Awhile back, I took at look at the Calgary Flames’ prospect depth by comparing the roster at 2010’s prospect camp to this year’s probable roster. Now let’s do the same thing with the main training camp rosters.
First and foremost, bear in mind that the training camp rosters are ultimately a combination of (a) guys under pro contracts, (b) guys on professional try-out deals, and (c) really great junior kids from prospect camp who get a taste at main camp. Since we don’t know who’s getting a try-out from the Flames – and recent history suggests that we’ll likely see a couple – this may slightly under-represent the 2013 group.
2010: John Armstrong, Mikael Backlund, Carter Bancks, Lance Bouma, Rene Bourque, Bryan Cameron, Hugo Carpentier, Kris Chucko, Craig Conroy, Cam Cunning, Curtis Glencross, Ryley Grantham, Niklas Hagman, Ryan Howse, Jarome Iginla, Raitis Ivanans, Tim Jackman, Olli Jokinen, Ales Kotalik, Daymond Langkow, Logan MacMillan, Stefan Meyer, David Moss, Greg Nemisz, Gaelan Patterson, Jon Rheault, Matt Stajan, Ryan Stone, Brett Sutter, Alex Tanguay, Mitch Wahl and J.D. Watt.
2013: Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi, Carter Bancks, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Mike Cammalleri, David Eddy, Turner Elson, Michael Ferland, T.J. Galiardi, Curtis Glencross, Markus Granlund, Ben Hanowski, Roman Horak, Ryan Howse, Jiri Hudler, Tim Jackman, Blair Jones, David Jones, Corban Knight, Brian McGrattan, Sean Monahan, Greg Nemisz, Max Reinhart, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak and Ben Street.
Carry-Overs: Backlund, Bancks, Bouma, Glencross, Howse, Jackman and Nemisz.
There’s obviously been a bit of turn-over in the forward ranks. The most prominent guys who have been retained are Backlund, Glencross and Jackman, each of whom brings something different to the table. Arguably Jackman is the most surprising hold over, but it seems that management (and teammates) value what he does.
The roll-over in prospects and complementary players continues to be felt here, as bodies such as Armstrong, Grantham, Ivanans, Patterson, Cunning, Chucko and Sutter are gone, replaced with younger players with less physicality but more offensive upside. There’s also veteran bodies like Bourque, Iginla, Jokinen, Langkow, Moss and Tanguay – fairly useful players – who have been flipped for (or replaced by) guys like Cammalleri, Galiardi, Hudler and Stempniak. It does appear that there are fewer of them on the roster, which would be explained by the whole “rebuild” thing.
It’d be remiss if I labelled the changes from 2010 to 2013 as a clear upgrade. The forward ranks are a bit smaller and faster than they were three years ago, but thus far they haven’t proven that they’re appreciably better. However, the presence of more prospects and a generally younger bent in the group suggest that more future upside exists in the 2013 group that wasn’t quite there in 2010.
2010: Gord Baldwin, Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Breen, T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Staffan Kronwall, Josh Meyers, John Negrin, Giffen Nyren, Adam Pardy, Matt Pelech, Robyn Regehr, Cory Sarich, Keith Seabrook, Steve Staios and Ian White.
2013: Chad Billins, Chris Breen, T.J. Brodie, Chris Butler, Mark Cundari, Mark Giordano, Drew MacKenzie, James Martin, Shane O’Brien, John Ramage, Kris Russell, Patrick Sieloff, Derek Smith, Dennis Wideman and Tyler Wotherspoon.
Carry-Overs: Breen, Brodie and Giordano.
The defensive group displays much of the same trends as the forwards. Lots of turnover, with names like Baldwin, Meyers, Negrin and Pelech replaced with names like Billins, Martin and Smith. There are still quite a few replacement-level defenders here, but I’d argue they’re more competent than the 2010 class.
As for NHL regulars, Bouwmeester, Pardy, Regehr, Sarich, Staois and White are replaced by (essentially) Brodie, Butler, O’Brien, Russell and Wideman. The loss of Bouwmeester is huge, and the 2013 crew is definitely softer than the 2010 bunch, having lost Regehr, Sarich, Staois and White. The 2013 corps are arguably better puck-movers, but again, it’s hard to conclude that the 2013 roster is an upgrade.
2010: Henrik Karlsson, Miikka Kiprusoff, Leland Irving, Matt Keetley and J.P. Lamoureux.
2013: Reto Berra, Laurent Brossoit, Joey MacDonald, Joni Ortio and Karri Ramo.
Carry-Overs: None (assuming Kipper retires)
The Flames had one known quantity in 2010 (Kiprusoff) and four question marks. Now they have one known quantity in MacDonald and four question marks. I don’t think it’s disrespectful to MacDonald to say that he’s a bit of a downgrade from Kiprusoff.
Whether or not the 2013 goalie crop is an upgrade is entirely dependent on how well Berra, Brossoit, Ortio and particularly Ramo do this season.
The 2013 Calgary Flames training camp roster probably won’t be hugely different than the 2010 roster. The team will probably have a very similar talent level, but the composition is entirely different. Large, physical players of the Darryl Sutter regime have been swapped out for smaller, faster, puck-moving players. And, of course, previous cornerstone veterans have almost all been liquidated.
It’s yet to be seen if this change in approach will result in meaingful a change in results.