Build Your Flames Roster

Calgary released their official starting line-up for 2013 yesterday. So now, after almost 10 momnths of wondering, waiting, debating and arguing, we can finally start discussing actual line combinations and match-ups for this iteration of the team.

For those who missed it, here’s the list.

Bob Hartley has been running with particular duos during training camp and there’s a better than even chance many of them will stick when things starts for real tomorrow evening. The most enduring pairs seemed to be Tanguay-Iginla, Backlund-Baertschi for the forwards, while the defense seemed to settle out at Giordano-Bouwmeester and Butler-Wideman.

Feel free to keep that in mind when constructing your line-up. Or not. For this exercise, you can go with what you think is most likely or what is most ideal. Or some combination therein.

My line-up looks like this…

The Forwards

  • Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla
  • Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri
  • Comeau – Stajan/Hudler – Stempniak
  • Horak/Begin – Jones – Jackman

Im willing to give Tanguay at center a chance, if only because I really like the second lines’ potential to do damage.

The third line is a dogs breakfast, but that’s true almost no matter what you do with Stajan at this point. The other obvious problem that jumps out is: who plays the tough minutes? It has to be Iginla’s line in this configuration, but that could be a disaster, especially with Tanguay playing center since he’s not practiced at that position.

Another option would be to drop Glencross down with Backlund, put Comeau on their line and then give them the most defensive zone draws and hard match-ups. Then move Baertschi or Cammalleri up with Tanguay and Iginla and give them as much of the underbelly as possible:

  • Tanguay/Baertschi – Cammalleri – Iginla
  • Baertschi – Stajan/Hudler – Stempniak
  • Glencross – Backlund – Comeau

This way, Stajan and Baertschi stick to facing other middle-tier forwards, Iginla’s line doesn’t have to take a lot of own-zone draws against other top guns and…well Backlund gets fed to the wolves and probably denounced as a bust again.

It’s a tough call. Also, when Cervenka and Hudler get back in the line-up, I don’t know where Stajan is going to play.


I agree with Hartley’s training camp pairings. At least for the top-4:

  • Bouwmeester – Giordano
  • Butler – Wideman
  • Brodie – Sarich/Smith

Gio is the best compliment to Bouwmeester on the  #1 pairing, as evidenced by some of their work in the distant past. I consider Butler and Wideman to be ideally suited to a second pairing at best, so it makes sense they’re together. I know that makes some people nervous, but if JayBo and Gio do the heavy lifting, I think Butler and Wideman should be able to at least tread water against middle-tier forwards.

As for the third pairing, as long as Brodie is playing, Im indifferent to who he is skating with think I figure he can float that pairing regardless.

 In Net

Hahaha, just kidding.

Anyways, those are my lines for now. We’ll see how things shape up tomorrow and how Hartley uses everyone and adjust as needed.

Now it’s your turn. Post your lines and defense pairings in the comments and let the arguments commence!

  • Franko J

    Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla

    Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri

    Comeau/Hudler – Cervenka/Stajan – Stempniak

    Begin – Jones – Jackman

    Bouwmeester – Giordano

    Brodie – Wideman

    Butler – Sarich

    Basically the same as yours. Only I prefer Brodie playing the Schultz role with Wideman and keeping Hudler on the wing. Stajan has until Cervenka is back to prove he belongs (barring other injuries)

  • SmellOfVictory

    Hudler – Tanguay – Iginla
    Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri
    Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
    Horak/Jackman – Begin/Jones – Comeau

    Bottom two lines get lower zonestart ratios, but face primarily bottom 6 comp when possible; the top two lines get a bit of a territorial advantage to compensate for the fact that anywhere from 3-5 of them are likely to be poor in terms of possession.

    With this setup, the 3rd and 4th line would both get about equal ES icetime, and I honestly think it would beat up on a lot of other bottom 6 lineups. It’s just too bad there isn’t a really good defensive centre to use there (I’m against the idea of wasting Backlund on a checking line again). Nothing to change on D, though; I think that part is pretty straightforward.

    Once Cervenka comes back, Jackman/Horak drops off and either he or Hudler moves down to that spot.

  • RKD

    Originally I had



    but now maybe


    the combinations could go on and on.

    Ok, one more:

    some wingers have to play C and some C have to play wing and just find that chemistry!

  • loudogYYC

    I don’t like Tanguay at centre, I’d do this:


    Tanguay – Cammalleri – Iginla

    Baertschi – Backlund – Glencross

    Horak – Stajan – Stempniak

    Comeau – Jones – Jackman


    Bouwmeester – Giordano

    Wideman – Butler

    Brodie – Smith

    Section PL5 – Row 22

    Begin – Sarich – Babchuk

    Once Hudler is good to go, I put him on 2RW and Glencross on 3LW, Horak takes a seat.

