Flames Shuffle Roster: Two Recalls, Two Demotions


Flames Blue Jackets Hockey
– pic via Halifaxdrunk


After a pair of tough losses, the Calgary Flames have made a handful of roster moves in preparation for their game with the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Per the AHL’s website, the Flames have assigned defenseman Derek Smith and forward Blair Jones to the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat. They have also summoned defenseman Chris Breen and forward Roman Horak from the Heat.

Smith and Jones both cleared waivers on September 30 and could be assigned to the Heat no-questions-asked anytime prior to October 30. Breen, on the other hand, was on a 14-day conditioning stint and had to be returned to Calgary prior to October 24 and was still on the roster. Thus, Smith’s assignment may merely be a precursor to Breen going on waivers and being assigned to the farm, while Cammalleri may inherit Smith’s roster spot. Long story short: expect some moves on the blueline in the short-term, waivers or otherwise.

Neither Jones or Smith played a single game for the Flames this year. Jones was recalled last week to replace the injured David Jones on the active roster, while Smith made the team out of camp as the seventh defender. Breen had 1 point in 4 AHL games, while Horak has 3 points in 6 AHL games.

After these moves, the Flames have 22 active NHL bodies: 2 goalies (MacDonald and Ramo), 7 defensemen (Breen, Brodie, Giordano, Russell, Wideman, Butler and O’Brien) and 13 forwards (Backlund, Glencross, Stempniak, Baertschi, Monahan, Hudler, Galiardi, Bouma, Colborne, Street, Jackman, McGrattan and Horak). Cammalleri, Matt Stajan and David Jones remain on the IR.

  • Parallex

    I still think they want to put Breen in and bench Butler, at least for one game.

    Odd that they’d recall Horak. I don’t see why they’d do that unless they meant to play him–which probably means Jackman’s out. I don’t like Horak on the fourth line, but hey. Glad he’s back, we could use his speed.

  • MC Hockey

    Nice to see Breen called up! Also hope he plays. I actually think Smith has done OK for Flames last year but might as well get him playing time in AHL. I agree that Butler is mediocre but apparently ok enough to stay up in NHL vs Smith….hmmm maybe because he was part of Feasters first big trade?

  • MattyFranchise

    Keep Smith, send Butler down, keep Sven, Sean, and Jiri together. Not sure why Smith would be sent down. Probably some waiver related thing more than anything.

  • Breen and Horak are almost certain to play at least once on this road trip, otherwise there’s no need to call them up. Kinda surprised Blair Jones never got a sniff, but you have to figure Horak does.

    Breen, I don’t think he’s very good, but neither is Butler, so it can’t get much worse.

    • Parallex

      Even if Breen is not very good this is part of the assessment and development process. I for one would rather watch a prospect who we don’t know a lot about than a 6-8 defenceman who has been here for 2 seasons and we know enough about(in case anyone has doubts I’m talking about Butler)Give Breen 5-10 games and then we can assess his game.

      Horak is another one we know something about and it’s time to find out where he fits.

      If I was coaching here’s my line up: remember I would role 4 lines as much as possible:


      TJB and Gio
      Wideman and Breen
      OB and Russell

      Monahan, Sven and Hudler(I would also let this line have some pp time)

      Backs,Glencross, Stemp

      Colborne, Galiradi, Bouma

      Horak, Street, Cammi

      Butler and the enforcers sit. If Cammi is not ready to play then probably McGrunt.

      After 2 the Heat were tied 3-3. Just about to check the site again.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Hartley hates Blair Jones more than he loves to win.

      Barring a plethora of Flames injuries and Hartley getting fired, Jones will not play in a Flames jersey again.

  • beloch

    Horak may also have been called up to keep the option of sending Monahan down open. I’m not saying that’s the plan, but if the decision to keep him hasn’t been made yet then a replacement center needs to be with the team just in case.

  • MattyFranchise

    Heat get beat 9-3, 3 games in 3 nights. Brossaint plays. Ortio had a win(shut out) and loss. Heat led at one point 3-1, I wonder how much exhaustion played into it.

