FGD: A Pre-Season Tilt With the Rangers

(you can thank ESPN for the pic)


We’re eight days prior to the start of the NHL’s regular season and inching closer and closer to final cuts. With 38 guys left in camp, there are still roster decisions to be made at more or less every position.

The Flames face the New York Rangers tonight at the Saddledome in their sixth of seven pre-season outings. The Rangers are almost on the opposite trajectory as the Flames – they’re coming off a playoff year, they’re poised for a strong season, and they’re playing the third of six pre-season games.


Calgary is enjoying a fairly productive pre-season, having posted a 3-2-0 record over their first five games. Now that things are getting serious in terms of roster decisions, they’re putting together a line-up that is getting closer to being their opening day roster.

Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
Galiardi – Monahan – Reinhart
Ferland – Backlund – Knight
Bouma – Horak – McGrattan
Russell – Wideman
Giordano – Brodie
Smith – O’Brien

In terms of guys battling to stay on the big team, it’s notable that Ferland, Knight and Reinhart are dressing, as they’re probably on the outside looking in for final roster spots. With Reto Berra playing on Wednesday, we see Ramo tonight, as well as a defensive group devoid of young’uns. I’d expect we’ll see two or three of Ramage, Sieloff and Wotherspoon on Wednesday, as well as perhaps Baertschi, David Jones and Jackman. Hudler and Cammalleri are nursing injuries, but should be ready for opening day.
In terms of battles, pay particular attention to how Derek Smith fares, as he may be competing with Chris Butler and the afroementioned kid trio, as well as the guys in the bottom two lines. Oh, and the guy in goal. But he should be noticeable either way.

The Flames complete their pre-season schedule on Wednesday at home against the Phoenix Coyotes.


The Rangers have 39 bodies in camp – they’re without Derek Stepan, who is still embroiled in a contract dispute with the cap strapped Rags – and have been holding camp in Banff since last week. They lost to the Devils last Monday and beat the Flyers on Tuesday in their first two pre-season games.
Here are the Blueshirts line combos via Pat Steinberg:
Rick Nash – Brad Richards – Chris Kreider
Marek Hrivik – Brian Boyle – Danny Kristo
Taylor Pyatt – Oscar Lindberg – Jesper Fast
Brandon Mashinter – Darroll Powe – Arron Asham

Marc Staal – Michael Del Zotto
John Moore – Anton Stralman
Justin Falk – Stu Bickel

Martin Biron
Cam Talbot
The Rangers are beginning a span of four games in five days, including meetings with the Oilers, Canucks and Kings. So expect them to rotate through basically all of their available bodies in short order. Tonight they are boasting a fairly veteran laden roster, including Richards, Nash, Boyle, Del Zotto, Stralman and Staal. Going to be a stiff test for the Flames kids.


Five pre-season games down, two to go for the Flames. With 15 cuts left to make for the hometown team, tonight’s game should prove very interesting, perhaps winning somebody a job – or banishing them to the minors.
Sometimes pre-season games are low-stakes. For some of the guys involved wearing red tonight, the stakes may never be higher this season.

Around FlamesNation

  • schevvy

    According to Millions, Cammalleri may be out for an extended period of time because of his hand injury. That’s not good, but it may allow Ferland or Reinhart to stick around for a bit

  • RexLibris

    Re: Cammalleri – That should also give them some much-needed cap space…

    I kid.

    Also, the Oilers claimed MacIntyre off waivers. Again.

    The circus continues.

    I suspect it is primarily for the pre-season, with the Toront-Buffalo brouhaha still fresh in everyone’s minds, but this is not an area of dire need.

        • RexLibris

          But which half? πŸ˜‰

          Suggestion from media is that the John Scott fiasco was the reason for the move.

          He’s apparently down to about 245 lbs, and his skating hasn’t improved.

          What worries me more about this move is that there is talk that the Oilers will keep Eager over someone like Omark.

          Eager does not provide any of the above: secondary (or even tertiary) scoring, toughness, physical disincentive to opponents, or the ability to play intelligently without the puck.

          Omark can play a possession style game, cycles the puck effectively in the corners, can draw a penalty on the occasion that referees see past their own bias, and is a useful powerplay tool on a team that is going to be leaning heavily on Taylor Hall as a 1st line center and penalty kill option for the beginning of the season.

          Nope, definitely have to give the nod to Eager there. *grumbles something about gritchart*

          • RexLibris

            Funny, because I’ve actually preferred Brown’s game thus far. He’s aggressive on the forecheck, drawing a penalty or two, and has actually created scoring chances…for his own team!

            Eager seems to get the puck and then completely forget what to do with it. The plays die on his stick and the timing of his hitting has looked off.

            Brown doesn’t belong any higher than the 4th line, but Eager seems to tempt coaches with the promise of effective 3rd line speed, size and skill every year. And every year he falls short.