    • PrairieStew

      Iggy plays with Tangs and Cammy, keep them away from top competition. Put Backlund between Glenx and Stemp,and askthem to lift the heavy load against the top units. Make euro unit as strong offensive 3rd line. With Cervanka out, Comeau moves up. Horak goes back to Abby.
      I would keep Jay and Butler together as the shut down pair, and have offensive guys Gio and Wideman play w Iggy’s unit. Brodiegets#5 wwhomeveris healthy or playing well

  • loudogYYC

    I’ll have to go with that complete insanity I came up with. Because of our complete excess of wingers. Because, you know. Who needs centers, right?

    Cervenka – Tanguay – Iginla

    Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri

    Hudler – Stajan – Stempniak

    Glencross – Jones – Comeau

    Begin, Jackman

    Giordano – Bouwmeester

    Butler – Wideman

    Brodie – Sarich


    This operates under the assumptions that Cervenka and Hudler eventually both play at the same time, that Stajan is functional as the 3rd line center, and that Hartley doesn’t continue to undervalue Brodie’s awesome.

    It’s pretty obvious who would get the lion’s share of the defensive starts. My hope would be that the tough matchups would be reasonably shared (with most going to Glencross) and that the top unit will get mostly offensive starts. Even if that comes at the expense of every other line.

  • loudogYYC

    I’m just going to go with a Roster assuming a completely healthy flames squad.

    Tanguay – Cervenka – Iginla
    Baertschi – Backlund – Camm
    GlennX – Huddler – Stempniak
    Comeau – Stajan – Jackman

    Begin is a spare and Horak is sent back to Abbotsford, yes Horak is great and all, but putting him on a fourth line is a waste. I think he would be better suited to take first line minutes in the AHL.

    Bouwmeester – Giordano
    Wideman – Butler
    Smith – Brodie

    Pretty well everyones D will probably look like that or some close variation of I assume. Depending on the team they are playing and if Brodie/Smith can build upon their play from last year, I see NO reason why Sarich should be in any lineup, he’s a decent guy incase someone gets injured and can fill a role, but in no case, should he take a roster spot from a much more mobile, quicker, younger player.


    I’m not putting a back up because quite honestly I don’t see the backup getting a single game this year.

  • loudogYYC

    Any idea what horaks faceoff percentage is like? I noticed that nobody decided he could be used as a center (I do like jonesy) but what were his faceoff a like.

  • 100% healthy, and presuming that Horak is sent down to make room.

    Glencross – Cammalleri – Iginla
    Baertschi – Backlund – Tanguay
    Cervenka – Hudler – Stempniak
    Comeau – Jones – Jackman
    Begin sits

    Bouwmeester – Giordano
    Butler – Wideman
    Brodie – Smith
    Sarich sits


  • Willi P

    LW. C. RW
    Glencross Backlund Iginla

    Baertchi Cervenka. Cammalleri

    Hudler Tanguay Stempniak

    Horak/ Stajan/ Comeau/
    Begin Jones Jackman

    Bouwmeester – Wideman

    Giordano – Butler

    Brodie – Smith


  • Willi P

    Does Horak have to clear waivers before being sent down? I agree sitting him is a waste but he would be claimed IMO. This would affect my lines.

    I think Tanguay will evolve into a good centre so;

    Stajan sits

    Brodie/Butler-Wideman (Depending on Situations)
    Smith sits


  • PrairieStew



    All I care about is keeping Backlund and Baertschi together and Brodie plays in top 6.

    • T&A4Flames

      My opening lines would look quite similar to this. However, I’m ok moving GlenX down to the 3rd line and have he, Stajan & Stempniak as the hard minutes line. The problem then becomes only 1 of Hudler or Cervenka goes to the top line, where does the other go? Not the 4th because they’re not those types of players. Also, I like the idea of keeping the Euro players together so maybe Hudler or Cervenka goes with them and Cammi to the 1st.

      No more shut down line for Backs, at least for now. He needs to keep the offensive confidence going. May be later in the season he can start taking more of the toughs on.

      TJ has to be top 6; he needs playing time. Horak should be assigned back to Abby, he needs playing time as well. But I hope he makes the decision REALLY hard.

      There are just a lot if possibilities with so many forwards.

  • Franko J

    To start game # 1

    Baertschi Backlund Cammalleri
    Glencross Tanguay Iginla
    Comeau Jones Stempniak
    Begin Stajan Jackman

    Bouwmeester Giordano
    Butler Wideman
    Brodie Sarich


  • RexLibris

    Going LW – C – RW

    Glencross – Tanguay – Iginla

    Baertschi – Backlund – Cammalleri

    Comeau – Stajan – Stempniak

    Horak – Jones – Jackman

    Begin is the extra forward.

