Flames Training Camp Primer

The CBA is officially ratified and hockey fans can rest assured that we won’t ever see another lockout. Well, at least until 2022. In the mean-time, the NHL has released its schedule and the Calgary Flames will begin camp for the shortened 2013 season on Sunday.

The Flames released their camp roster and schedule late Saturday. Here’s a quick-and-dirty primer.

THE SCHEDULE

Camp opens Sunday (today) at noon at the Saddledome for a full-practice. There are also practices at the ‘Dome every day Monday to Friday at 10:30am. Scrimmages will be part of the practices on Monday and Wednesday, so these are likely the best days to come to see practices. The last day of camp is Saturday at Winsport, with practice starting at 11am.

All on-ice sessions are open to the public.

THE ROSTER

The Flames will have 32 players in camp. 

  • 3 goaltenders: Henrik Karlsson, Miikka Kiprusoff and Leland Irving

  • 11 defensemen: Anton Babchuk, Jay Bouwmeester, Chris Breen, T.J. Brodie, Chris Butler, Brett Carson, Mark Giordano, Steve McCarthy, Cory Sarich, Derek Smith and Dennis Wideman

  • 18 forwards: Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi, Steve Begin, Paul Byron, Mike Cammalleri, Roman Cevenka, Blake Comeau, Curtis Glencross, Roman Horak, Jiri Hudler, Jarome Iginla, Tim Jackman, Blair Jones, Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Ben Street, Alex Tanguay and Brad Winchester

 Three of these names should seem unfamiliar, as they are the three try-out players: Steve McCarthy, Steve Begin and Brad Winchester.

McCarthy is signed to an American League deal in Abbotsford and has a long history with new Flames coach Bob Hartley. He played under Hartley both with the Atlanta Thrashers (for parts of three seasons) and last year with the ZSC Lions.

Begin is a former Flame with a fairly long pro resume. He won a Calder Cup with the vaunted Saint John Flames back in 2001 and was the playoff MVP. He has 488 NHL games under his belt with Calgary, Montreal, Dallas, Boston and Nashville. He hasn’t played since the 2010-11 season due to a hip injury.

Winchester is a veteran of 390 NHL contests. He’s played with Edmonton, Dallas, St. Louis, Anaheim and San Jose. Hardly a massive offensive threat, Winchester is big (6’5, 225) and would bring a physical presence generally missing from the Flames current line-up, outside of maybe Tim Jackman.

THE LOCKS

There are 23 NHL roster spots. Most of them are already spoken for.

The 21 players locked in are Miikka Kiprusoff, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, T.J. Brodie, Dennis Wideman, Derek Smith, Chris Butler, Roman Cervenka, Mikael Backlund, Jarome Iginla, Mike Cammalleri, Blake Comeau, Matt Stajan, Blair Jones, Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak, Jiri Hudler, Alex Tanguay and Sven Baertschi.

That leaves two spots open: the back-up goaltender and the potential 14th forward spot.

ON THE BUBBLE

If 21 of the players in camp are heading in with jobs probably sewn up, that means another 11 guys have to fight for jobs.

Four defensemen will probably get cut, unless the Flames carry 8 blueliners – in which case there is no open forward roster spot. The four defensemen on the bubble are likely Brett Carson, Anton Babchuk, Steve McCarthy and Chris Breen. Breen has impressed for the Heat, but likely has a bit of improvement left to make before he challenges for NHL jobs.

For the back-up goalie position, Henrik Karlsson will try to fend off Leland Irving. Irving impressed in a handful of appearances last season but has struggled this year on the farm. Karlsson had an iffy presence last season and hasn’t played at all this year.

And for the prospective last forward position, and the right to sit in the pressbox quite a bit, we’ll see five forwards duke it out. Those five are the two try-out veterans, Steve Begin and Brad Winchester, and the two Heat veterans, Ben Street, Paul Byron and sophomore Roman Horak. If you want the winner of this mini-sweepstakes to actually play regularly, Street, Byron or Horak is probably the best bet. If you’re fine with them sitting most of the time, you won’t harm the development of Begin or Winchester by parking them in the press box.

LOOKING AHEAD

In a week, we’ll know the Flames opening night roster. From there, the club plays four games in the first seven days of the regular season.

We had no NHL hockey for awhile, but we’re about to get a whole lot of it in a hurry.

  • McRib

    I know Flames fans are frustrated and rightly so, but everyone’s focus this offseason has been so entirely negative that every move we made was looked at for the wrong reason not the right ones.

