develop their offensive potential.

    The defensive side comes with experience. Early on you have to nurture the confidence of players to make plays. That means you live with the mistakes. You don’t play them on the 4 line with role players .