    Hudler draws in as the 3rd line LW when he returns, and Cervenka bumps either Stajan off or Backlund down when he gets back, depending on whichever of the two appears to be struggling.

    Defense (are there even options?)

    Bouwmeester – Giordano

    Wideman – Butler

    Sarich – Brodie

    Smith draws in at #7 but with Sarich on a short leash.

    I hadn’t heard anything about a new potential backup for Kiprusoff, so I’ll assume it’ll be he and Irving. Poor kid.

    On another note, does the Redden signing put aside any hopes of dealing Bouwmeester to St. Louis, at least for the foreseeable future?

    • Franko J

      “On another note, does the Redden signing put aside any hopes of dealing Bouwmeester to St. Louis, at least for the foreseeable future?”

      Does the Oilers’ signing of Fistric preclude the possibility trying to trade for Subban?

      • RexLibris

        I don’t see a Subban trade coming. Maybe in the off-season, but at what cost? It just doesn’t make sense, to my mind. For either team.

        They need a future 2nd line center, or some heavier players on the wings for depth.

        Trades that I would consider would be to try and negotiate a deal that would land Ekman-Larsson and Henrik Samuelsson from Phoenix. The Coyotes need prospects badly, and could use an injection of offensive talent for the roster as is. I’m not sure what would do it, but you’d probably have to start with Paajarvi and Hemsky, and then add some picks and other prospects on top of that. It’d need to be cost effective meaning that the Oilers might have to eat some money in salary as well.

        For trade partners I think I’d start to look at teams that were on the other side of the spectrum, rather than one like the Canadiens that were just undertaking a rebuilding process.

        Whatever they do, though, I sincerely hope it doesn’t involve any more picks from this year’s draft. The first rounder needs to be spent on a center, and I’d like to see players like Hudson Fasching, Tristan Jarry, and their like become Oilers prospects by next year.

        • Franko J

          I hate to say it but that’s makes alot of sense Rex. However, I think in order to get Ekman -Larsson though, the Oil would have to give up their first rounder Hemsky, and Paajarvi, where phx would then throw in a mid round draft pick to balance things out.

          • RexLibris

            If it meant Ekman-Larsson and Samuelsson are added, and depending on the range of that pick (14th or lower is alright), then I think that is a fair deal. It addresses a need for both sides and is, I think, something that speaks well of both GMs.

            If the deal could be negotiated in advance of the draft, it would be ideal to move Whitney at the trade deadline then and try to recoup a 1st round pick as insurance.

            I really don’t like the prospect of entering the 2013 draft year with no 1st or 3rd round picks (two 2nds, though) and were it not for injury and a basic requirement of the roster, I think the Oilers would have to look seriously at moving a player like Ryan Jones or Ryan Whitney as expiring UFAs. This draft is going to be crucial to the long-term success of this rebuild. Screw it up and the Oilers may peak early and then get hollowed out in a similar fashion to the Blackhawks. Ace the draft, and you can draft and develop at a slower pace behind a solid core of talent.

          • BobB

            Hey Rex! Maybe its pregame nerves after watching Anaheim hand Vancouver their helmuts:) but I thought I’d bug you. You think Whitney, coming off chronic injury the last few years, going to be a UFA, can garner Edmonton a 2013 1st rounder but you dont think Iggy or JBO would get that much. Interesting, I smell some Homer stripes coming off you.

            Also, there is a good chance our Oiler tickets on Thursday can be had because both my partner & I are having trouble trying to schedule it in. We have 3 seats lower bowl,3rd row, they’re $150/ each. You interested?

          • RexLibris

            The possibility only exists because Whitney is a defenseman and an expiring UFA with a minimal cap hit of $4 million, with less on the actual money side of the contract.

            I’ll absolutely admit that it is pie-in-the-sky thinking, but I have to keep in mind, if Gaustad is worth a first round pick to a playoff-bubble team, then perhaps Whitney is worth the same to a more secure team looking to add a (presumably healthy) top-4 defenseman.

            I’ve never said that Iginla and Bouwmeester weren’t worth 1st round picks. In fact I argue that they are and that moving them for exactly that in return is a critical part of my Calgary Rebuild exercise.

            There is some homerism there, but as I’ve said, being aware of my bias is part of the equation.