            His career was hanging by a shoestring when he came to the Oilers and then the Tulupov hit sent him careening into nowhere. Here we are, three years after signing on as a free-agent, and he’s a debatable AHL demotion. I feel for him, but the team needs to do far better on the LW.

      • RexLibris

        I’m wondering if he isn’t a pickup until the Oilers see which way the Supplementary Discipline winds are blowing this season.

        If it looks like the league is going to enforce their rules, he’ll be dropped by the end of November at the latest because suspensions may start to have an effect.

        If not, then he’ll probably be around until the end of the season.

        That being said, I wonder what McGrattan feels about MacIntyre’s being brought on? The Ivanans fight is still fresh in many people’s memory and I would hope, for everyone’s sake, that neither team decides on a re-bout.

        • McRib

          I’m sure he understands as there are a lot of tough guys to deal with He was brought in to the Flames the first time in part to counter macyntire a few years ago and if you google their fight you will see he did very well. In fact macyntire didn’t play another shift that game while mcgratten kept trying to get stortini to go the rest of the night.

  • Cammy had better get healing. The Flames are going to need him at the deadline to pick up another 1st or some 2nds.

    Saw on Twitter that Flames MGMT is unimpressed with Joey MacDonald. Leaning towards Ramo/Berra. This was in the same time as saying that if they chose today, Monahan would stay on the team.

    One can only hope Monahan plays like crap in his first couple games so they have to send him down.

    • RexLibris

      Re; Cammalleri’s hand

      That’s what I was thinking. The last thing the Flames need is a shooter with a bad hand at the trade deadline. The asking price immediately drops.

      Suspect they are simply resting him because, frankly, everyone knows what Cammalleri can do. He has nothing left to prove in these final few games.

    • Avalain

      Maybe it’s unrealistic, but I hope Monahan plays amazing and improves in leaps and bounds every game.

      Despite all of the debate between giving the kid shot in the NHL or being sent back down for a year, I don’t think anyone really wants to see Monahan turn out to be a bad player.

      I’m not sure about the statistics, exactly, but I would imagine that the players who come into the NHL and play really well tend to turn out better than the players who come into the NHL and fall flat on their faces.

    • McRib

      Nathan MacKinnon & Jonathin Drouin combined are pointless in three preseason games, yet no one else is saying send them back down. But everyone is begging for Sean Monahan to go down after he nets two goals?!?!?! Huh. Who’s more ready?

      Nathan Mackinnon had (1.70 PPG for 75 Total) last season on the deepest club in the CHL. Sean Monahan had (1.35 PPG for 78 Total) on the second worst club in the CHL (No one was worse than Cape Breton)…. Monahan has much better size (3+ inches and 10+ pounds on Mackinnon) and from my viewings has shown a better Hockey IQ… Who’s more ready again?

      I think if anything Nathan MacKinnon needs another year in Junior, but because he dominated the CHL the Hockey World has written his name in pen for this NHL season. That’s where in lies the biggest rub. Its not necessarily rushing guys like Sean Monhan who have the Size/Hockey IQ and have shown in preseason that they can play. The biggest issue is rushing guys like Nathan MacKinnon or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who are “too good for Junior”. Sean Monahan would have lit it up last year with even some adequate help on the 67s, but because he didn’t he needs to go back to Junior to do so? Just don’t understand what he is left to do in OHL?

      • Parallex

        “Nathan MacKinnon & Jonathin Drouin combined are pointless in three preseason games, yet no one else is saying send them back down.”

        I’d say it if I gave a rat’s behind about the Aves or the Lightning. But I don’t so…

      • the forgotten man

        What’s your point though? Nischuskin has 2 goals and team leading 13 SOG in the preseason for Dallas Stars – do you really think Jim Nill is going to decide his fate this year based on how Mackinnon or Drouin are doing? I couldn’t care less what Drouin or MacKinnon do or have done – they don’t play for the Flames. All I care about is this Franchise legitimately (not circa 2004 lightning in a bottle) challenging for the Stanley Cup, if there is a God, in the next 5-10 years. If the Flames want Monahan to stay with them, then clear out veteran body space in the top 2 lines and have at it. If not, then send him back to Junior. Just please God, not this straddling the fence stuff that this Franchise has perfected for the last 25 years – have a strict plan and go with it. Put it this way, if as you argue, he is truly NHL ready, then he better be 100% ready. If not, send him back for one more year + World Juniors…he will be one more year older, more mature and hungrier to destroy next season. This Franchise is going nowhere for another 3-4 seasons anyways assuming everything swings our way.

  • mattyc

    Flames just tweeted that they still expect Cammy to be ready for Oct. 3 vs. Washington. Unless they are keeping the injury secret, Millions must be smoking something good.

