If the last few weeks have been a course on how to make an NHL roster, tonight’s the final exam. After two (or three, for the kids) weeks of camp, the Flames play their final pre-season contest this evening. It’s at 7pm and brought to you by our friends at Sportsnet 960 The Fan AND on TV via TSN.
Excitement abounds, as players on the NHL fringes will try to stay there or get there, depending on their perspective.
Calgary is 4-2-0 in the pre-season and hoping to finish with a flourish. Courtesy the Flames, here’s their lines for this evening.
- Glencross – Monahan – Stempniak
- Backlund – Galiardi – David Jones
- Baertschi – Stajan – Street
- Bouma – Knight – Jackman
- Brodie – Giordano
- Wideman – Russell
- Butler – O’Brien
The Flames site didn’t say MacDonald would be backing Berra up, I’m just assuming. Lots of storylines here. Can Ben Street impress? Can Corban Knight cement a spot? Can Chris Butler stay in the NHL? Can Reto Berra impress enough to supplant either of Ramo or MacDonald?
Most interesting are guys that aren’t dressing tonight: Cammalleri (injured), Hudler (injured), Granlund (injured), Begin (injured), Ferland (injured), Reinhart, Horak, Blair Jones, Jooris, Kanzig, Wotherspoon, Ramage and Sieloff. Just as this was about to be piublished, the Flames announced that Granlund, Billins, Jooris, Ramage, Wotherspoon and Begin have been assigned to the AHL. That leaves Monahan, Knight, Baertschi, Smith, Street, Ferland, Bouma, Kanzig and Berra as the notable remaining "bubble" players.
Some familiar combinations include the Stajan line and Giordano/Brodie on the back-end. It looks like Bob Hartley is prepared to start the year off with those combos in place. Lines updated! It’s pre-season for us too.
Interesting to see Monahan get a turn at the top of the rotation. I can only assume the Galiradi at center instead of Backlund is a mad hatter kind of experiment, because moving your best possession pivot to the wing so you can try out a career bottom-six winger there instead is, uh…
The Flames will likely bring cuts down more cuts on Thursday. Jay Feaster mentioned yesterday that some guys that will require waivers to go down will be sent later on, so expect an absolute flurry of roster moves between today and Monday afternoon, when rosters have to be finalized.
The Coyotes are down to 28 bodies on their roster now, but they have had an uneven four pre-season contests. In two of them, they were involved in close games. They were also lit up like a pinball machine in the other two games, so it’s hard to know what to expect from them. Pat Steinberg reports that the line-up will look something like this:
- Boedker – Ribeiro – Doan
- Korpikoski – Hanzal – Vrbata
- Bissonnette – Chipchura – Szwarz
- Lessio – Vermette – Brown
- Ekman-Larsson – Rundblad
- Yandle – Stone
- Michalek – Summers
Tippett’s crew features all of their top-6 players. Goalies should be former Sharks netminder Thomas Greiss and incumbent Mike Smith, who’s pretty good, I guess.
After tonight, the Coyotes finish their pre-season at home against Vancouver.
SUM IT UP
Pre-season is almost over and the axe is about to fall on 13 prospective future Flames. Tonight’s the last chance for some of them to stake their claim to an NHL roster spots.