    The most significant example of this was the Roman Cervenka signing. Everyone in the media/fans jumped all over the Flames because of past euro signings not panning out, so they believed he wouldn’t pan out. They never mentioned why his style of play would not allow him to be successful, they just stated that it was not going to work. Watching him in the olympics I remember saying multiple times, who is this guy… I don’t know maybe just maybe he works out.

    Dennis WIdeman has been a plus player on teams not named Florida or Washington…. Hahah. I don’t think he is as much of a liability as some think and anyone who can take Bouwmeesters muffin shot off the first unit power play is likeable in my books.

    Anyway just glad the season is going again and we can focus on some positives once and awhile. Things got very bleak there. I have a hard time believing any team with Miikka Kiprusoff in goal for a 48 game season is going to finish dead last. Looking forward to seeing the Flames prove people wrong or at least getting some top picks, haha. Well find out fairly quickly now, by the end of month we’ll know. Think thats why they are waiting to resign Iggy, if we downright suck think he’s gone down the stretch.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Really? My experience was different. Most people and media seemed encouraged about the Cervenka signing for example. The skepticism wasn’t the signing. It was the lack of other options at C making the Cervenka signing a must win for the Flames. That translates to a major gamble.

      Which is really the point most people have made. The Flames strategy is tied together with thin threads. IF a whole lot of things go right the Flames may have success.

      But if they don’t, and the odds are they don’t, then the Flames are risking losing their best trading pieces for nothing and stuck with 15-million in free agent signings that retrospectively weren’t worth making.

  • McRib

    @McRib

    I’ll admit, I’m just as delusional as any other Flames Fan when it comes to believing that the positives slightly outweighing the negatives…

    I think there is some good depth this year which is a nice problem to have.. this also looks like one of the best rosters they’ve had in years..

    IF everyone can stay healthy and play to their potential… I believe Calgary is a Lucic and a Bernier away from being a better team than last year…

    How is that for optimism!! lol

  • ChinookArchYYC

    @Kent Wilson

    I’m not too familiar with possession numbers… but I’m just curious if you would know if there has been a Flames roster in recent years with overall positive numbers?

    • The best roster was 2008-09. Iginla, Langkow, Bourque (pre-collapse), Moss, Conroy, Glencross, Cammalleri, Phanuef, Giordano…

      the only guy in the red was Jokinen and that’s because he came from the Coyotes at the end of the year. That was the best overall roster the Flames have had in some time. Langkow and Bourque took the toughs, Iginla and Cammalleri took second lines and PP and Conroy/Moss/Glencross beat the living snot out of other 3rd lines.

      Injuries down the stretch + Kipper having his worst season as a Flame sunk them.

      Incidentally, last year was the worst Flames club by possession numbers since they started being published.

  • Today’s my first day down at the rink, and it feels a lot like the first day back from summer vacation. Nobody’s really into their routines yet and everyone’s asking about how everyone else spent their breaks.

  • T&A4Flames

    @T&A4Flames

    If I could answer that question, I would be a rich man… I say Lucic because he is a beast..

    The closest “Lucic” type talent I see being available via trade, is Jamie Benn or Ryan O’Reilly, and that’s not gonna happen…

    And your right.. Bernier is not that great, but compared to what they have for back up now is a step up to say the least..

  • McRib

    @backburner

    You know how we can get a Lucic…. We need to draft Jackson Houck currently leading the Giants in scoring, future Power Forward in the making, love his game. How he was not invited to the CHL Top Prospects game is unfathomable. He will be a steal as no way he goes in the top 50. Reminds me of Adam Lowry his draft year, why the Flames passed on him is beyond me, considering his Dad was our coach. My company had him as an early second rounder, he went in the third.

  • McRib

    @Sincity1976

    This article sums up what I read on Roman Cervenka, though I have attended many Hockey games where this writer was also in attendance (U18 Selection Camps, WJHC Selection Camps, Top Prospects Games, NHL Drafts, etc) and to say he shouldn’t be writing about Hockey would be an understatement in my book. As he rarely watches the game, just chats to agents.

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/47154-Flames-shouldnt-expect-much-from-Roman-Cervenka.html

    When I was able to view Roman in the Olympics he was a player who could change gears with deceptive speed and also had a tendency of sneaking behind defenses to pick apart net minders with his shot. Comparing him to Fabian Brunnstrom who was a lazy player that used his size to dominate in Sweden, but had trouble in the NHL because his size was not nearly as effective compared to the larger competition and smaller ice in the NHL, is not an adequate comparison of NHL potential, as a High Skilled Guy who makes quick reaction plays.

    Anyway Roman won’t have a hard time replacing Olli Jokenins production down the stretch, considering he had something like two points in his final 16 games. Talk about a disappearing act.