  • the forgotten man

    My eyes…my eyes. It isn’t even tasteful homo-eroticism. Plus I was only half-way through my salad when I brought up Flames Nation for some relaxed lunch reading πŸ™

  • the forgotten man

    Glencross – Stajan – Stempniak
    Galiardi – Monahan – Reinhart
    Ferland – Backlund – Knight
    Bouma – Horak – McGrattan

    Russell – Wideman
    Giordano – Brodie
    Smith – O’Brien


    Hey I guess the apocalypse is nigh!
    a number one line consisting of stajan,stepniak and glencross…OH god!
    why dont you guys just stay home and get ready for the draft next year…save everybody the misery.

    • Parallex

      … Your not serious right?

      No one in their right mind will give up a 2nd for Joey MacDonald. The best you’ll get for him would likely be future considerations. Pretty sure the Pens have a guys that their assigning to the AHL and if you have that then you in all likelihood have the equivalency to Joey MacDonald.

    • the forgotten man

      This was a joke right? A career backup goaltender with a .903 sv % in his career is somehow worth a second round pick? Not to mention the fact that the guy is 33 years old who the Flames got off of waivers from DET.

  • the forgotten man

    I was wondering about peoples’ thoughts are on the Kessle/Scott event. I just watched a short video on it; my take is simply this Kessle pushes Scott, Scott responds with punches Kessle responds with a stick not once but twice the second time with Scott engaged with two other Leafs. Kessle is simply a coward and should get a serious suspension. It’s not like Kessle is 5’8 and 160 lbs. I am sure I will get trashed for this opinion but this is what turns me off of the game.

    • the forgotten man

      What bothers me is that Scott was about to beat the crap out of Kessel, Kessel takes a couple of swings and could now be suspended. Why does this bother me? Well, I took Kessel in my pool. Yay?

    • EugeneV

      Shouldn’t turn you off the game.
      Should turn you off Fill Kessell though.

      If you open your mouth, and raise your hand like he did, then you better be ready to go.
      That was even more embarassing for him than the All Star game draft.

      And to go back to slashing the dude while he is in a pile up?

      What a F-ing PUSSY.

      they must have removed his balls when he got cancer in them. (sorry to anyone offended, but it has to be said)

    • piscera.infada

      I agree. The whole situation was ridiculous really. Why does Carlyle put Kessel out there with Scott right after what just happened? Scott obviously was just trying to get a rise out of the Leafs (as punky and moronic as that is). There’s a whole lot of blame to go around on this one.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Kessel gets a slap on the wrist, but if I were the one making the call he’d be getting a punitive number of games. No matter who you are, if you use your stick as a weapon (even in self defense), you deserve to punished for it – not to mention the reasonable argument from Kessel is the first slash was self defense, not the second, not the spear. If the league is really serious about player safety, you’d think the last message they want to send is “when you feel scared, sure, use your stick as a weapon”. It doesn’t matter about Scott’s size, it doesn’t matter that he’s “just a goon” (which he is, in addition to a moron), it doesn’t matter that Phil Kessel is a skilled scorer. Period.

    • RedMan

      everyone that says, “if you don’t like fighting, get a different sport, leave my hockey alone” should be proud of this moment… fights, leaving the bench, goalies going, goons looking to pummel stars.. swinging sticks hard enough to break legs, it’s all part of the game… don’t change it, get another beer and enjoy!

  • EugeneV

    Reading about the Leafs cap situation, do you want the Flames to go and sign Cody Franson to an offer sheet?

    average annual value of

    1,110,250 to $1,682,194 = Loss of 3rd rounder
    $1,682,195 to $3,364,391 = Loss of 2nd rounder

    His salary last year was $1,200,000.

    What to do?

      • MattyFranchise

        Of course, the Flames are at the end of their preseason schedule and the Rangers are just hitting the mid point tonight. The Flames are a lot closer to their NHL roster than the Rangers are.

        • redricardo

          Hey… exsanguinator…

          The last thing anyone needs is you putting cold water on the theory that the Flames will be dominant, based on one good pre-season period, with your facts and logic!!

          How dare you ruin dreaming with reality!!

        • McRib

          I don’t know both teams have 39 players left at camp and I count 11 starters on both rosters (including Brian McGratten). Not to mention they have the supposed best players Nash, Staal, Richards, etc. I think the Flames will surprise this year as well. Our goaltending has improved (Ramo, Berra) if we get the same or more scoring via committee, people forget we lost a lot of games last year because of crappy goaltending!!!

          • MattyFranchise

            With actual goaltending last year the Flames were a bubble team at best. I think tanking last year was a good idea, kind of a blessing in disguise. Hopefully Feaster has better asset management than Sutter did.

            I don’t think that the Flames will have as bad a year as most people are thinking but making the playoffs is still a dream in my opinion.