    • RexLibris

      So basically the Heat were tied and then you went and jinxed it by checking. Schroedinger’s cat, anyone? The Heat are simultaneously winning and losing, provided the results are not observed as the act alters the outcome.

  • mk

    I’m really loving Bouma so far this year. He’s really fitting in well and progressing. A solid, energetic role player.

    Also, he has more goals that Iginla this year…

  • If Breen spells anyone off, it will likely be O’Brien, bot Butler. Shane played 9:31 against the Sharks the other night, which is like a forward playing 3 minutes. His average ice time this year is just over 10 minutes, which means the team is basically playing with 5 guys every night. Butler, as bad as he’s been, is at around 15 minutes a night.

    Up front, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s someone like Jackman getting waived to make room once guys start coming off IR.

    • beloch

      I was under the impression Breen failed to impress during the pre-season and is seen as iffy even for the bottom pairing in the NHL. O’Brian has almost 500 games of experience in the NHL, has a couple of 20+ point seasons under his belt, and is only 30. Is O’Brian really that awful? What the heck happened? Did he start drinking draino for kicks or something?

      • Breen didn’t play in the pre-season. He was recovering from off-season surgery.

        I’m not a big Breen guy myself. He’s done well enough in the AHL but on my viewings I don’t think he has the mobility or puck skills to make it at the NHL level. The org likes him more than I do, so he’s probably going to get a look.

        I think O’Brien is pretty awful. He’s not even up to Cory Sarich’s level. Hartley doesn’t like him much either given his ice time. In fact, I’ve never seen a defender who is getting 10 minutes a night stick in this league.

        • seve927

          Wow. I didn’t realize OB was being used quite that sparingly. I think he looks fine as a 3rd pairing defender, and considerably better than Butler. No doubt he should always be fresh out there. I would think that’s going to get pretty tough on the top 4 if we don’t get somebody in that Hartley’s going to play on the bottom pairing.

          Random notes:

          Chris Butler’s teammates have a 56.3 CF% when away from him, and he has faced the easiest competition on the team.

          The Flames appear to have faced some pretty tough competition overall so far this year. Opp CF% ranges from 50.5 to 52.4.

          Ramo has a .925 ES SvPct.

          Flames have FF% of 52.4 when tied. CF% is only 48.7 when tied. They’re blocking a lot of shots, led by Butler, of course because you can’t block shots when you’re in the offensive zone. Their Corsi slips to 33.3% when they have a 1 goal lead.

          Conclusion: With a full roster that includes Stajan, Cammalleri, Jones and not Butler, Ramo in goal, some experience playing with a lead, I think this could actually be a pretty good team.

          • mattyc

            The only caveat in those Chris Butler numbers being that he has been saddled with O’Brien as well. As Kent alluded to, Shane O’Brien isn’t very good (at all). IMHO some of Butler’s struggles this year can be put at O’Brien’s feet. He isn’t very fast and doesn’t make a good first pass.

            I’m not saying none of it’s Butler’s fault, but I have trouble reconciling this Chris Butler with the Chris Butler 2 years ago who was surviving against big boys (albeit with JaBo).

          • seve927

            Butler just looks way worse than O’Brien to me. And Butler’s numbers are actually worse when he’s away from O’Brien, so it’s not really a caveat. It’s really impossible to get a gauge unless you allow them to play for a while apart. So, take last year. Butler, horrific numbers by any measure imaginable playing with guys like Brodie and Sarich, who are doing very well this year. O’Brien had good Corsi numbers in Colorado. He’s only got like 4 minutes away from Butler this year and CF of 77.8%.

            I don’t know why Butler’s gone so far downhill, but I can say without fear of hyperbole he is unquestionably the worst player in the history of the game.

        • Parallex

          I’m not particularily high on Breen either but at this point I think there are 5 players (6 if you include Smith) that have both next to zero convertable value (guys that no other team will trade anything of potential value for) and are near locks to not be part of any future winning team. The 5 being Street, Jackman, McGrattan, Butler, & O’Brien… none of them are signed longterm and none of them are really above replacement level.

          In my mind it’s the perfect time to rotate in some of the older prospects (Your Breen/Nemisz/Horak/Cundari’s)… throw some of them against the wall and see if any of them can stick at even just a low spot on the depth chart. Worst case scenario is that none of them do in which case you’re no worse off.

