FGD: Final Exams

 

 

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.

THE LINE-UP

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
  • Berra
  • MacDonald

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 OPPOSITION

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.

  • RedMan

    Feaster interview…
    Monahan.. blah blah blah… “NHL” fitness, blah blah blah very mature… blah blah blah…. doesnt he remember rfeading those notes already?

  • RedMan

    Sven has looked decent, but I really think he needs to take some lessons on patience from Monahan.

    I’m surprising myself in saying this, but I’ve actually been mostly okay with O’Brien’s play in the preseason. He seems to be a reasonably acceptable player. In the preseason.

  • RexLibris

    yeesh. If there’s a single player in the league who can make Backlund into a negative possession player, it’s David Jones. Almost every time the guy touched the puck, the play immediately died on his stick. I swear you could tangibly feel the tension deflate whenever the puck entered Jones’ airspace.

    I know anyone can have a bad game, and it’s just preseason, but my god.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Knight and Monahan ended up playing fantastic.If either of them would’ve gotten a few bounces (aside from Knight’s great goal-he read that play so well!),they were in such great position.Those two followed each other out and a couple of times were on ice together.

    Both faced centres Hanzal, Vermette and Ribero. Knight was probably better on draws but Monahan was right there. Knight showed what a bull of a man he is by blasting 20 but rolling off and making a play and also by taking a big hit by 26 (who is big himself) along the boards then quickly recovering then attacking the net. He was also explosive in skating.

    Monahan also rolled off or absorbed hits,then made plays but his game is so smart.He did this great reverse that Backlund took and quickly transitioned.He was around the net too and really had great scoring chances.

    Think about it. Those two rookies were equally dangerous and when needed, defensively responsible against the PHX top 3 pivots. Two of them a great draw men. Last year: Hanzal 23pts 39 gm, Vermette 21/48,Ribiero 49/48.I don’t know their adv stats.

    Baertschi got really good too. He chased the play against Yandle and another guy, forcing the duo to retreat from neutral ice to behind their net where Baertschi then forced a turnover and chances. He had other great shifts as well against top players.

    Those three: Knight, Monahan, Baertschi threatened the scoring chance area a lot. Against PHX best players. THAT IS PRETTY DAMN GOOD!

    Street, Brodie, Glencross and Bouma were really good too. Why aren’t Brodie and Wideman PP1?

    All the above mentioned young guys had a ton of great plays. How do you make them all fit. Everyone pretty much played 12 min EV. Calgary has too many useful players right now. Huh.

    Wow.