            Thanks for the tix offer. I’d love to, but I’ve got some commitments that evening as well. I had an offer for opening night but had to turn them down. Very much appreciated though. Let me know next time and we can swap – tickets for my signed Semenko jersey. 😉

        • RexLibris

          1st of all, I think you completely missed the point of my reply. It was a rhetorical question. As in, if a team wants a top pair dman, signing a bottom pair dman doesn’t make that desire go away. signing Redden has nothing whatsoever to do with any hypothetical desire the Blues have for Bouwmeester. I could have put it another way by asking if the Flames signing Begin means they’re not looking for a 1st line center anymore.

          2nd of all… you actually think you can get Ekman-Larsson AND Henrik Samuelsson for Pajaarvi, Hemski, and a draft pick? You’d be lucky to get Ekman-Larsson for Yakupov and a 1st rounder.

          That package might get you Yandle, but you’re severely underrating Ekman-Larsson.

          • RexLibris

            Sorry. My mistake.

            I think that the possibility exists for the two teams, Phoenix and Edmonton, to scratch their respective needs. It’ll have to be creative and the Oilers would have to find just the right assets to address the Coyotes’ structural weaknesses.

            That is a curious valuation you have regarding Ekman-Larsson to Yakupov and a 1st round pick.

            I’m not underestimating Ekman-Larsson at all. In fact, many of the Oilers fans I’ve spoken to aren’t very interested in him and would prefer to find a way to get Shea Weber or P.K. Subban. Ekman-Larsson is my target principally because he tends to fly under the radar.

            Phoenix’s ownership situation presents it in a very unusual position, one which could be taken advantage of if the offer were right. Don Maloney is a smart fellow with a history of looking towards the future, and I believe that if he felt that he could take one player like Ekman-Larsson and turn that into multiple assets of an overall greater value to a team-structure, he could be persuaded.

            Again, the price would have to be right, and it would likely be heavy. It might not involve Hemsky, but I include him because he is, in some senses, what the Coyotes need right now, an offensive player who can create and make those around him better. Paajarvi is the near-immediate future player, and then you’d likely have to include Marincin, Pitlick, and a 1st round pick in either 2013 or 2014. It is a heavy price, but the Coyotes have then diversified their assets, added immediate and future players, as well as stocked a development system with a few prospects.

            Were the Coyotes without Yandle, then there is no chance a deal like this happens. Having Yandle though, opens the door for possibilities. Just as the Oilers’ depth on the wings allows for the possibility of movement.

  • the forgotten man

    17 Jiri Hrdina
    25 Joe Nieuwendyk
    29 Joel Otto
    39 Doug Gilmour
    9 Lanny McDonald (Co-Captain)
    24 Jim Peplinski (Co-Captain)
    7 Joe Mullen
    10 Gary Roberts
    11 Colin Patterson
    12 Hakan Loob
    14 Theoren Fleury
    19 Tim Hunter (A. Capt.)
    22 Mark Hunter
    27 Brian MacLellan
    16 Sergei Pryakhin
    2 Al MacInnis (A. Capt.)
    4 Brad McCrimmon
    5 Dana Murzyn
    6 Ric Nattress
    20 Gary Suter
    34 Jamie Macoun
    55 Rob Ramage
    32 Ken Sabourin
    30 Mike Vernon
    31 Rick Wamsley

  • the forgotten man

    Assuming both full health and my hiring as head coach, these would be my line combinations, and scratches.

    Baertschi Backlund Iginla
    Glencross Stajan Cammalleri
    Tanguay Cervenka Hudler
    Comeau Jones Stempniak


    Bouwmeester Giordano
    Butler Brodie
    Wideman Smith

    Babchuck (assigned to abbotsford or siberia)


    I have a good feeling about this season.

  • BobB

    W/Y – Hudler-Tanguay-Iggy (vs 2nd’s)

    X – GlenX-Backlund-Stemps (vs toughs)

    Y/W – Baertschi-Cervenka{-}Cammy

    Z – ^Comeau-Jones-Jackman


    It’s not what most people think, but I personally think it’d give the best chance at success… until Cammy demands a trade.;) Hopefully, he would enjoy playing with the “skill and speed” and flipping between RW and C.

    I’d try and give the “W/Y” lines a clear message… whoever is going gets the “scorers” ice time. Against bigger teams Comeau and Baertschi can flip, cause that third line is a little small.

    The rest (D and G)doesn’t really need to be discussed in depth IMHO… I like what I see from Hartley

  • BobB

    I will add…. I would love them to pace Irving for 18 games, but that’ll never happen. Honestly though, we’re not winning anything (big- ie. the division, the cup) this year and we (likely) won’t have a goalie next year. With Irving, we need to fish or cut bait. After this year, he’s either an NHL’r or he works in the goalie section at SportChek as far as I’m concerned.