        • everton fc

          Seems Feaster’s signed two guys (B. Jones & O’Brien) that Hartley hates…

          I agree, though. O’Brien would be the one to sit, over Butler.


          I like your lines below, though I think the d-men look different:


          TJB and Gio Wideman and Ruseell Butler and Breen

          Monahan, Sven and Hudler(I would also let this line have some pp time)

          Backs,Glencross, Stemp

          Colborne, Galiradi, Bouma

          Horak, Street, Cammi

  • EducatedHockeyFan

    Watched some NCAA highlights, Jankowski had a nice toe drag goal, he walked though 3 defenders.In a 10-4 rout mind you. Good to see he’s off to to jump to start the season.

    Poirier is also on a 9 game point streak and 4th in Q scoring.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I think we can all agree that Butler/SOB is literally the worst pairing the NHL has ever had. I don’t think it matters which guy is actually worse than the other, as it would be a minor technicality.

  • Graham

    It depends whether the glass is half full or half empty; the Butler / O’Brien combo are great if you want to finish in the bottom five.
    Maybe we should increase their ice time, a perfect top 2 pairing if ever I saw one….(lol)

  • Graham

    Random thought but was just listening to Robin Regehr get interviewed and it jarred my brain that it was amazing how much Darcy Regier got for taking on Regher’s contract.

    Calgary traded Regehr, Ales Kotalik and second round pick for Chris Butler and Paul Byron. And then last year Buffalo traded Regehr for two second round draft picks.

    So Regier basically got 3 second round picks for taking Reghr’s contract for a year and half. Regier really knows how to trade assets. It’s amazing what else he got for Pommonville (a fortune), nevertheless Paul Gaustad (1st rounder from Nashville).

    • mk

      Not to mention, he really knows how to tank a team for good picks. 😀

      I’m very interested to see what he gets for Miller when they trade him (they will, won’t they?). Vanek should carry more value, but might not get the higher price in a trade.

    • Parallex

      There’s a financial component to consider… he also took on Kotalik for a year (3M) + the 1.5 years of Regehr (6ishM) so in monatary terms he spent $9,000,000.00 for three 2nd round picks. Not sure I’d call that value for money. To say nothing of the fact that they spent all that money trying to go for it and ended up with nothing to show for it.

      I’ll grant he made the best of a bad situation but the bad situation was one of his own making.

    • the forgotten man

      Yeah, hearing Reggie’s interview this morning reinforced with me that he was not the problem on this Flames Club the past few years…Iginla and Kiprusoff were the “Attitude Problems” that poisoned that dressing room and led to the sub-mediocrity that we put up with for 3 seasons.
      Reggie is a straight shooter (refreshing in Pro Sports today) and for that reason alone would be great to still have with the Club working with Brodie, Breen and Sieloff etc.
      Worst trade that Feaster has made as Flames GM.

      • everton fc

        Regehr will coach someday. I agree he wasn’t the dressing room issue. And he’d have been a great guy to have around the young guys.

        Didn’t Reggie have issues with the way Keenan ran the team? And didn’t Reggie support Playfair, to some extent?

  • Parallex


    No doubt, what you say is true as the Flames were cap constrained at the time. And yes Regehr is not the same player he was in the past but I think Buffalo got a pretty good return for him.

    However, you must remember that the Sabres ultimately never paid for Kotalik’s contract as he bolted for Europe. So Calgary (from what I understand to get the deal done) effectively surrendered a second rounder to get rid of Kotalik’s contract. Then Calgary ultimately traded its first round pick to get Buffalo’s 1st and second rounder in the following draft.

    This is why I’ve written in the past before Calgary got Joe Colborne that it would be ridiculous if Calgary took on JM Liles contract if Leafs also through in Joe Colborne. In the end they got Colborne for a song.

  • Greg

    Would John Michael-Liles be an upgrade on butler or OB? I keep hearing the leafs want to move him (Dreger again today)… Cap space won’t be an issue for the flames next year or the year after (might be after that but his contract is done then). If Toronto is willing to give up a good asset, I don’t know why the flames wouldn’t seriously consider it.